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All cultural, natural sites deserve protection
BY Zheng Li Updated:2004-07-02 11:54

  The 28th session of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee opened yesterday in Jiangsu Province.

  During the convention in Suzhou, in the nation's east, the assembly is expected to announce the new inductees to the world cultural and natural heritage lists.

  With 29 sites already included, China has the third largest number of inductees behind Spain and Italy.

  A listing often brings hefty, immediate economic benefits, mainly in the form of increased tourism revenue.

  The successful stories of Pingyao, a small county in the northern province of Shanxi, and Lijiang in Yunnan Province in the southwest - two localities that have been listed and reaped huge benefits - continue to fuel the desires of others.

  The economic motivation to be included, at first glance, seems to deviate from the intention of the lists, which is to preserve and safeguard cultural and natural sites.

  However, if such a process leads to more tightened and proper conservation of those sites, the motive is inconsequential.

  China has a history of more than 5,000 years, which has left us with innumerable historical sites. The 29 sites already listed and all of the other candidates only cover a tiny part of the nation's rich cultural and natural heritage, making the preservation task more arduous.

  It means that equal attention, if not more, should be paid to the sites that cannot make them onto UNESCO's lists. They are also an integral part of China's culture and history.

  

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