About CHP

Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) is a small grassroots, legally-registered NGO working to protect cultural heritage across China.

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Heritage Trail project

What Are We Doing To Preserve The Old City?

As a non-governmental organization that has been officially registered and been licensed to operate, our work rests on the basis of law, and on the legally constituted plans of the government for heritage protection. With regard to the protection of the old city of Beijing, our work is based on the national level “Cultural Heritage Protection Law” and the “Urban Planning Law”, plus the Beijing City level “The Historical and Cultural City Act” and the various plans of different periods for the protection of the old city.
We believe that there are two types of activities for the protection of the Old City of Beijing—stopping destruction and increasing protection. At the present time the more important of the two is the stopping of destruction. People and activities destroying the old city are numerous. The people undertaking the destruction are extremely powerful and privileged. Whether because of personal gain or because of ignorance, they are doing a lot to ruin the old city. Particularly destructive is the construction of buildings that destroy the traditional face of the old city.
Given the present political system and legal environment, we do not yet have the capability to investigate the perpetrators of this destruction, who should bear responsibility under the law. But we do have a simple and straightforward method, which is to tell the residents of Beijing, visitors, and all who are concerned with the protection of the city, who it is that is wrecking this destruction and how they do it.
To protect the old city we are now undertaking a work entitled “What is destroying Old Beijing: the top 100 offending buildings”.  On the basis of the fundamental requirements of the protection plans of different periods, we are methodically investigating and assessing all the buildings that are destroying the traditional appearance of the old city, and from amongst all of them we shall choose the worst 100. For each of these top offenders, we shall reveal the name of the building, its location, accompanied by a photo, and an explanation of the reason why it made the “top 100″, and to the best of our ability we shall attempt to reveal the name of the developer and architect, and the name of the individual or unit that approved the building’s construction. This project will be made into an electronic document and made public on our web site, and will make it available without cost to other web sites for their use as well.  Based on public feedback, we shall revise the document and publish it in print form. We hope that the smooth execution of this project will move the people of Beijing to exert pressure on the individuals who are destroying the old city of Beijing, and enable them to have some restraining influence over their activities.
In the execution of this project, we have encountered some difficulties. The owners of buildings that exceed Beijing height restrictions refuse to give us accurate information on the height of their buildings. In our surveying of the height of these buildings, we are now using some rather out of date methods, causing the work to proceed too slowly.  We hope that perhaps some of you may be able to assist us in moving this project forward.
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