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‘Protected’ status still not enough for courtyards

Global Times by Xu Tianran, Wednesday 8 December 2010

Even “protected” status cannot help two courtyards in Xicheng district, Beijing, that will be demolished for a street-widening project on December 28, the district Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said.
Small blue plates reading “protected courtyard” marked the doors of the No.215 and 213 courtyards; meanwhile the Chinese character chai, or “demolish,” was prominently scrawled on the wall of No.215 Tuesday.

Across the street from the courtyards is the Zhengyici Opera House, a Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Unit.
“If you want to widen the street, you have to tear down some houses. The left side [Zhengyici] is a city cultural protection unit, so you have to choose to demolish the right side [No.213 and 215 courtyards],” said an anonymous Xicheng government official.
The courtyards gained “protected” status in 2004. No.215 used to be home to opera star Qiu Shengrong. No.213 is home to an elderly man.
“The blue plates are not useless, but no one bothers to use them,” said He Shuzhong, founder of the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center. “The blue plate means that the courtyard’s value as a cultural relic is recognized by the administration of cultural heritage. They just haven’t become ‘immovable cultural relics of sites to be protected.”
According to the regulations, administrations responsible for cultural relics should formulate specific protective measures for the immovable cultural relics of the sites protected for their historical and cultural value, and of the sites that have not yet been verified as such.
“But no one ever bothers to be serious when dealing with such matters,” He said.

Even “protected” status cannot help two courtyards in Xicheng district, Beijing, that will be demolished for a street-widening project on December 28, the district Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said.

Small blue plates reading “protected courtyard” marked the doors of the No.215 and 213 courtyards; meanwhile the Chinese character chai, or “demolish,” was prominently scrawled on the wall of No.215 Tuesday.

Across the street from the courtyards is the Zhengyici Opera House, a Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Unit.

“If you want to widen the street, you have to tear down some houses. The left side [Zhengyici] is a city cultural protection unit, so you have to choose to demolish the right side [No.213 and 215 courtyards],” said an anonymous Xicheng government official.

The courtyards gained “protected” status in 2004. No.215 used to be home to opera star Qiu Shengrong. No.213 is home to an elderly man.

“The blue plates are not useless, but no one bothers to use them,” said He Shuzhong, founder of the Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center. “The blue plate means that the courtyard’s value as a cultural relic is recognized by the administration of cultural heritage. They just haven’t become ‘immovable cultural relics of sites to be protected.”

According to the regulations, administrations responsible for cultural relics should formulate specific protective measures for the immovable cultural relics of the sites protected for their historical and cultural value, and of the sites that have not yet been verified as such.

“But no one ever bothers to be serious when dealing with such matters,” He said.

Read original article.


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