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Gulangyu island moves toward world heritage status

Hu Meidong and Wang Qingyun
Updated: Feb 4,2016 9:21 AM     China Daily

View of Gulangyu island in Xiamen, Fujian province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Gulangyu, a scenic island in Xiamen, Fujian province, is one step closer to making it onto the World Heritage List.

Known for its subtropical island scenery and architecture representing cultures of different countries, Gulangyu attracts more than 10 million tourists per year, said the managing committee of the Gulangyu Wanshishan Scenic Area.

The Secretariat of the National Commission of China for UNESCO has recommended the island as a world heritage candidate for 2017, as well as promoting Hoh Xil, a region in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and where a national natural reserve zone was established, as a natural heritage candidate.

There is hope for the two candidates to be included on the World Heritage List in 2017, said the Ministry of Education, which oversees the commission.

Xiamen’s efforts to apply for world cultural heritage status for the island started in November 2008, according to the government of Siming, the Xiamen district that administrates the island. The island entered the tentative world heritage list after its information was submitted to UNESCO in January 2013.

Lian Fang, a 33-year-old resident of Xiamen, said obtaining the status would allow more people to learn about Xiamen and would “bring limitless opportunities” to the city’s economy, tourist industry and culture.

On the other hand, she suggested that measures be taken to control the number of tourists to avoid overburdening the island’s environment and space.

Zheng Nanhui, 75, a retired middle school teacher who lives in Gulangyu, suggested the government formulate laws and regulations to help tourists, residents and businesses on the island discipline themselves in order to meet the “high requirement” for applying for world heritage status.

According to the Ministry of Education, China has 48 entries listed on the World Heritage List.