Better protection for world heritage

CNC report from Yunnan
Added On June 24, 2013

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO has included China's Honghe Hani Rice Terraces in its World Heritage list.

Local authorities have vowed to better protect the site.


The inscription decision was made during the 37th session of the World Heritage Committee.

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH): SOK AN, Chairman, 37th session of World Heritage Committee
"So now I invite the committee member to adopt the decision, so the decision is adopted."

The decision brought the total number of World Heritage Sites in China to 45.

Tong Mingkang, deputy director of China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage, thanked the 21-member committee, and vowed to provide the best conservation for this site.

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH): TONG MINGKANG, State Administration of Cultural Heritage
Thank you mr chairman,Thank you all very much for inscribing the state on the list,we really appreciate the evaluations of advisory bodies and comments from the committee members.) With the iconic beauty of the landscape, we must acknowledge that the site is the product of the particular way of farming, together with the unique tradition and religion behind. It has been practiced by local people over a thousand years. In this site, the tangible heritage benefits from the intangible heritage. In fact, the resides very much in the attitude of local people toward the nature and the culture. By nominating this site, we want to say we value such an attitude of being a responsible community, which is much needed in our society."

The news has sent local people into immediate celebration.

Many hope the honor will help draw tourists and boost the local economy.

SOUNDBITE(CHINESE): LI SHIHUA, Vice governor, Yuanyang County
"Local residents will enjoy the boons brought by being listed. Growing numbers of tourists could help increase local residents' income."

Incomes apart, the local government has also promised to restrict commercial activity and protect the area's authenticity.

Villages in the area have signed agreements to prioritize protecting the environment and Hani culture.

Siting in Yuanyang County of Honghe Prefecture, in China's southwestern province of Yunnan, the UNESCO has called them an absolute wonder of farming civilization.

SOUNDBITE(CHINESE): LI SHIHUA, Vice governor, Yuanyang County
"There are more than 3,700 steps in the terraces. They've been developed by people of several ethnic groups, particularly the Hani people, over more than 1,300 years."

Forests on the hilltop help lock the water.

Terraced fields and villages on the hillsides make use of the water for growing rice and raising fish and livestock, which then provide food to residents.

SOUNDBITE(CHINESE): LI SHIHUA, Vice governor, Yuanyang County
"Water is the key of protecting the terraces."

The terraces also give birth to a unique ethnic cultural system, with traditional know-how and lifestyles.

Future protection will focus not only on ecological issues, but also on encouraging more young people to inherit Hani farming traditions, across the 13,190-hectare area.