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Beijing determined to better protect Great Wall

2006-04-21

A hip-hop party held on the Beijing's Jinshanling section of the Great Wall in July last year stunned the world overnight. Some people said such activities pose potential damages to the Great Wall. In 1997, local government leased the management right of the Jinshanling section to a company for 50 years. In 2002, the company was ordered to return the management right to the government according to the revised China's Law on Protection of Cultural Relics. The company refused and demanded a compensation of 10 million yuan (1.25 million U.S. dollars). The dispute has not settled till now. Taking back the right to manage the Badaling section of the Great Wall is of great significance in achieving a win-win situation between the development of tourism and protection of the Great Wall, said Yu Changjiang, director of Beijing Municipal Tourism Administration. "This can be used as a reference by other scenic and tourism zones elsewhere in China." The Great Wall has been put under state key protection in China. It was put on the list of the World Heritage sites of the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1987. Following the Law on Protection of Cultural Relics, the central and local governments have promulgated a series of laws and regulations on protection of the Great Wall and cracking down on illegal activities in areas along the Wall. Beijing Municipal Cultural Heritage Administration has drafted specific regulations to protect the Badaling, Juyong Pass and Simatai sections of the Great Wall. Chinese people also have high expectations for better protection of the Great Wall. China Great Wall Society has solicited tens of thousands of suggestions from the general public for the Great Wall protection since last October. Shan Jixiang, director of the State Cultural Heritage Administration, said improvement of concerned laws and regulations were needed to better protect the Great Wall. He disclosed that drafting of Regulations on Protection of Great Wall was proceeding smoothly and was expected to be issued within this year. Beijing has taken the lead in the country to define the Great Wall protection areas and places nearby for monitoring. "The Beijing municipal government and institutions in charge of tourism development will jointly establish and fund special teams to safeguard all sections of the Great Wall in Beijing," said Yu Ping, deputy head of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage.

(Source:Xinhua News, 2006-04-21)