China pledges to curb city demolition and protect cultural heritage | World information

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China will put an end to large-scale city demolitions and preserve old historic buildings as part of a program to protect its cultural heritage, new guidelines released late Friday said.

China’s rapid economic development has relied on breakneck rates of expansion and renovation, destroying entire neighborhoods and replacing thousands of old buildings with skyscrapers and shopping malls.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, said the aim of the new guidelines is to “systematically protect and pass on the country’s cultural heritage” and “to fully and accurately tell the stories of China and the Communist Party.”

China’s President Xi Jinping said in June that China needs to improve the way it “tells” stories about itself to better reflect its status on the world stage. Since then, the phrase has appeared in a number of government statements and political documents.

In the new urban planning guidelines, it was now forbidden to “tear down the real thing and build the wrong thing”, felled old trees, arbitrarily changed old place names or made changes to lake or river systems.

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Effective measures should also be taken to protect buildings that “reflect important historical events and bring together the emotional memories of the public”.

(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Shri Navratnam)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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