If the Great Wall is said to be the backbone of the Chinese people, then the Grand Canal is the flesh and blood of the Chinese. Currently many people know the Great Wall, but they have no ideas of the Grand Canal. Some people pay little attention to cultural relic protection, but the nation's historians know the importance of cultural relics. The Grand Canal is the only water system in China that runs in a direction from south to north. It was first built in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC ¨C 476 BC) and was rebuilt during the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), with its entire length now reaching 1,794 kilometers. It runs through Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, and links the Haihe, Huanghe (Yellow River), Huaihe, Yangtze and Qiantang rivers.
The Grand Canal still plays a dynamic role in regional transportation, irrigation and flood control despite the great vicissitudes it has experienced over a millennium. The historical, cultural, economic and social significance of the canal has caught the great attention both at home and abroad. Led by Vice Chairperson Chen Kuiyuan and organized by the CPPCC Culture & History Study Committee, a group of CPPCC members toured the Grand Canal from end to end in May 2006 in a field study of the canal¡¯s preservation and utilization Both the central and local governments have made special efforts to protect the man-made project. The Grand Canal had been selected to the first batch of China¡¯s ancient projects that need protection. In addition, the central government has been allocating a huge sum of funds to protect the river. Despite all these efforts, the ancient project is still under threat from human activities and natural damages. But we are highly concerned that the millennium-old canal of history and culture would be wrecked by nature and man until it dies if no urgent measures are taken to solve the above-mentioned problems.
Bestowed with the opportunity to apply for the World Culture Heritage ,we hope more people ,be they at home or abroad ,are aroused to participate in protecting the Grand Canals.