China wants to add ancient Quanzhou port to Unesco World Heritage list

ancient china Quanzhou port city will be assessed for World Heritage status when representatives from a Unesco body meet in the south-east of the country later this month.

The city of Fuzhou, about 180 km from Quanzhou, will host the two-week session of the World Heritage Committee from July 16 after the gathering was postponed from last year due to the Covid pandemic19.

Tian Xuejun, vice minister of education and director of the Chinese National Commission for Unesco, confirmed on Monday that Quanzhou’s candidacy was on the agenda.

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Tian said Quanzhou “should add another gem to China’s World Heritage List”.

Zhang Lei, an official in charge of Unesco cultural heritage nominations with the National Administration of Cultural Heritage, said the administration was “cautiously optimistic” about the outcome.

Quanzhou was China’s most important port and one of the busiest in the world during the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties. Described by Italian explorer Marco Polo as the largest port in the world, the city is believed to be the starting point of China’s ancient maritime trade route, now known as the Silk Sea Route.

In recent years, China has promoted both sea and mainland silk routes as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, asserting that its efforts to revive old trade routes would bring new opportunities for wealth and development to participating countries.

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This is the second time the city has applied for World Heritage status – its application for “ancient Quanzhou” was deferred when the committee met in Bahrain in 2018.

After the postponement, which means that the applicant must submit a new application with more information, the National Cultural Heritage Administration worked with “professional international institutions”, making major technical adjustments and resubmitting the application by as “Quanzhou: Emporium of the World in Song-Yuan China,” according to Zhang.

“The theme is clearer with a more solid elaboration of the value,” he said.

China has 55 cultural or natural world heritage sites, including 12 since 2012, according to Tian.

The committee meeting will be held virtually, with several heads of Unesco’s governing bodies addressing the online session.

Reviews of the 45 elements of the World Heritage List and of the 258 state of conservation reports of World Heritage sites will also take place virtually.

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Meanwhile, Tian denied that China was behind a Unesco committee’s recommendation last month that the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, be added to the “endangered” list. “Due to the impact climate change.

He said China was “strongly opposed” to Australia’s “reckless attempts to smear China, to pressure the World Heritage Committee through media speculation and to interfere with the objective and impartial decisions taken by the World Heritage Committee “.

Australia has fought to keep the Great Barrier Reef, a major tourist attraction, off the “endangered” list. In 2015, Unesco noted that the outlook for the reef was poor but kept the site’s status unchanged, but scientists say it suffered major coral bleaching due to strong sea heat waves.

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