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Conflict leads to ruined ruins(2)

2014-03-05 15:45 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e


Locals have made sacrifices for heritage conservation. They pinned their hopes on tourism but to date it has disappointed them.

Most palaces, temples and tombs are still preserved underground. Some sites such as ancient workshops have been sealed off for protection.

The Garden Museum of Yin Ruins, the main tourist attraction in the area, fails to deliver as there is little on show.

This has led to a decrease in the number of tourists. A well-intentioned tourist economy that promised to benefit local farmers has turned out to be nothing but lip service.

The illegal construction of homes is also impacting tourism. They are damaging the landscape and threatening relics underneath, said Tang Biaogen, director of Anyang Station of the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In Xiaosikong Village, over forty three-storey buildings face the ruins of ancient temples and palaces.

"This is the core area of emperors' tombs and ancient architectures, where the precious earth layer of Shang Dynasty is only half a meter down," Tang said. "But villagers dug as deep as two meters to lay the foundations for their buildings."

Village head Sun Weidong told Xinhua that more than 60 households had no choice but to defy the law.

"We have appealed to government departments, but all in vain," Sun said, adding that despite the construction ban he was determined on addressing villagers' housing problems.

By the end of 2013, the archaeological institute submitted reports on the current situation and potential risks of illegal constructions. But no response has been received so far.


According to Wang Xuejun, the government cannot just dispatch a fleet of bulldozers to crush illegal buildings against local residents' will.

Improving people's livelihood is a priority for governments, but public and national interests should not give way to immediate regional interests, said Tang. "After all, cultural heritage itself is also a part of people's livelihood."

Tang added, "Ideally, additional land out of the protection area should be allotted to each village and a heritage compensation fund set up to support impoverished farmers."

The local government has organized a working group consisting of members from the city's discipline inspection, land and resources, urban construction and law enforcement departments to investigate the conflict between heritage conservation and people's livelihood.

Officials with the city's publicity department said a system combining rights, liabilities and benefits will be established to better protect the Yin Ruins.

It could be some time before the conflict is resolved.

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