China tries to stop destruction of architectural heritage

China is drawing up new laws to try to protect its historic architecture from the wrecking ball, state media reported Friday.

China tries to stop destruction of architectural heritage
The announcement comes after a government minister warned earlier this year that in the country's rush to economic development much of its heritage is being "devastated."

The draft legislation proposes fining companies or institutions that damage historic sites or buildings up to 1 million yuan ($130,000), the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The proposals also include forcing local governments to take greater account of development plans' impact on an area's architectural heritage.

Vice Construction Minister Qiu Baoxing said last month that China's cultural and historic heritage is now facing what he described as a third phase of "havoc" similar to the destruction of buildings and cultural treasures during the "Great Leap Forward" economic policies of the 1950s and the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s.

The minister also criticized local governments for demolishing historic buildings and replacing them with replicas.

The central government is now seeking public views on the draft legislation.

The World Monuments Fund, a New York-based pressure group campaigning for the preservation of important architectural and cultural sites, last month included Shanghai's early 20th century architecture among the world's 100 most endangered cultural treasures.

The group said examples of the city's architecture from the 1920s, and 1940s are misunderstood or under-appreciated and are "at risk of being lost in the current phase of progress."

Kyodo

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Temmuz 2007, 11:23
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