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China Grand Canal seeks world heritage status

 

Grand Canal

The Grand Canal, the longest artificial waterway in the world, will bid for UNESCO World Heritage status, according to the cultural heritage bureau of east China's Jiangsu Province.

The bureau will aim for the canal to be entered on the World Heritage list in 2014. All the cultural heritage sites along the waterway will be inspected and assessed by UN experts by the end of June.

The Grand Canal, or the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, with a length of 1,794 kilo-meters and a history of more than 2,400 years, runs through eight provinces and municipalities and 35 cities.

It was once a major waterway linking Beijing and resource-rich Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province.

The Jiangsu section of the canal, which is still in use today, is 690 kilometers long.

The provincial government is promoting the protection and environmental enhancement of cultural relic sites along the canal.

Officials with the cultural heritage bureau of Jiangsu said preparation work for the bid was running smoothly but admitted there were problems with over-commercialization and a lack of protection and supervision at some cultural relic sites.

Officials said the standard for inclusion onto the World Heritage list has been raised during the past a few years. Local governments have to ensure conditions at every relic site is in order for the bid to be a success.