CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (9/14/2018 Fri.)


Podcast: Story in the Story (9/14/2018 Fri.)

People's Daily app

00:36, September 14, 2018


From the People’s Daily app.

This is Story in the Story.

A majority of respondents in a recent survey said they are aware of the significance of protecting cultural heritage and are willing to learn more about the issue.

Some 90.2 percent of 2,000 respondents in an online questionnaire were willing to learn more about cultural heritage preservation, according to the survey report published Tuesday by China Youth Daily.

The survey also mentioned about 83.4 percent of the respondents said they paid close attention to news about cultural heritage.

Concerning preservation problems, 68.2 percent of the respondents said more systematic measures should be adopted, while 74.8 percent believed people's awareness still needed to be broadened.

To combat this indifference on cultural heritage, China has adopted measures such as promoting free admission in public museums and building more heritage parks since 2008.

Tang Miao, a scholar from the department of archaeology at Jilin University, said that Chinese TV shows about cultural relics are now focusing on the stories behind the items as opposed to their economic value – which represents the public’s growing understanding about preservation.

Tang also said cultural heritage preservation is unsustainable without help from the public and noted the important work being done by the Chinese government and nongovernmental organizations to preserve cultural relics.

Today’s Story in the Story will look at how volunteers are repairing ancient houses in remote villages to promote the preservation of cultural heritage sites.


Visitors view the exhibits during an exhibition on daily articles of ancient China's Song (960-1279) and Ming (1368-1644) Dynasties in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province, Aug 15, 2018. (Photo: Xinhua)

French archaeologist Emilie Lagneau spent her first two weeks in China repairing an ancient house in a remote mountain village in Fujian Province.

She was one of 16 volunteers-three French and 13 Chinese-who arrived for a two-week architectural heritage preservation work camp in Jiulong village, Nanping, on July 16.

The volunteers carried tiles and logs up the mountain to rebuild a two-story house. Under the guidance of three local craftsmen, they built a rammed-Earth wall to replace a rotten wooden beam.

“I'm interested in the old way to build houses with wood and mud,” Lagneau said. “I wanted to have a trip in another country and to learn carpentry. Then I found this work camp online.”

The work camp, co-organized by Shanghai's Ruan Yisan Heritage Foundation and Rempart, a French association focused on protecting relics, has been raising public awareness of architectural heritage conservation since 2011.

For years, the work camp has invited Chinese and French volunteers to repair heritage sites in the two countries, such as temples, former celebrity residences, and city walls.

This year's camp was the first in Jiulong, where houses made of mud have been homes for more than 1,000 years.


A visitor takes photos of costumes of Miao ethnic group during an exhibition of Guizhou intangible cultural heritages in Guiyang, southwest China's Guizhou Province, Sept. 30, 2017. (Photo: Xinhua)

Ding Feng, secretary-general of Ruan Yisan, said the old houses showed the traditional residential architecture of northern Fujian.

“In recent years, young and middle-aged people have left the village to seek job opportunities, leaving about 90 percent of these old houses vacant and unprotected,” Ding said. “These houses will disappear in several years if not preserved.”

Zhan Zhenfen, who taught the volunteers how to make rammed-Earth walls, said the last time he did such work was in 1986.

“Villagers used to build these houses on their own,” Zhan said. “Now, people under 50 don't know the techniques.”

In the 1980s, villagers began to move into brick or concrete houses with modern facilities, leaving many old houses abandoned.

More than 120 traditional houses still stand in Jiulong-two of them built 400 years ago, and another seven dating back 200 to 300 years.

Liu Chunlan, a volunteer who led the team in Jiulong, said the work also carries significance for local residents.

“Villagers used to think their hometown was a place left behind by modern development, but our arrival and labor can provide them with an outside perspective and let them see the value of the traditional architecture in their hometown,” Liu said.

After the work in Jiulong was completed, Lagneau said she was headed to Shanxi Province to help repair a historical hall.

Lagneau said she was looking forward to learning even more about traditional Chinese architecture at the next work site.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Raymond Mendoza and Lance Crayon. Music by: Text from Xinhua, China Daily, and People’s Daily.)

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