the Grand Canal's Application for the World Cultural Heritage
 
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Grand Canal proposed to be included in world heritage list
2008-7-22 9:22:36¡¡Hits1981

    Chinanews, Beijing, Mar. 7 ¨C ¡°If the Great Wall is said to be the backbone of the Chinese people, then the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is the flesh and blood of the Chinese,¡± said Shan Jixiang, director of State Bureau of Cultural Relics on Tuesday in an interview given to a reporter from the Beijing News.
 
    Shan, who is also a member of the Chinese People¡¯s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, said that he would make a proposal this year for China to apply for inclusion of the Grand Canal on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. In his proposal, he would urge China to make laws and regulations on the protection of the ancient project as soon as possible.
 
    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.
 
    Both the central and local governments have made special efforts to protect the man-made project. The Grand Canal had been included among the first batch of China¡¯s ancient projects that need protection. In addition, the central government had allocated 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, Shan said.
 
    ¡°In some parts, the canal has run out of water while in some other parts, it is even difficult to trace the remains of the canal. In some sections, the canal is polluted by sewage water while in other sections, the cultural remains along the river have been destroyed. In some places, the river¡¯s cultural and historical integrity has been seriously destroyed due to human beings' improper exploitation of the river. Apart from these, the river also suffers from human mismanagement. Sometimes, people dug another branch channel from the river or blocked the stream of the river for its water resources. As a result, the river has changed its course at some parts and in other parts, it is either abandoned by people or replaced with a new project. All this has caused a serious damage to the canal as well as its cultural remains, ¡± said Shan.
 
    In addition, China lacks comprehensive knowledge of the cultural remains along the river and the current laws and regulations are not adequate enough to support the protection work. In addition, the funds put in by various local governments to protect the river are insufficient at present, Shan said. 

The World Cultural Heritage Joint Bidding Office of the Grand Canal , all rights reserved (2007-2008)
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