The State Council is beefing up measures to safeguard the nation’s cultural heritage.
“Protection is the priority,” read a statement issued after an executive meeting on Feb 24.
Management and law enforcement are to be strengthened, and an integrated registry system and a State-level database for cultural heritage will be established.
The country will also step up training in cultural heritage, as well as relics protection and restoration, the statement said.
Severe measures will be taken to stop the theft and sabotage of cultural heritage, it said, emphasizing the prevention of “demolishing old sites and replacing them with new ones”.
“Punishment does not simply mean imposing fines,” said Liu Mingwei, who is in charge of law enforcement under the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. “A complete administrative penalty process is needed for each legal violation.
“When a major legal violation happens, leaders of the local government will be held accountable. That is a crucial step to improve awareness of cultural heritage protection.”
In addition, more museums will be given subsidies so they can open free to the public and exert a role in tourism.
Funding of cultural heritage protection was addressed, encouraging the development of creative industries and private museums.
Statistics from the State Administration of Cultural Heritage show that China had 4,510 registered museums at the end of 2014, 345 more than the previous year. Of those, 21.8 percent are private museums, 2.3 percent more than 2013.
Professionals welcomed the diverse approaches to the cultural heritage industry.
Song Xiangguang, a museology professor at Peking University, believes that the management of Chinese museums has much room to improve.
“For example, more delicately designed cultural products for museums, rather than simple tourist souvenirs, will create a link between the creative industry and cultural institutions and increase people’s consumption of culture,” Song said.
He added that the development of cultural heritage protection should rely more on different social sectors rather than being solely dependent on government aid.