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CPPCC Member Fan Di’an: Protection of Ancient Villages
is not about Creating Scenic Spots

Source: CPPCC website Date: 2015-03-23

According to a report written by Zhao Yingying on the CPPCC website on 12 March, “the protection of ancient villages has received more and more attention and a lot of the ancient towns are made very beautiful. But some unnecessary things done to those places have been counter productive. Even before one goes into an ancient village, one can find an advertisement board with the words “welcome to visit this village”, which is very bad view actually”. Fan Di’an, member of the CPPCC National Committee and President of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, in an interview with the reporter, gave harsh criticism against those practices that actually defeat the purpose of protection the ancient villages.  

In his opinion, the buildings in the villages have formed their own structure and landscape with rich culture in the long process of history. To artificially set up some sightseeing platforms or so-called cultural squares is actually damaging the original eco-structure. Why the ancient villages need to be protected? The most important reason is to keep the local people in the villages and let them grow there and carry forward the local culture instead of turning the villages into tourist attractions.

“To increase incomes, some village heads are eager to attract visitors, which is quite understandable. However, developing the villages in a way that make them all look alike and without long-term vision and planning will only deprive the villages of any uniqueness. The result may be loss of visitors and damage of the cultural ecology”. Fan Di’an said that it is a natural process for some famous places to become tourist attractions. If they do it well, naturally visitors will be attracted to those villages. But if all the protective measures are aimed at turning ancient cities, towns and villages into scenic spots, it will inevitable make all those places the same and the development of the homeland will be meaningless.

“People are attaching more and more importance to ancient villages, but at the same time they are damaging them at an accelerated pace”. Fan Di’an stressed that what is badly needed now is comprehensive management and protection plans issued by various departments, including departments for construction planning, cultural heritage protection and culture in order to avoid management loopholes because of the lack of a holistic approach.