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Tibet enforces new measures to protect UNESCO world heritage site
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13:27, March 12, 2009

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Southwestern China's Tibet Autonomous Region has enacted measures to conserve the UNESCO world heritage site Potala Palace, also a landmark religious complex, in the regional capital of Lhasa, a senior official with the local government confirmed Wednesday.

Dai Jianguo, vice secretary-general of the regional government of Tibet, said the new local rules, which were the only regulations targeted at one cultural complex in Tibet, took effect on March 1, when the old rules for the same purpose were abandoned.

The new rules consist of 33 clauses, covering emergency plans for preservation, specialist consulting system and entry control.

Dai stressed that as a world heritage site, the Potala Palace belonged not only to Tibet, but also to the world at large. Only when strict measures were taken to preserve and manage the complex, will the value of the heritage be embodied and will the next generation understand the historical and cultural legacies the Palace passed on, Dai said.

According to Changpa Kelsang, head of the administration of the Potala Palace, visits to the Palace kept increasing rapidly along with the fast development of tourism, which challenged the accommodating capacity of the Palace. To lessen the load on the site, it was necessary to restrict visits, Changpa Kelsang said.

Photo taken on May 2, 2008 shows the magnificent night view of the Potala Palace, the iconic imagery of Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.(Xinhua File Photo)

The new rules also stipulate penalties against illegal structures and advertisement around the Potala Palace, Changpa Kesang said.

Funded by the central government, the second massive repair work on the Potala Palace, home to Dalai Lama, started in 2002 and has entered the final stage. The first repair work was conducted in 1995.

The Potala Palace, built in the seventh century, was included in the world cultural heritage list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in December 1994.

The Potala Palace, built on a hill, has an elevation of 3,763 meters. It survived the 6.6-magnitude earthquake that jolted Damxung County, 82 km from Lhasa, the regional capital, in October last year.

Renovation to the Potala Palace also included 17 ancient buildings, including the Red House and the White House. The Red House contains the tomb stupas of generations of Dalai Lamas and various prayer halls. The White House comprises two wings and is the place where the Dalai Lama lived, worked and conducted political and religious activities.

The number of daily visits to the Palace is capped below 2,300 at present.

Source: Xinhua

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