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World heritage forum blasts off
By Jia Hepeng and Ma Lie (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-18 06:03

XI'AN: China's latest step into the future, Shenzhou VI, has been called on by the President of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), as an example of how his organization's work relates to the modern day.

"Our efforts here will be conducive to the preservation of the Shenzhou VI manned spaceship as a monument to human civilization," Michael Petzet, president of ICOMOS said, at a meeting ahead of the group's main conference.

The 15th Assembly of ICOMOS opened yesterday, a few hours after the successful landing of China's second manned spaceship Shenzhou VI.

Commenting on the achievements his Chinese colleagues have made in protecting the nation's heritage, Petzet said the convening of the ICOMOS assembly in Xi'an would help spread Chinese experience and knowledge worldwide.

"Here in Xi'an, we see the combination of ancient resplendence and modern dynamics," said Petzet, adding that this is what ICOMOS and its members have long been pursuing.

Established in 1965, ICOMOS is the only international non-government organization focused on protecting heritage. It is the main consultative organ of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in judging world heritage candidates.

Speaking at the assembly's opening ceremony, Sun Jiazheng, Chinese minister of culture, claimed the Chinese Government had spared no efforts in protecting heritage and the environment through laws, regulations and investment.

The ICOMOS meeting is billed as a chance for the nation to rethink the basic principles, measures and tools of practical conservation.

The theme of the ICOMOS assembly and the accompanying scientific symposium is "Monuments and Sites in their setting: Conserving cultural heritage in changing townscapes and landscapes."

More than 1,000 delegates from around the world are participating in the ICOMOS assembly, submitting more than 500 papers about heritage protection.

(China Daily 10/18/2005 page3)

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