Beijing strengthens shield for historic buildings

Beijing will widen the protection zone for its historic buildings to cover the entire city to better protect cultural relics, the city's legislature decided on Friday. A revised regulation will take effect on Monday.

Ye Bing, deputy director of the urban construction and environmental protection committee of the Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress, said a regulation on the protection of historic and cultural sites in Beijing was first put in place in 2005. The revised regulation, which was approved by the local legislature in January, aims to strengthen protections of local historic relics in the city.

The new regulation provides that the protection area for cultural sites will cover all the administrative area in Beijing, with particular focus on the old city area, especially historic streets, traditional alleys and ancient waterways, Ye said at a news conference on Friday.

"Meanwhile, the revision clarifies the responsibility that specific departments or individuals should shoulder for the protection of cultural sites and to designate a responsible person for protection," he said.

"For example, a local district government will be responsible for the protection of the ancient landscapes in Beijing's northwestern suburbs, and the person who owns the historic building may also take responsibility," said Ye, adding that what kind of protection responsibility each responsible person must take is made explicit in the new rules.

The newly revised regulation includes 77 articles in seven chapters and is designed to encourage public participation when being rolled out, legislators said.

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