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More efforts needed in protecting cultural relics

By Wen Bai (People's Daily)

08:12, May 14, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Currently, such things as driving a Ferrari to play “car drafting” on the 600-year-old Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty can often be seen.

Once upon a time, many merchants held activities on the Great Wall, believing that the Great Wall greatly upgraded their activities. Until today, activities of such kind could still be seen on the Great Wall sometimes.

Currently, a lot of cultural relics of China, including the Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty which is a national heritage, are still not strictly protected. Obviously, the “national heritages” are not cherished enough by the public.

The “national heritage” is the shortened form of the “key cultural relics unit under the national protection.” It means the cultural relics, such as the ancient historic site, ancient tomb, ancient architecture, grotto temple, stone inscription and fresco, which have high historical, artistic and scientific values. According to data, the first six batches of “national heritages” declared by the State Council include 2,351 units. These “national heritages” mostly are renowned historic and cultural sites, and since they are closely connected with tourisms of local places, a lot of tourism zone management committees have come into being to manage them.

These management committees consisting of various tourism departments look quite like “weird organizations.” It seems they do not have too much power, their ranks are not high and they cannot decide something big, but in fact, each of them fully controls the destiny of a national-level cultural site. In addition, they do little protection work for the sites but make use of the sites too much, and therefore, the voice of complaining about the rise of the ticket price could often be heard. In some people's opinions, cultural relics are “money trees” that never die.

In fact, without a smooth management system and transparent operations, protecting the cultural heritages is nothing but empty words. Without a true protection, any development on a historic site will not be able to achieve positive effects.

A Western scholar once said that China will have what the West has someday; but what China has, the West will never have. In this sense, getting every cultural heritage of China properly protected but not excessively developed or even destroyed is a mission that the government and every citizen of China should undertake.

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