Beijing Document on the Conservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings in East Asia(2007)

Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, where cultural authorities have successfully implemented a system of visitor management. Photo: Courtesy of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China.

Preface:Beijing Document on the Conservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings in East Asia was adopted by the International Symposium on the Concepts and Practices of Conservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings in East Asia, Beijing, China, 24-28 May

As an ancient civilization, China enjoys a wealth of cultural heritage. The nation’s rapid economic growth and social progress in recent decades have presented both challenges and opportunities for the conservation of its heritage resources. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, cultural heritage conservation in China has experienced vibrant professional development, with new and better practices, greater theoretical work, and increasing exchange and cooperation with the international conservation community.

During this period, China has undertaken significant work in the conservation of large-scale archaeological sites and the building of archaeological parks, gaining helpful experience in handling the relationship between urban development and the protection of these sites. Conservation projects and the establishment of archaeological parks at Yin Xu in Anyang, Luoyang City of the Sui-Tang period in Luoyang, Jinsha in Chengdu, and Daming Palace in Xi’an represent new approaches for the protection, utilization, interpretation, and presentation of archaeological sites, incorporating the interests of stakeholders, tourism, and economic growth into conservation. These projects have led to the sustainable development of archaeological heritage and the preservation of cultural diversity, while aiding local communities and generating positive social and economic benefits.

This has also been a period when notable progress was made in the conservation and management of China’s World Heritage Sites. In 1985 China ratified the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. By the end of 2015, forty-eight sites in China had been inscribed on the World Heritage List (China has succeeded in World Heritage nomination for thirteen consecutive years since 2003). This success results from the development by the nation of an effective set of mechanisms for nominating, protecting, managing, monitoring, and researching World Heritage Sites. Significantly, awareness of heritage conservation has grown in China, thanks to the spread of World Heritage–related concepts, including outstanding universal value, authenticity, and integrity, as well as practices for protecting massive cultural resources, such as the Great Wall, the Silk Road, and the Grand Canal. Drawing upon these experiences, advanced methodologies and approaches have been applied not only to protect the nation’s World Heritage Sites but also to improve the protection of other sites in China.

Since the 1990s—and especially in the last fifteen years—China has been in an active phase of theory development about cultural heritage conservation. Along with a deeper understanding of the conservation concepts of authenticity, integrity, and appropriate utilization, there has been recognition of new types of cultural heritage, which in turn have enriched China’s theoretical foundation for conservation. The Notice on Strengthening the Conservation of Cultural Heritage, issued by the State Council of China in December 2005, defines guiding concepts, basic principles, overall objectives, and major measures. Beginning in 2006, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) has annually organized the Wuxi Forum on the Conservation of China’s Cultural Heritage, focusing on industrial heritage, vernacular buildings, twentieth-century heritage, cultural landscapes, cultural routes, heritage canals, sustainable development of World Heritage Sites, conservation and utilization of cultural heritage, and strengthening the legal system, among other topics.

A number of important international conferences have been convened in China, including the 28th Session of the World Heritage Committee; the 15th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium of ICOMOS; the 2nd International Conference on Heritage Conservation and Sustainable Development; the International Symposium on the Concepts and Practices of Conservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings in East Asia; the International Symposium on the Conservation of Painted Wood Architectural Surfaces in East Asia; and sessions of the ICOMOS Advisory Committee and Scientific Committee meetings. Out of these gatherings, a series of international documents have been adopted, such as the Suzhou Declaration on Enhancing Youth Education on World Heritage Protection; the Xi’an Declaration on the Conservation of the Setting of Heritage Structures, Sites and Areas; the Shaoxing Declaration on Heritage Conservation and Sustainable Development; the Beijing Document on the Protection and Restoration of Built Heritage in East Asia; and the Beijing Memorandum on the Conservation of Caihua [decorative painting on wood] in East Asia. These international conferences and documents have increased communication and exchange between China and colleagues abroad and have made significant contributions to the enrichment and development of conservation internationally.




The International Symposium on the Concepts and Practices of Conservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings in East Asia, Beijing, China, 24-28 May


  •  The Symposium recalled the concepts and principles expressed in the Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China (“China Principles”).
  •  The document serves the purpose of helping the conservation of those specific sites but also lay the ground for a regional cooperation to better define guiding principles of theory and practice for the conservation and management of other monuments and sites in East Asia. 3. It firstly establishes the basic principles for treatment, maintenance, repair, and reconstruction of painted surfaces on wooden structures in East Asia.




Intellectual Property

National People's Congress


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