China Increases Effort to Protect Her Heritage
China has announced that steps would be taken to increase the preservation of ancient villages as they face a crisis of decline, decay and even utter desolation. A historical country, it is home to at least 12,000 traditional villages. Most of them have existed since before the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and a quarter of them were created before the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) according to the Director of the Rural Township Construction Department under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development.
A country-wide census has been conducted in 2012 and the survey returned with the results of more than 2,000 key cultural sites and over 3,000 provincial-level heritage sites which need preservation. China has been undergoing rapid urbanization and modernization in the past thirty years and this has inevitably challenged the ‘old’ culture. Without proper care, China is at risk of losing its past heritage and cultural identity with villages vanishing due to migrational patterns into cities for better job prospects.
Plans to protect and redevelop these traditional villages have began with significant emphasis on settlements in Southwest China’s Yunnan province, Guizhou province and in Eastern China’s Zhejiand and Fujian provinces. Authorities will continue to catalogue and designate plans for villages in dire need of preservation especially those with significant cultural value to the Chinese cultural identity. This long-term preservation plan will receive a substantial financial support from the government. President Xi Jinping has commented that ancient communities must be safeguarded. He condemned widespread demolition and new construction as inharmonious and an incorrect ideal to building up this beautiful country. Therefore, securing these traditional locations are of vital priority as the lightning-pace expansion of China threatens to demolish the ancient identity of this country.