By Erik Crouch
Image via @Sam_V http://www.flickr.com/photos/svigier/7245980596/
A year after China failed its heritage site check-up, a panel has selected more than 600 rural sites to be of “special cultural significance” and which will be preserved as the nation develops. The survey of Chinese towns, commissioned by the Housing Ministry and State Administration of Cultural Heritage, began in May and resulted in nearly 12,000 candidates for conservation. Out of these 12,000, around 5% were decided to be worthy of preservation.
The South China Morning Post interviewed conservationists about the new town designations:
Xie Chensheng , a veteran conservationist with the China Society of Cultural Relics, said the list could at best be described as a salvage effort, since ageing rural buildings have been poorly protected for so long. […]
“Good villages are always those which fit in well with nature,” Xie said. “So conservation of old villages has to be done in accordance with the wisdom behind the ancient buildings and the locals’ way of living.”
China currently has 2.7 million rural villages, down significantly from its 3.6 million only one decade ago. Preservationists certainly have their work cut out for them, especially as China’s developers shift their sights into more rural areas.