Gulangyu, Hoh Xil on world heritage list

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Tibetan antelopes in Hoh Xil in Qinghai Province.

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Historical buildings are seen in a bird’s-eye view of Gulangyu in Xiamen, Fujian Province.  File photos

The 41st session of the World Heritage Committee on Saturday decided to put China’s Gulangyu historic international settlement on the prestigious World Heritage List as a cultural site.

One day earlier, Qinghai Hoh Xil was put on the list as a natural site, becoming the 51st Chinese site inscribed on the list.

Commenting on the Committee’s decision, Fu Qisheng, head of the Fujian Provincial Bureau of Cultural Heritage, told Xinhua: “The successful inscription of ‘Gulangyu historic international settlement’ to the list marks the fact that China’s world heritage undertakings have made significant progress, and shows that the cultural construction and cultural relics protection in Fujian Province has reached a new level. For those working for the Fujian cultural relics protection, it is both a great honor and a huge responsibility.”

Fu said that the 21 members of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee spoke highly of Gulangyu — a unique place which has witnessed the process of multicultural exchanges and integration.

Gulangyu Island is located on the estuary of the Jiulong River facing the city of Xiamen. Its heritage includes a settlement composed of 931 historical buildings, representing a variety of local and international architectural styles, natural sceneries, historic roads and gardens. Gulangyu is an exceptional example of cultural fusion.

The committee is holding the session in Krakow, south Poland between July 2 and 12 and is supposed to assess the nomination of 34 sites for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Hoh Xil was put on the prestigious World Heritage List as a natural site Friday by committee.

Hoh Xil can be characterized by three major features, Du Yue, secretary-general from the National Commission of China for UNESCO, told Xinhua.

Firstly, with its high altitude of more than 4,000 meters, the site is a rare plateau with a special ecosystem, unique plants and valuable animals. The second is its surface, as this area is almost one of the largest on the list of world natural heritage, which proves the dedication of the Chinese Government to environmental protection, Du said.

According to Du, the third aspect was that while climate change affects many countries, China has taken a very important step and contributed to the protection of the world’s nature and environment. It is also to protect this very important land for the Chinese people. “I think this is very meaningful. Protecting this place is our responsibility,” Du added.

Hoh Xil is a region in the northwestern part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. As the world’s largest, highest and youngest plateau, it hosts many endemic species, and is home to more than 230 species of wild animals.

Some of the most valuable include wild yak, wild donkey, white-lip deer, brown bear and the endangered Tibetan antelope or chiru.  

(Xinhua)

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