China and France cooperate on World Heritage site protection
China Daily     Updated: 2019-11-08

The cultural administrations of China and France jointly released a declaration to kick off a program of bilateral cooperation on the rebuilding work of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, as well as the protection and research of the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an on Nov 6.

"The Terracotta Warriors and Notre Dame are the most important symbols among the UNESCO World Heritage sites of China and France respectively," said Liu Yuzhu, director of the National Cultural Heritage Administration. "This collaboration shows our established relationship and highlights the mutual trust between the two countries."

In line with the declaration, a team of Chinese experts on cultural heritage will arrive in Paris in 2020 "as early as possible" to work on the Notre Dame Cathedral site alongside French conservators.

Liu added that the two countries have remained in frequent contact since the cathedral’s fire in April to explore avenues of cooperation.

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Conservation of the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, will also benefit from the cross-border cooperation. [Photo by Zhu Xingxing/China Daily]

"The project will greatly expand the horizons of Sino-French cooperation in terms of cultural heritage," Liu said. "It will set a good example to the world."

According to Zhao Qiang, director of the Shaanxi Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, cooperative studies and conservation between the province and France began in 2016 to cover the renovation of Gongshu Hall, a Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) temple, and the stone carvings at Maoling, an emperor's mausoleum of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC to 24 AD).

The French Development Agency also provided a 60 million euro ($66.7 million) low-interest loan for the conservation of cultural heritage sites in Fengxiang county, Shaanxi province in October 2018.

China is now regularly involved in joint projects in archaeology and the conservation of cultural heritage overseas, improving its capacity and strengthening its efforts in international cooperation.