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Zhanjiang vies for World Heritage listing

2015-February-11       Source: Chinadaily.com.cn

Zhanjiang, celebrated as the port of origin on the Maritime Silk Road during the Han Dynasty (202 BC to 220 AD), will apply for UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage status this year.

Porcelains unearthed in an ancient export porcelain kiln in Leizhou. [Photo from Nanfang Daily]

Zhanjiang, celebrated as the port of origin on the Maritime Silk Road during the Han Dynasty (202 BC to 220 AD), will apply for UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage status this year.

The port city intends to make the bid when China is now taking the initiatives to build the Silk Road Economic Belt from China via Central Asia and Russia to Europe, and revitalize the Maritime Silk Road through the Strait of Malacca to India, the Middle East and East Africa.

Zhanjiang, located at the southernmost tip of the Chinese mainland, enjoys geographical proximity to South and Southeast Asian countries. Merchant ships carrying Chinese silk, gold and other local products depart from here for overseas countries 2000 years ago.

The city, with total export-import volume to countries along the Maritime Silk Road exceeding 10 billion yuan ($1.59 biion), has been authorized to be the “strategically pivotal city on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road” by the National Development and Reform Commission, the economic decision-making body of the central government.

Two historical sites have been confirmed to be on the application list including the relics and ancient tombs in Erqiao Village dating back to the Han Dynasty and export porcelain kilns in Leizhou from the Song and Yuan dynasties (960 AD to 1378 AD).

The Guangdong provincial government has paid high attention to building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which is considered integral to the province’s efforts to form an all-dimensional opening scenario. “Zhanjiang will act proactively in building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, as it’s not only the port of departure on the ancient Maritime Silk Road, but also one of the first coastal cities opening up to the world in China, and the joint linking Guangdong with the ASEAN countries,” said Liu Xiaohua, Party secretary of Zhanjiang city.

The city has set up a leading group for UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage status application, led by Zhanjiang mayor Wang Zhongbing and vice mayor Liang Zhipeng. An elaborate application work plan has also been drawn up.

Zhanjiang is sparing no efforts to make itself a powerful maritime city. The 2014 China Ocean Economy Expo, jointly hosted by the State Oceanic Administration and the Guangdong Provincial Government, opened in Zhanjiang on December 3, 2014. The city will hold the expo annually in the future.

“Zhanjiang’s biggest advantage is the sea, its best resources is the port and its biggest opportunity is the major projects,” Wang Zhongbing said, “Zhanjiang’s breakthrough point to rise up as a latecomer is to develop maritime industries and expand maritime economy,” he added.

The Zhanjiang Port is the largest natural deep-water port in South China. The city has established five major port industries including the iron and steel, petrochemical industry, paper industry, logistics industry and tourism industry. Zhanjiang is strengthening cooperation with other cities in the Beibu Gulf Rim, and strives to establish itself as a portal city facing the ASEAN countries.

Editor: Olivia

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