World Heritage sites


World Heritage sites
China has twenty-eight sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, a global inventory of 730 properties (as of January 2003) that meet a set of criteria established by the ‘Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage’ adopted by the 17th General Conference of UNESCO in November 1972. China’s National People’s Congress ratified the Convention in 1985. Two years later, six sites were added to the List: the Great Wall, Mount Taishan, the Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties in Beijing, the Mogao Caves, the Mausoleum of the first Qin emperor, and the site of Peking Man at Zhoukoudian. (For a complete inventory, see www.unesco.org/heritage.htxn)
Three significant effects have resulted from China’s decision to ratify the Convention. First, China has been progressively integrating its heritage protection practices with those of other countries (172 as of 2003) that have also ratified the Convention. China’s acceptance of international standards can be seen in documents such as ‘Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China’ (Zhongguo wenwu guji baohu zhunze), confirmed by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China in October 2000.
Second, because of the global prestige stemming from World Heritage listing, provincial authorities have been urged by those at the national level to meet the criteria for listing of other sites that fall within their jurisdictions. Third, because both domestic and foreign tourists have visited World Heritage sites in mounting numbers, administrators of these sites have had to find ways to mitigate the many harmful effects of intensifying tourism. China’s World Heritage sites—artifacts of recent heritage conservation reforms as well as relics of past cultural achievements—pose sharp challenges for the country’s heritage professionals. Heightened awareness and clearer standards for protection have been matched by the perils of too many visitors and the effects of rampant tourism.
Agnew, Neville and Demas, Martha (eds) (2002). Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute. Available at http://www.getty.edu/conservation/
Logan, William S. (ed.) (2002). The Disappearing ‘Asian’ City: Protecting Asia’s Urban Heritage in a Globalizing World. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.
JEFFREY W.CODY

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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