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Statement by Chinese Ambassador ZHANG Yishan at the 58th Session of the General Assembly on "Follow-up to the United Nations Year of Cultural Heritage" (Item 42)

2003/10/31

        Mr. Chairman,

       As an important embodiment of civilization and historical witness of human development, cultural heritage has reflected the arduous process of mankind in transforming nature and developing themselves and demonstrated brilliant wisdom and hard word of mankind in creating and developing civilization. It constitutes an invaluable wealth left from our ancestors. The adequate preservation and utilization of cultural heritage are a shared responsibility of the peoples of the world. This plays a significant role in deepening mutual understanding among nations and increasing exchanges among different cultures and civilizations.  We are pleased to learn that Resolution 56/8 adopted at the 56th session of the GA declared the year 2002 as the United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage. This is a highly important and timely resolution and it is undoubtedly an enormous support and encouragement for the international community in preserving cultural heritage. We are pleased to note that member states have come a long way in their unremitting efforts to preserve the world's cultural and natural heritage.  We commend and appreciate the irreplaceable role played by UNESCO in this endeavor.  I would also like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude once again to the permanent mission of Egypt for taking the initiative two years ago.

      China supports the International Convention on the Preservation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage adopted recently by the 32nd session of UNESCO.  Intangible cultural heritage is just as much a reflection of a nation's pride in its history and cultural identity as tangible cultural heritage.  The acknowledgment and preservation of intangible cultural heritage are equally important tokens of the diversity of civilizations and social progress.  We appeal to the international community to take immediate actions, take stock of the existing intangible cultural heritage in all countries and regions, and make a list of all those projects designed to urgently salvage heritage with salient cultural features, so as to fill the gap in the preservation of intangible cultural heritage throughout the world.

       Mr. Chairman,

       China has always supported and actively participated in international cooperation in the preservation of the world's cultural and natural heritage.  Since China ratified the World Heritage Convention in 1985, we have achieved globally recognized results in our intensified efforts to raise our people's awareness of the importance of preserving cultural heritage.  29 of China's cultural and natural heritage sites have been incorporated into the World Heritage List.  In July next year, the 28th session of the World Cultural Heritage Conference will be held in Suzhou, a well-know beautiful city of China. A Chinese saying describes the beauty of Suzhou like this: "There is paradise in heaven, there is Suzhou on earth." It is most appropriate and beneficial for Suzhou to host such a conference. It will serve to reinforce the efforts of the international community to preserve world cultural heritage. The conference will also prepare a long-range plan for the preservation of world heritage in the 21st century.  The Chinese government stands ready to work with all sides to make the conference a success and make new contributions to the preservation of world heritage.

       Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  

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