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‘Modern heritage’ status considered

The Cultural Palace of Nationalities, which is under consideration for modern heritage status, is seen in this file photo from 2009. Photo: CFP

Global Times by Xu Tianran, Monday 18 October

Beijing’s top 10 buildings built in the first decade after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China were nominated by the Beijing Cultural Protection Bureau for modern heritage consideration, the bureau revealed last Friday. The city’s central axis area should also be considered for UNESCO world cultural heritage status, according to some members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Of the 10 buildings, the original Prime Hotel Beijing was demolished in 1988. The remaining are the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, the Military Museum, the Cultural Palace of Nationalities, Minzu Hotel, Diaoyutai statehouse, the Beijing Train Station, the Agriculture Exhibition Hall and Worker’s Stadium.

The buildings are waiting to be designated modern heritages by the National Cultural Protection Bureau, officials from the Beijing Cultural Protection Bureau confirmed to the Beijing Times at a forum on the preservation of Beijing’s urban culture and history, held on October 15.

The term “modern heritage” is borrowed from UNESCO as an identifier for historic buildings of the 19th and 20th centuries. There is no known plan to submit the buildings to UNESCO for such consideration.

In the same forum, some Beijing CPPCC members asserted that the Beijing central axis is fully qualified to become a UNESCO world cultural heritage site. “The central axis is relatively intact. We have to protect it at any cost,” CPPCC member Xu Wei said in the forum.

“We still have some ruins left for the wing tower in Dianmen. We need to recover it and set it as part of the central axis,” said Wang Shiren, an expert on old town preservation.

“As a non-governmental organization, we are not against the nomination for the top 10 buildings, but I emphasize that it is the old Beijing city that needs more care and protection,” said He Shuzhong, founder of the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center. “The old city is a whole body. You cannot divide it.”

Read the original article.

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