Firefighters work near the Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris, capital of France, on Monday after a blaze broke out on the afternoon. (Photo/Xinhua)
Could ancient Chinese heritage sites be destroyed by a similar fire that engulfed the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris?
Chinese society, from fire departments, heritage sites to ordinary people, alarmed by the Paris tragedy, started to promote cultural relics preservation and vowed to strengthen firefighting measures.
The National Cultural Heritage Administration reported six fire accidents at heritage sites this year, demanding all local heritage departments to strengthen fire prevention, according to a press release the administration sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.
The administration called for an assessment on firefighting equipment at cultural relics, the establishment of firefighting teams for regular drills and vowed to hold those accountable for causing fire accidents.
During a routine press conference on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said that cherishing culture and the love of beauty transcend national borders, and Notre Dame is not only a symbol of French and European civilization, but also a precious cultural heritage of all mankind.
Many Chinese netizens who were saddened by the tragedy rushed to the page of the 600-year-old Palace Museum on Sina Weibo since early Tuesday, calling on the museum to prevent fires, and praised the museum's efforts to keep itself from fire incidents for 49 years. The hashtag #fire prevention at cultural relics and ancient architecture on Weibo has drawn more than 3 million views as of press time.
One Weibo post that reads "Fire control measures, more fire drills, upgrade of firefighting equipment are needed" was followed by several exclamation points.
Many netizens also praised Chinese firefighters, and are proud of fire prevention measures at Chinese heritage sites. Others likewise circulated a post, which said that the Palace Museum has had a firefighting team since 1970, and its 62 firefighters said no major fire accidents have taken place in half century.
"The Palace Museum is welcoming its 600th birthday, and the firefighters' duty is to make sure an intact museum could have another 600 years," reads the post originally made by China's fire department.
Meanwhile, it seems that the Palace Museum has received the message, as it has organized an emergency conference on safety on Tuesday, the day after the Notre Dame fire, according to the National Cultural Heritage Administration's website.
Firefighting departments from different cities in China posted photos, graphics and videos to promote firefighting measures and stress the significance of fire prevention at heritage sites on social media.
The China Fire and Rescue Bureau under the Ministry of Emergency Management also hosted a live stream on fire prevention of cultural relics on Wednesday, which drew around 50,000 people.
The live stream, titled "Don't let history get destroyed by fire," is aimed at raising public awareness of fire prevention at heritage sites, and many said that "fire safety at cultural relics is the responsibility of everyone, instead of just firefighters."
Zhang Shengtu, an official at the Nanjing firefighting department in East China's Jiangsu Province, said in the video that they used technologies such as artificial intelligence to detect possible violations in the use of fire or electricity in the early warning system.
Zhang toured the Confucius Temple in Nanjing, which was firstly built in 337, and the temple has a mini fire station equipped with two glass cabinets containing masks, fire hydrants and fire extinguishers.