World Heritage Preservation in China - CNTO
Home World Heritage

World Heritage Preservation in China

World Heritage Preservation in China


With changes taking place in social and economic conditions, a growing number of ancient ethnic traditions, cultures, customs, modes of living and environments are suffering from increasing serious threats of destruction. It is detrimental not only to unique and precious cultural heritage but also to the historical, social and psychology dignity of local nationalities. On November 6, 1972, the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its 17th session adopted the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. In 1976, UNESCO set up the World Heritage Committee, an inter-governmental cooperative body, under the Convention. The committee is responsible for including cultural and natural treasures of outstanding universal value on the World Heritage List.
World heritage is divided into three types: natural, cultural (including cultural sites) and the combination of natural and cultural heritage. All sites on the World Heritage List receive financial and technical aid. In the meantime, they become better known worldwide and are protected by pressure from the international community.
China ratified the Convention in 1985, becoming a contracting party, and became a member state of the World Heritage Committee on October 29, 1999. In 1986, China began to identify and nominate sites on its national territory to be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List. So far, the number of its sites on the List has reached 40.
Nomination and inclusion of natural and cultural properties on the World Heritage List is nonetheless the final goal of world heritage work. World Heritage conservation is a continuous process. Listing a site does little good if it subsequently falls into a state of disrepair or if a development project risks destroying the qualities that made the site suitable for World Heritage status in the first place. The final goal of highlighting those most valuable representatives and carriers of information and beauty throughout history and in our natural environment arouses mankind's attention to protect and preserve them for future generations.

Cultural Heritage

Groups of separate or connected buildings which, because of their architecture, their homogeneity or their place in the landscape, are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science

Groups of buildings:
Architectural works, works of monumental sculpture and painting, elements or structures of an archaeological nature, inscriptions, cave dwellings and combinations of features, which are of outstanding universal value from the point of view of history, art or science

Works of man or the combined works of nature and of man, and areas including archaeological sites which are of outstanding universal value from the historical, aesthetic, ethnological or anthropological points of view

Natural Heritage

Natural features consisting of physical and biological formations or groups of such formations, which are of outstanding universal value from an aesthetic or scientific point of view.

Geological and physiographical formations and precisely delineated areas which constitute the habitat of threatened species of animals and plants of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

Natural sites or precisely delineated natural areas of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation or natural beauty.


List of World Heritage Sites in China

Number Name Location Category Approved date
1 Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, including the Forbidden City and Mukden Palace Beijing,Shenyang Cultural 1987
2 Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian Beijing Cultural 1987
3 Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing Beijing Cultural 1998
4 Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing Beijing Cultural 1998
5 Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, including the Ming Dynasty Tombs and the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum Beijing,Heibei,Liaoning Cultural 2000
6 The Great Wall Beijing etc Cultural 1987
7 Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Shaanxi Cultural 1987
8 Mogao Caves Gansu Cultural 1987
9 Mount Taishan Shandong Cultural
10 Temple and Cemetery of Confucius, and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu Shandong Cultural 1994
11 Mount Huangshan Anhui Cultural
12 Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui - Xidi and Hongcun Anhui Cultural 2000
13 Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area Sichuan Natural 1992
14 Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area Sichuan Natural 1992
15 Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area Sichuan Cultural
16 Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System Sichuan Cultural 2000
17 Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries-Wolong, Mt. Siguniang and Jiajin Mountains Sichuan Natural 2006
18 Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area Hunan Natural 1992
19 Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains Hubei Cultural 1994
20 Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, including the Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka Tibet Cultural 1994
21 Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples in Chengde Hebei Cultural 1994
22 Lushan National Park Jiangxi Cultural 1996
23 Sanqingshan Jiangxi Natural 2008
24 Mount Wutai Shanxi Cultural 2009
25 Ancient City of Ping Yao Shanxi Cultural 1997
26 Yungang Grottoes Shanxi Cultural 2001
27 Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas Yunnan Natural 2003
28 South China Karst Yunnan,Guizhou,Chongqing Natural 2007
29 Old Town of Lijiang Yunnan Cultural 1997
30 Dazu Rock Carvings Chongqing Cultural 1999
31 Classical Gardens of Suzhou Jiangsu Cultural 1997
32 Mount Wuyi Fujian Cultural
33 Fujian Tulou Fujian Cultural 2008
34 Longmen Grottoes Henan Cultural 2000
35 Yin Xu Henan Cultural 2006
36 Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in The Centre of Heaven and Earth Henan Cultural 2010
37 Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom Jilin Cultural 2004
38 Historic Centre of Macau Macau Cultural 2005
39 Kaiping Diaolou and Villages Guangdong Cultural 2007
40 China Danxia Hunan,Guangdong,Fujian,
Natural 2010