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One-sixth heritage wall remained, rest moved

(Xinhua)

08:42, February 27, 2012

CHANGSHA, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The city of Changsha decides to preserve one sixth of 1,000-year-old city walls, saying that the bulk of the heritage structure will be moved out of flood concerns.

The decision followed heated discussions over the fate of the 120-meter relics, which were discovered November at a construction site of a high-end shopping mall in downtown Changsha, capital of Hunan Province.

The walls, part of the city defense in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), were renovated several times in later dynasties, Jiang Wenhui, vice head of the Hunan Administration of Cultural Relics, said.

After consulting archaeologists, Jiang said, the government decides to preserve roughly 20 meters of the walls and relocate the rest from the original site on riverside where floods might occur in spring.

The moved section might go to a nearby tourist site or a historical neighborhood in the city, Jiang said.

The plan has aroused a mixture of sighs and cheers online among local people, who closely tracked the issue and pressed for more respect for heritage.

"As a witness to several bitter sieges and heroic defense of the guarding troops, the city walls have incredible historical value," Liu Su, a Hunan University professor who staunchly advocates the walls preservation, wrote on Sina Weibo, the widest spreading tweeting service in China.

Liu yet cheered the decision of not moving the 20-meter section of the walls, hailing it a hard-won victory of public outcry.

Renovation or construction projects on downtown relics often trigger controversy in modern cities. Last year, efforts to restore a 3,600-year-old city wall in downtown Zhengzhou City were accused of wasting taxpayers' money.

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