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The Chinese Minister Counsellor of Culture Delivered a Speech at World Heritage Protection Event

In the evening of September 19th, a group of Canadian activists, who have actively participated in the world heritage protection works these years, gathered to hold the event 'World Heritage at Our Doorsteps' in the historic Hotel Kenney of Jones Falls, Ontario by the beautiful and tranquil Rideau Canal. The Minister Counsellor of Culture, Mr. Lin Difu, was invited to attend the event and delivered his speech on China's efforts in the protection of cultural heritages, as well as the Sino-Canadian cooperation and exchange programs on the protection and utilization of cultural heritage resources.

Lin Difu said, cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations. It is unique and irreplaceable. Therefore, how to protect and manage well the cultural heritage attracts more and more attention from all over the world, including China. Since the beginning of the 1990s, China has protected a huge number of cultural relics and achieved remarkable success. The special subsidies appropriated by Chinese Central Government for the protection of cultural relics in more than 1,000 projects have reached about 700 million Chinese yuan, more than 100 million Canadian Dollars in value. As a result, a large number of cultural relics have been saved from destruction. In 1996, the State Council announced the fourth batch of national important cultural relics protection units, numbering 250 and bringing the total to 750. Lin Difu also said, later in this evening, Mr. Douglas Stewart is going to share with us his knowledge and thoughts during the recent work with the Grand Canal of China and his efforts to make this oldest canal in the world a World Heritage Site. Prior to his remarkable speech, I would like to share with you a piece of very updated news, which is on August 14th His Honorable Mr. Cai Wu, the Chinese Minister of Culture, has signed the No. 54 Order of the Ministry to announce that the Grand Canal Heritage Protection and Management Regulation will be implemented from October 1st, 2012. This new regulation will for sure provide a solid legal foundation for the protection and management of the Grand Canal of China.

Lin Difu said, in recent years, China has been taking an unprecedentedly active part in exchange and cooperation programs as well in terms of cultural relics with many other countries including Canada. About 150 cultural relics exhibitions have been held in the U.S., Canada, Argentina, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, and Singapore. From September 20th, the exhibition of Dazu Stone Carvings will be started in Kitchener, Ontario. We wish we can learn from each other through all these exchange and cooperation programs to improve the experience and knowledge on protection and utilization of our priceless cultural heritage resources. Finally, Lin Difu said, the world heritage is not only the precious wealth left by our ancestors, but also an important responsibility of us. There is a long way to go for protecting and managing well these heritages in the world. I wish China and Canada can strengthen continuously our cooperation on this important project.

The audiences responded to Lin Difu's wonderful speech with enthusiastic applause repeatedly.

Later on the event, the former Canadian Superintendent of the Rideau Canal and Director General of National Parks for Canada, Mr. Douglas Stewart, who was also primarily responsible for the nomination program for the Rideau Canal to be listed as the World Heritage by UNESCO, shared his insights into the value of world heritage as well as appropriate utilization and management on world heritage by introducing and comprising the Rideau Canal of Canada and the Grand Canal of China. Under the invitation of Chinese authorities, Douglas Stewart has been actively helping to make the oldest canal in the world a World Heritage Site these years. With several other experts, he will go to Yangzhou to attend the World Canal Conference held on September 23rd as the keynote speaker.

World Heritage at Our Doorsteps event, initiated by the Rideau Roundtable, is aimed at promoting the protection and utilization of cultural heritages in the world, also promotes the exchange between Canada and China on this respect. Mayors of the cities and towns situated by the Rideau Canal and officials from the National Parks also attended the event.

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