Archive for the UNESCO heritage sites / intangible heritage Category

Confucius hometown offers free tours for Analects-quoting foreigners [Xinhua / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]]

Posted in China, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, Tourism, UNESCO heritage sites / intangible heritage on March 8, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Here’s the Confucius quotes I would use, they are some of the pithiest:

#1. 2:12 “The noble person is not a tool.”

#2. 4:16 “The noble person is concerned with rightness; the small person is concerned with profit.”

#3. 15:38 “In education there should be no class distinctions.”

#4. 15:23 “[Reciprocity]…what you do not want for yourself, do not do to others.”

#5 17:19 “The village paragon is the thief of virtue.”
[from “Sources of Chinese Tradition Vol. 1”, comp. by W.T. deBary & I. Bloom, Colombia Univ. Press, 1999.]

JINAN, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) — Foreigners who can recite five famous quotes of Confucius will be given free tours to his birthplace, according to a new policy by China’s Qufu City aimed at promoting the wisdom of the ancient philosopher.

The city in east China’s Shandong Province says from Friday foreigners can get free tickets for its three Confucius-related UNESCO World Heritage Sites if they can recite five sentences from the Analects, or the Analects of Confucius.

The Analects is a collection of famous sayings of Confucius, a philosopher and educator during the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC – 476 BC) whose thinking has greatly influenced Chinese cultures.

The sentences can be recited in Chinese, English or other native languages of applicants. Successful challengers will be issued a certificate of honor that will exempt them of the ticket fees at the Temple of Confucius, the Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion.

The three sites receive 150,000 foreign visitors annually, and the free-ticket policy is meant to enhance the interaction between foreign visitors and the Confucian culture, said an official with the Qufu’s cultural heritage administration.

The city rolled out the policy for Chinese tourists in 2013. Since then, 170,000 people have joined the test, about 65 percent of whom passed.

Editor: An

Article’s original title: “Confucius hometown offers free tours for Analects-chanting foreigners”

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Thirst for profits risks historic sites in China [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Corruption, Housing, Tourism, UNESCO heritage sites / intangible heritage on June 11, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

May 20, 2011

The way China treats its cultural relics has come under fire in the wake of allegations that important historical sites have been misused.

Reports of the existence of an exclusive club for wealthy people within the Forbidden City’s Jianfu Palace stirred up the emotions of many Chinese netizens. Membership of the club reportedly costs 1 million yuan ($154,000).

However, the apparently inappropriate use of cultural landmarks does not stop at the Forbidden City’s impressive walls.

The villa residence of Soong May-ling (wife of Chiang Kai-shek, the late leader of the Kuomintang) in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, which was listed as a historical and cultural site under State protection in 2001, has reportedly been turned into a high-end restaurant that hosts elite wedding banquets.

The high-profile allegations have triggered an outcry from many people and caused critics to question whether China’s cultural sites are under threat from those who want to squeeze a profit from them.

“It is undeniable that the current system for the preservation of cultural relics has several loopholes,” said Gao Guoxi, a professor from the social science department at the Shanghai-based Fudan University.

Gao said it is not rare in China to see ancient locations being exploited for commercial gain and many people and organizations have tried to cash in….[and that] China needs to take a tougher line and penalize violators if it wants to prevent further damage to its cultural relics.

However, the thirst for land for development seems to be an even bigger challenge for those wanting to preserve the country’s historic sites.

In the city of Hangzhou, in East China’s Zhejiang province, the development of an area that was home to the remains of a Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) imperial city has continued without approval for more than a year.

The area was listed as a historical and cultural site under State protection in 2001 and was also listed as one of China’s most important protected relics during the period of the country’s 11th Five-year Plan (2006-2010).

Liang Baiquan, former director of the Nanjing Museum, said such cases illuminate a decline in morality.

“The precious cultural resources of the public have been hijacked by the privileged class,” he said. “This shows that society is courting quick profits and is a sign of moral degradation…”


Edited by Zuo Shou

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Rich club company accused by Forbidden City to be investigated [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, China Scenery, Corruption, Tourism, UNESCO heritage sites / intangible heritage on June 11, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

May 18, 2011

The company accused by the Forbidden City of turning its Jianfu Palace into a private club for the rich was allegedly involved in fraudulent registration, and the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce (BAIC) has promised to investigate it, the website of People’s Daily said Tuesday.

The imperial palace-turned-museum said on its official Tencent microblog Monday that turning the Jianfu Palace into a club was an unauthorized move taken by the Forbidden City Cultural Development Company (FCCDC), the museum’s subsidiary, and the action had been stopped.

FCCDC was set up in 2005 by the Beijing Forbidden City Culture Service Center, a subsidiary of the Forbidden City, and Hong Kong Yicheng Investment Co, according to the museum microblog.
The Beijing-based Legal Mirror said Tuesday that the registration address of the company did not exist, and the Hong Kong company was dissolved in 2000.

A BAIC telephone operator told the website Tuesday it was likely that the dissolved Hong Kong company entered into the joint venture with the Forbidden City by providing false information.

“When receiving the registration information from a company, the examination performed by the administration is only a formality and it is unable to check the authenticity of each piece of information,” the telephone operator was quoted as saying.

A post on the Sina microblog revealed that the museum last month handed out registration forms for a club inside the Jianfu Palace to provide banquets and conference services to a limited membership of 500, and the entrance fee was 1 million yuan ($153,901).

The Forbidden City on its official microblog accused its subsidiary company of the move and claimed its leaders never knew about it.

Many historical buildings in China have been rented out or transformed into luxury hotels, restaurants, offices or clubs to make money.

The Diaoyutai State Guesthouse and MGM Group in the US signed a contract and drew up a plan in 2009 to transform buildings dating back to the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) near the Yonghegong Lama Temple in Beijing into luxury spa hotels, 21st Century Business Herald reported in March last year.

Liu Qingzhu, an archeology expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it was acceptable for historical tourist spots to operate some of their sites for commercial purposes, but they should be for promoting culture.

“The main premise for the operation is that it won’t damage the buildings or any cultural relics,” Liu said to the Global Times, adding that the profits from the operation should be used for public cultural undertakings such as special funds for repairing ancient buildings.

Source: Global Times

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Harbin gov’t to protect notorious Japanese germ warfare site [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Fascism, Harbin, Hiroshima, Japan, Nazism, Tokyo, UNESCO heritage sites / intangible heritage, World War II on February 24, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

February 24, 2011

Zhu Yufen, 70, visits the former site of Unit 731, where her father Zhu Yuntong and uncle Zhu Yunxiu were killed. This file photo was taken in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, on Sept 18, 2010. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Harbin city government is pushing for new regulations to protect the former site of Unit 731, a base for germ and biological experiments by the Japanese army during World War II.

The city passed a draft on protection of the Unit 731 site at a recent executive meeting, and will submit it to the standing committee of the city’s people’s congress for review.

In the draft, the protected zone was expanded from the Pingfang district, in the southern suburbs of Harbin, to some downtown areas in the Nangang district.  All the occupied heritage buildings will have to be vacated.

"For historical reasons, parts of the former sites of Unit 731 were occupied by institutions in the postwar period, for example by some State-owned plants.  The Unit 731 headquarters was the only site protected well," said an official of the legislative affairs office of the city government, who refused to be named.

Earlier reports showed that even the original site of the office of Shiro Ishii, the lieutenant-general of Unit 731, was demolished due to lack of protection.

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“Abnormal values” behind rising admission ticket prices for Chinese historical sites [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Tourism, UNESCO heritage sites / intangible heritage on August 30, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Application for world cultural heritage, renovation of the big ancient town temple, construction of the priciest,” state of the art” toilet at the cost of 1.97 million yuan, or some 288,000 US dollars, as well as operation fees of 22 local government departments – all these expenditures will have “finalized” a price rise in the admission tickets for the great “Nanyue Temple”.  This temple is the largeest group of ancient buildings in Hunan province in central-south China.

Hubbubs for a price rise for admission tickets are owed to the exact same reason.  The price rise for admission tickets at the “Three Confucius Sites”, which refer specifically to the Kong Family Mansionin in east China’s Shandong province, where the Kong Family (including Confucius himself) had lived, stems from funds needed for inheritance protection; and the admission tickets for the Danxia Mountain, the most beautiful scenery in south China’s Guangdong province, which was listed by the UNESCO as a unique part of World Cultural Heritage lately, could also “rise in price”.

These cannot be taken as an adequate reason for a rise in the price of admission ticket price, however.  In formulating or adjusting admission ticket prices, the people’s consumption level should be taken into full account instead of focusing on economic interests one-sidedly, noted the State Development and Reform Commission.  Admission ticket is purely not a management issue but should be seen as a management instrument for protecting cultural relics, maintaining the environment and providing services for people.

The knowledge of admission tickets is also the knowledge relating to scenic sites or places of historical interest.  Great mountains and rivers, ancient temples and wonderful “fairylands” with magnificent views are either gifts from…nature or remains left by ancestors; their property rights belong to the government, and so all people are equally endowed with the rights to ascend for a look at panoramic views or for exploration into serene sites.

The rise in the price of admission ticket resultant from the world heritage applications, the huge amount of “special expenditures”, and the high-cost operation expense have made admission tickets far exceed its original meaning or significance but reflect the “abnormal values” of tourism development.

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Cradle of Chinese Kung Fu, Shaolin Temple kicks its way into UNESCO heritage list with other historic monuments of Dengfeng / Mt. Songshan – PHOTOS [People’s Daily]

Posted in China, Henan Province, Kung Fu 功夫, Martial Arts, Shaolin Temple 少林寺, UNESCO heritage sites / intangible heritage on August 5, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手
August 2, 2010

Undated photo shows two monks of Shaolin Temple practicing Chinese kung fu at the Shaolin Temple in central China's Henan Province. The World Heritage Committee decided to include the Chinese Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in the World Heritage List on July 31, 2010, during its 34th meeting taking place in Brasilia, Brazil. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

The home of Chinese kungfu and Zen Buddhism, China’s Shaolin Temple is now part of humanity’s cultural heritage.

Nestled in the Mount Songshan of Central China’s Henan province, the historic architectural complex including the Shaolin Temple was added on Sunday to the UNESCO World Heritage List during a meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Brasilia, Brazil.

Martial arts performers celebrate the Shaolin Temple becoming part of a world heritage site on August 1, 2010. (ZHANG HONGFEI / FOR CHINA DAILY)

The new addition pushed China’s world heritage sites to 39, including 28 cultural heritage sites, seven natural heritage sites and four cultural and natural heritage sites.

UNESCO said the historical architecture complex stands out for its great aesthetic beauty and its profound cultural connotations.

The complex is composed of 11 traditional structures, including the Shaolin Temple, the Observatory, Songyang Academy, Taishi Towers and Zhongyue Temple.

With a history of more than 2,000 years, these monuments feature various architectural styles brimming with ancient Chinese culture.

They provide the world with a glimpse into ancient Chinese religion, philosophy, customs and scientific development, said Yang Huancheng, an expert of ancient architecture.

Shaolin Temple’s abbot Shi Yongxin said the UNESCO decision is a privilege, but it also adds pressure.

“For the monks, living in a world-recognized heritage site is a wonderful experience, but at the same time, our responsibility to protect the temple becomes even graver,” he said.

Tourists visit the Shaolin Temple in central China's Henan Province July 30, 2010. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Shi, however, said admission prices will not rise, and the temple would try to provide better service for domestic and foreign visitors.

Shi said a higher profile for the Shaolin Temple will heighten the public’s awareness to protect the temple.

“I’m also looking forward to the addition of Shaolin kungfu into UNESCO’s intangible heritage list,” Shi added.

Local officials said they are getting prepared for more tourists from home and abroad.

“We’ve begun to organize tour guides learning to give introductions in English about the world heritage site, considering the increasing number of foreign visitors,” Zhu Jianping, a senior official of Dengfeng tourist bureau, told China Daily on Sunday.

Zeng Jianshu, a local resident, said as more tourists come, his business will undoubtedly benefit, too.

Though many people hailed the news, there were also frowns with some expressing doubts about the benefits to the area.

One netizen surnamed Mu said the arrival of more tourists might lead to an over-commercialization of the site.

“Too many tourists will destroy the tranquility and the sublime beauty of the religious constructions,” Mu said.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

Source: China Daily(By Chen Jia and Li Yuefeng) 

Photo taken on July 30, 2010 shows the pagoda forest of the Shaolin Temple, including 241 pagodas built between 689 and 1803 and 2 modern pagodas, in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

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Following photos are from the PD article “Centre of Heaven and Earth” to bid for World Cultural Heritage in 2010 (dated July 31, 2010) 

Undated photo shows that monks of Shaolin Temple running out of the temple's gate in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)


Photo taken on July 30, 2010 shows a bas-relief at the Zhongyue Temple in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Photo taken on July 30, 2010 shows the pagoda forest of the Shaolin Temple in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)


Undated photo shows that monks of Shaolin Temple guarding in line outside the temple's gate at the Shaolin Temple in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Photo taken on July 30, 2010 shows the Yaocan Pavilion at the Zhongyue Temple in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Photo taken on July 30, 2010 shows a group of stone sculptures at the Songyang Academy in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Photo taken on July 30, 2010 shows a wooden gateway in front of the Zhongyue Temple in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Photo taken on July 30, 2010 shows the ancient Dengfeng Observatory, built in Yuan Dynasty(1206-1368), in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Photo taken on July 30, 2010 shows the gate of the Songyang Academy in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Photo taken on July 30, 2010 shows the gate of the Songyang Academy in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Photo taken on July 30, 2010 shows the Junji Hall at the Zhongyue Temple in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Undated photo shows a Shaolin student practicing Chinese kung fu on the top of a pagoda at the Shaolin Temple in central China's Henan Province. (Xinhua/Wang Song)

Source: Xinhua