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Asia-Pacific Heritage News in Press 2006

December 2006

Hong Kong wakes up to heritage

“When the piers for Hong Kong's famous Star Ferry and Queen's Pier were closed last month, thousands of ordinary Hong Kong people came to bid them farewell. The buildings are not so special - just 48 years old and usually described as "functional". But the outpouring of emotion has alerted Hong Kong's planners and developers to a growing movement to save Hong Kong's heritage.”

BBC News, Hong Kong – December 4, 2006http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6206116.stm


Heritage office created for restoration of rice terraces

"LAGAWE, Ifugao: The provincial government of Ifugao has created a cultural heritage office to oversee the restoration of the endangered Ifugao rice terraces, earlier enshrined as one of the world’s heritage that is now on the brink of deterioration."

The Manila Times– December 7, 2006: http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2006/dec/07/yehey/prov/20061207pro1.html 


For the further preservation of cultural heritages

"The Cultural Heritage Laws, in effect since January 01, 2002, have inarguably facilitated the preservation of cultural sites, according to the Ministry of Culture and Information. At a meeting to review the implementation of the Cultural Heritage Laws held recently in Hanoi, the Ministry of Culture and Information reported that such laws have been effective in preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritages, minimising the number of cultural sites illegally encroached upon."

VietNamNet Bridge – December 8, 2006: http://english.vietnamnet.vn/travel/2006/12/642155/ 


HeritageWatch and the Ministry of Tourism Sign MoU

"HeritageWatch and the Ministry of Tourism of the Kingdom of Cambodia, on December 5th, 2006, signed an Memorandum of Understanding for the Heritage Friendly Tourism Campaign. The Purpose of the campaign is to promote responsible tourism and business in Cambodia and to encourage tourism to the Kingdom."

HeritageWatch – December 9, 2006: http://www.heritagewatch.org/hnews.php?theId=25 

November 2006

Iran inks cultural MoUs with 110 countries

"Director general of the Asia and Pacific Department of the Culture and Communication Organization Abouzar Ebrahimi on Wednesday said that Iran has so far signed numerous memoranda of understandings with 110 countries with an aim of expanding cultural relations."

Islamic Republic News Agency  – November 29, 2006: http://www.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-235/0611297939175034.htm 


China
's Great Wall? "Just a pile of earth"

“Three people have been detained for digging up part of the Great Wall just days before strict new penalties are introduced to protect China's most famous tourist attraction, Xinhua news agency said.”


Battambang Villagers Block Attempt to Destroy 100 Year Old Temple

“Over 400 villagers staged a protest at the proposed demolishion of a 100 year old temple in Ek Phnom district, Battambang province. Villagers were sucessful in blocking contruction workers from entering the site and alleged the builders wanted to knock down the temple to loot treasures from underneath the temple.”

The Cambodia Daily – November 15, 2006: http://www.heritagewatch.org/hnews.php?theId=24 

October 2006

Globalization: Saving Thailand's other languages

“Taek-taek took-took: Feeling embarrassed but not showing it on your face. Kathaeng: A brook that's swollen in the monsoon season, but which dries up when the rains stop. Kathai: A bamboo basket used to hold offerings for ancestral spirits.


These words form part of the unusual lexicon of the Chong, a small ethnic minority group in southeastern Thailand. Traditionally hunter-gatherers, the tribe has turned to cultivating fruit as newly built roads have made the towns more approachable. But as they bump up against the forces of modernity and the dominant, unifying Thai culture, their language may face a slow death. Should that happen, the Chong's unique world view, local wisdom and rich culture would also get buried.”

International Herald Tribune - October 23, 2006:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/23/features/lang.php


Srinagar: Preservation of cultural heritage to be reality soon
 

“After a deep slumber, authorities on Tuesday woke up with a commitment to preserve cultural heritage of Srinagar –one of the oldest cities in Asia. The initiative came from the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) with its Mayor Advocate Ghulam Mustafa Mir announcing that the corporation would soon pass bye-laws for the preservation of the city’s cultural heritage.”

GreaterKashmir.com - 19 October 2006: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/full_story.asp?Date=20_10_2006&ItemID=50&cat=21 


Senate Body For Tangible Steps To Project National Cultural Heritage

"ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Culture, Sports and Youth Affairs and Tourism has directed the Ministry of Culture to re-double its efforts for proper maintenance, up keep and preservation of the archeological sites in the country in addition to taking tangible steps for projecting and promoting the country’s soft image. This, it said, could best be done by arranging cultural shows and festivals, both at home and abroad."

Onlinenews.com.pk – 19 October 2006: http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=103457 


HISTORIC PRESERVATION: Looking East

"The Asian megacity is set to become this century’s predominant urban form, which means Western preservationists have much to learn from Bangkok, Dhaka, and Mumbai."

Historic Preservation - Fall 2006: http://www.americancity.org/article.php?id_article=196 


"Four treasures of study" apply for "intangible cultural heritage"
 

“Traditional treasures of the study, namely, the writing brush, ink stick, ink slab and a special-type Xuan paper, the essentials for traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting, have been applied to be included into the intangible cultural heritage of the world.”

People’s Daily Online-19 October 2006: http://english.people.com.cn/200610/19/eng20061019_313487.html 


UNESCO mission reviews Vietnam World Heritage site conservation
 

"The mission of UNESCO World Heritage Center (WHC) and International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) held a press conference Monday after arriving on a 5-day working visit. Mission leader and WHC Asia-Pacific Chief Giovanni Boccardi said the mission would focus on the conservation of Huong River’s scenery, Vong Canh hill monument, and the Da Vien hillock, among other sites."

Nguoi Lao Dong – October 18 2006 - Translated by Luu Thi Hong:http://www.thanhniennews.com/travel/?catid=7&newsid=21239 

September 2006

The Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP): "Friends of Old Beijing" Program Will Begin 19 October 2006

"Love the hutongs and courtyard houses of Old Beijing? Distressed to see block after block demolished to make way for high-rise building? Want to help preserve the beauty of the old city, but feel powerless to do anything other than take photos of hutongs before they disappear? We all feel that way, but now is the time to act on our convictions.


For those who feel passionate about Old Beijing, CHP and that's Beijing magazine are launching a volunteer network, Friends of Old Beijing. We invite you to join us both to learn about hutongs and to contribute in a focused way to help preserve the remaining conserved areas of Old Beijing. Friends of Old Beijing welcomes both foreigners and Chinese."

CHP Heritage Update 27 September 2006: http://www.bjchp.org/english/mzpl_view.asp?NewsID=86 


World Heritage Listing Sought For Goldfields

The Victorian “Government is seeking World Heritage listing for Victoria’s goldfields, where Australia’s egalitarian identity emerged and the wealth that made Melbourne marvellous was generated. The Planning Minister, Rob Hulls, today announced he had written to the Federal Environment and Heritage Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, asking for the goldfields to be placed on Australia’s World Heritage Indicative List as the first step towards nomination.”

www.vic.gov.au - 22 September 2006: http://www.heritage.vic.gov.au/admin/file/content9/c5/goldfield_wh.pdf


UNESCO to promote tourism with heritage programme

"In an attempt to make Indian tourism pro-poor, pro-local and more ethnic the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Friday launched a heritage passport programme for four states. 'The programme mandates to protect cultural heritage and promote creative diversity through education and cultural industries,' UNESCO country representative Minja Yang said at a symposium on heritage tourism organised jointly by her organisation and the Confederation of India Industries (CII) here. The programme, Yang said, will take off in four states -Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Rajasthan - on a pilot basis."

Indo Asian News Service – 30 September 2006: http://www.indiaenews.com/business/20060930/24265.htm 


Sakyamuni Pagoda celebrated its 950th anniversary

“Sakyamuni Pagoda, believed to be the world's tallest wooden structure, celebrated its 950th anniversary on Tuesday amid concerns from architects that it is tilting. The streets in front of the Fogong Temple, where the pagoda is housed, were swamped with 30,000 people and draped in red flags, silk banners, pumpkin-shaped lanterns and colored balloons.”

People’s Daily Online (China) – 5 September 2006: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200609/05/eng20060905_299813.html  

August 2006

Japan's contributions towards the development of culture

"While successfully scoring diplomatic points on the cultural front, culminating in the election of Koichiro Matsuura, former Japanese ambassador to France, as the UNESCO director general in 1999, Japan had long been far from serious about cracking down on illicit trade in foreign cultural assets at home. It was not until 2002 that Japan ratified a key international treaty banning illicit traffic in statues, paintings, manuscripts, books and other objects of historical or archeological value."

OhmyNews, 18 August 2006: http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=311744&rel_no=1

2,500-year-old figurines found in China

"Archaeologists have unearthed two 2,500-year-old terra cotta figurines that are possible predecessors to the statue the army buried with China's first emperor, state media reported. The 4-inch-tall figurines were made by the nation of Qin before its ruler unified China in 221 B.C., the China Daily newspaper and the Xinhua News Agency said this week. The figurines "are believed to be the original forms" of the style used to make the terra cotta army, the China Daily said. Xinhua said they might have been used to decorate homes."

Yahoo Asian News, 16 August 2006: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060816/ap_on_re_as/china_ancient_figurines


Macau Launches PDA Historic Route Guide

“Following the success of Macao Heritage Net in 2004 and the Macao World Heritage Information Kit launched last year, the Cultural Affairs Bureau takes great pleasure in introducing “Exploring the Historic Centre of Macau,” a PDA route guide using network technology.  The system presents a comprehensive introduction and information on the sites in the historic centre of Macao SAR in digital format, with visuals and text descriptions that can be downloaded by PDA for convenient use. The promotion leaflet and information kit are popular with both local citizens and tourists, to the extent that it has become an important tool in raising their awareness of the Historic Centre of Macau SAR”.  The guide can be easily downloaded and used via PDA at http://www.macauheritage.net/

Source:   PATA News, 9 August 2006: http://www.pata.org/patasite/index.php?id=1326 


Beijing speeds up the restoration of historic sites and hutong in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games

"A short inauguration ceremony was held on Friday to mark the start of a one-year project to restore the 600-year-old Imperial Ancestral Temple, adjacent to the well-known Tian'anmen Rostrum in the west. "With a total investment of 15 million yuan (US$1.85 million), it is the largest restoration to the magnificent halls of the temple since liberation (in 1949)," said Kong Fanzhi, head of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage, at the ceremony. "Beijing has already begun restoration projects for 13 of 17 historical sites this year, in accordance with an Olympics cultural protection programme, Kong's administration said.

People's Daily Online (China) - Beijing, 5 August 2006: http://english.people.com.cn/200608/05/eng20060805_290210.html 


China's world heritage sites prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
 

To prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, famous Beijing sites that are inscribed to be World Cultural Heritages are undergoing maintenance work, including areas in Beihai Park, the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the Forbidden City, the Long Corridor and Buddhist Incense Tower at the Summer Palace, Echo Wall in the Temple of Heaven Park, the Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Beijing Man Site in Zhoukoudian, and part of the Great Wall in the outskirts of Beijing.

China View Xinhua, 15 August 2006: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-08/15/content_4962840.htm

July 2006

Funding protects Australian Indigenous past for future generations

"Hi-tech three-dimensional laser scanning techniques will be used to record detailed images of historic engravings and art sites along the coast of Tasmania as part of an Australian Government programme to protect and promote Indigenous heritage.  Announced today by Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, the 2006-07 Indigenous Heritage Programme will provide $2.96 million for 50 projects throughout the nation".
Australian Government, Minister for the Environment and Heritage - Media Release, 12 July 2006:

www.deh.gov.au/minister/env/2006/mr12july06.html

Another $413,200 for environment and heritage groups in Australia

"The work of 144 voluntary environment and heritage groups around Australia received a significant boost today with the announcement of $413,200 in grants under the Australian Government's Grants to Voluntary Environment and Heritage Organisations (GVEHO) programme".  The Hon. Ian Campbell, Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, said that "over the last 10 years, the Australian Government has provided over $13.6 million to 289 environment and heritage groups under this programme".
Australian Government Media Release, 7 July 2006:



Old Beijing worries about the 2008 games

"Will the Olympic Games, which organizers promised would enhance the city's cultural heritage, instead help finish off what remains of old Beijing?"
International Herald Tribune - New York Times,  11 July 2006:

www.iht.com/articles/2006/07/11/news/beijing.php

4 UNESCO-listed sites no longer at risk

"Four world heritage sites in Europe, Africa and Asian are no longer endangered, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has decided." One of the sites is the 14th- to 16th-century Hindu temples and palaces of Hampi, India.
CBC (Canada), 11 July 2006:

www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2006/07/11/unesco-heritage.html

China popularizes cultural heritage among youngsters through cartoons

"China is attempting to popularize cultural heritage protection and traditional culture among young people through the medium of cartoons. . . . The cartoons, especially popular among young people, will help promote the protection of cultural heritage, which is facing a growing threat from urbanization in China."
People's Daily (China) – Xinhua, 7 July 2006:

english.people.com.cn/200607/07/eng20060707_281013.html

Olympics Imperil Historic Beijing Neighborhood

"Ancient homes lie in rubble. Scavengers squat in alleyways and wait to ransack vacated buildings.   The reason for the devastation is the 2008 Olympic Games, which have turned much of the city into a noisy, disjointed construction zone".
The New York Times, 12 July 2006:

www.nytimes.com/2006/07/12/world/asia/12beijing.html
Tourism threatening Tibet's sacred spaces

"Tibet's capital, Lhasa, is bursting at the seams with tourists. It already receives so many tourists that the famed Potala , the ancient symbol of Tibet, has imposed a daily limit on visitors. Even humble Tibetan pilgrims are turned away when the daily maximum is reached.  But the tourism boom is about to get much bigger. China's new high-altitude railway to Tibet is expected to open the floodgates to a massive influx of new visitors -- an extra 4,000 a day when it is in full operation.”
The Globe and Mail 12 July 2006:

 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060712.TIBET12/TPStory/
TPInternational/Asia/

June 2006

Australian Government conserves shipwrecks sites and stories

“Senator the Hon Ian Campbell. Projects to conserve shipwrecks around the country have received over $400,000 in funds under the Australian Government's Historic Shipwreck Programme (HSP), announced today by the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell. Senator Campbell said shipwrecks and their relics hold the key to revealing much about Australia's past, particularly defence, migration and exploration, and their protection is vital”.

Australian Government, Minister for the Environment and Heritage Media Release from 21 June 2006: http://www.deh.gov.au/minister/env/2006/mr21jun06.html 


Taro Okamoto's lost A-bomb mural restored

A large mural by Taro Okamoto called ‘Asu no Shinwa (Tomorrow's Myth)’ “has been restored and was displayed for reporters in Toon, Ehime Prefecture, on Tuesday.  The motif of the 5.5-meter-high and 30- meter-wide mural, which was made from 1968 to 1969, is an exploding atomic bomb.  The mural with its antinuclear message is known as an atomic bomb version of 'Guernica', a painting in which Pablo Picasso expressed his anger against fascism, and is considered Okamoto's best work.”

Daily Yomiuri Online from 7 June 2006: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/features/culture/20060607TDY03005.htm 


Survey Starts on Cultural Properties in American Bases in South Korea

"South Korea’s cultural heritage agency has kicked off a survey U.S. military bases nationwide to register cultural properties there that mostly remain unrecorded, its officials said Wednesday. … The surveys follow an agreement between the heritage agency and the USFK in December to enable the project over the next five years until 2011.”

The Korea Times, 07 June 2006: http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/nation/200606/kt2006060720584911990.htm   

May 2006

China establishes annual "Cultural Heritage Day"

"The Chinese government has established an national 'Cultural Heritage Day' to be celebrated annually on the second Saturday of June, Culture Minister Sun Jiazheng said [in Beijing] Thursday. . . . He said Chinese legislation included more than 30 laws and regulations on cultural heritage protection in which the government had invested 7.89 billion yuan (900 million U.S. dollars) over the last five years. People from all walks of life had come to realize its importance."


China's cultural heritage protection progressive, yet not optimistic

"China's cultural heritage protection has made progress, but many problems still exist and need to be solved, said the Minister of Culture on Thursday.  Sun Jiazheng said that China has established over 30 regulations based on the law of cultural relics protection. A law on intangible cultural relics protection was also put on the drafting schedule of China's top legislature."


Two Thousand Ancient Relics Confiscated from Smugglers in Iran

“A large number of 5000 year-old antiques were seized from smugglers in the Iranian province of Kerman by the Cultural Heritage Police Department of the province. […]  Halil Rud historical site, located near the city of Jiroft in Kerman Province, was one of the first places where civilization and urbanization were established. […]  A large number of stone, clay, and architectural remains from the third millennium BC were discovered during archeological excavations in the site. Illegal excavations of the smugglers in this historical site resulted in the loss of some invaluable evidence. These historical treasures were then sold to museums and private collections outside the country. Therefore, Iran’s government has asked an international court to be set up to identify these relics”.

Cultural Heritage News Agency, 17 May 2006: http://www.chn.ir/en/news/?section=2&id=6378 


China to mark first national cultural heritage day

"Chinese State Councilor Chen Zhili on Monday called for nationwide efforts to mark the first national Cultural Heritage Day. ... The meeting deliberated and approved an activity scheme for the first national cultural heritage day which falls on June 10.  The State Council in February designated the second Saturday of June as the national Cultural Heritage Day to boost public awareness of heritage protection."

Xinhua News, 8 May 2006: http://news3.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-05/08/content_4523643.htm 


Arson Guts UNESCO Asset

Sojangdae watchtower at Hwasong Fortress in Suwon City, Kyonggi Province, a historic relic from the late Choson Kingdom was destroyed by arson Monday.  The second floor of the belvedere was burned down in some 20 minutes after the fire broke out on Monday, despite efforts by some 40 firefighters and 10 fire tenders. It was the second arson of cultural assets in a week. The two incidents have triggered criticism over the government’s failure to have appropriate measures in place to prevent wooden cultural assets from being destroyed by fire.

The Korea Times, 1 May 2006: http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200605/kt2006050117262810230.htm