Confucius' hometown receives World Bank loan for cultural heritage conservation

09:05, June 12, 2011      

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A World Bank project to preserve the cultural heritage of the hometowns of Confucius and Mencius, two of China's most renowned philosophers, officially kicked off on Saturday, said Klaus Rohland, the World Bank's country director for China.

A launching ceremony for the 50-million-U.S.-dollar project was held in Confucius' hometown of Qufu in east China's Shandong Province.

According to the World Bank, the project is intended to assist Shandong in enhancing cultural heritage conservation, tourism management and development in Qufu and Zoucheng, where Confucius and Mencius were born, respectively.

The project marks the first time for the World Bank to provide a loan for the preservation of Chinese cultural heritage. Rohland expressed his optimism and hope for similar projects in the future.

"I have confidence that we will soon meet again and talk about another cultural heritage project," he said.

The World Bank approved the Shandong Confucius and Mencius Cultural Heritage Conservation Project in May.

Rohland said that he expects the project to benefit the residents of Qufu and Zoucheng by boosting local tourism.

"By restoring the beauty of the site, we're confident that more people will come, and that will trigger growth for the local economy," he said.

The World Bank loan has been approved and is ready for use, said Yang Yitang, deputy director of the project's local office in Shandong. The World Bank plans to come to Shandong to supervise the loan's usage twice a year.

In addition to the World Bank loan, the Chinese government will spend 540 million yuan (83 million U.S. dollars) to conserve the cultural heritage of the two towns.

Source: Xinhua
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