CHENGDU — China has put 6,819 villages under State-level protection, forming the world’s largest heritage protection group of agricultural civilizations, according to sources with an ongoing UNESCO conference held in Southwest China’s Sichuan province.
Officials of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said at the UNESCO International Conference on the Future of Historic Villages and Towns said China began to implement the traditional village protection project in 2012 to select the historical villages through five national surveys.
There are 533,000 administrative villages and 2.45 million natural villages in China, of which the listed traditional villages are the “pearls,” inheriting the historical memory of the Chinese nation, the Chinese wisdom in production and life, culture and art, according to the ministry.
The UNESCO conference was held from June 10 to 12 in the city of Meishan with discussions on the future of historic towns and villages. More than 180 people including ministry officials and mayors from participating countries, guests from international organizations, the World Bank, private institutions and universities attended the meeting.
With 333 State-level historic villages and 869 villages under provincial-level heritage protection, Sichuan has accumulated valuable experience in the protection of the heritage and the improvement of rural human settlements.
Chinese officials at the meeting vowed to improve public infrastructure and enforce heritage protection requirements of the historic villages.