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People’s Daily carried an article about Shaoxing Mode of protecting the ancient city
Where black slates are on the way, you can hear the echo of long history in the alleyway. On both sides are white walls, black tiles, and stone gateways, witnessing the great changes. Flags in yellow color or orange color are flying all the alleyway. Daily living scenes are revealing the charms of South Yangtze River Delta. The historic street Cangqiao Straight Street includes threes parts, namely, waterway, folk house, and road, with the length of 1.5 kilometers. The majority of the folk houses were built in latter Qing Dynasty and early time of the Republic of China, and 858 households are living near the water.
 
Wang Meijuan, who is living in No.2 Cangqiao Straight Street, pointed her own washing room with smile, “We throw away closestools long time ago, the government rebuilt our houses into so good which we cannot expect even in dream.”
 
At the street mouth, there is a marble stele with the inscriptions of Excellent Award of UNESCO Asia Pacific Heritage Protection, and Cangqiao Straight Street Historic Block, Shaoxing Municipality, Zhejiang Province, People's Republic of China.
 
Cultural pursuit of protecting the ancient city
 
Shaoxing is one of the first batch of National Famous Historical and Cultural Cities approved by the State Council. Started building in 490 B.C., the site of Shaoxing City has not been changed for nearly 2500 years. Literature memories and physical memories of past dynasties are like stars in the sky, which are hard to numerate.
 
With the development of times, the ancient city was increasingly confused when facing the contradiction of protecting the ancient city and pushing urban modernization, and facing the contradiction of protecting the ancient city’s style and features and improving citizens’ living environment.
 
Wang Yongchang, Party Secretary of Shaoxing, is a doctor of philosophy, and good at understanding issues from the perspectives of macro and historic development rules. He said, “Protecting and building the ancient city Shaoxing with 8.32 square kilometers well is not only the inherent requirement of passing on historical and cultural heritages, but also the choice of times of pushing future urban development. The composition of modern city has gradually transferred into a diversified cultural form. The service industry with tourism as its core and burgeoning culture industry are gaining more and more important roles in urban economic development. Shaoxing’s historical culture on the ancient city is not a burden but a treasure, protecting the ancient city is not setting up obstacles of modernization but an important opportunity of promoting economic development.”
 
According to Shaoxing’s Layout on Protecting Famous Historical and Cultural City approved by Zhejiang Provincial Government in December, 2001, five blocks of Yuezi Town, Luxun’s Native Place, Bazi Bridge, Xixiao River, and Calligraphy Sage’s Native Place were set and two historical blocks of Stone Doorsill and Xinhe Lane in old downtown area with total acreage of nearly 2 million square meters. Meanwhile, the overall framework of nod, line and face protection, integrating the ancient city’s pattern and protecting traditional style and features, and protection ways of rebuilding the old like the old and coordinating style and features were set.
 
The management office on famous historical and cultural protection was founded in Shaoxing. In accordance with the layout, the management office signed rebuilding and protecting agreement on folk house with each tenement, investigated and dealed illegal buildings, regulated storefront advertising, and rationally integrated the management with laws, regulations, good-fellowship, and community.
 
Modus operandis of protecting the ancient city
 
The reporter was appreciating the scenes of social life during the youth age of Luxun through visiting Luxun’s Former Residence, Three Flavor Study, and Xianheng Drinkery. With total investment of over 1 billion yuan, the historic block of Luxun’s Native Place was expanded from the former residence to native place, with the protection acreage enlarging form 14 hectares to 52 hectares. The whole block is simple and profound, which is a classic work of cultural relic’s protection and utilization.
 
Ji Zhenghai, Director of the Construction Bureau of Shaoxing, said, “We adhere to the four measures in the protection of historic block, namely, original protection, former resumption, rebuilding according to its base, and innovation according to its skeleton. All these measures are honored as Shaoxing Mode.” 
 
Wang Yongchang summarized the basic measures of Shaoxing Mode
 
As for the key points of protecting the ancient city, we paid great importance to the four aspects of giving priority to historic cultural relic, historic block, style and features of the ancient city, and invisible culture, and lived up to the integration of paying importance to protection, reasonable reservation, local rebuilding, and general improvement. As for the ways of protecting the ancient city, we paid great importance to the unification of historical authenticity, scene integrality, living continuing, and amalgamation of human culture and nature.
  
Protecting the ancient city is a systematic project. We must have flexible system and mechanism as its guarantee to constantly increase the input capacity and building capacity of protecting the ancient city. In the process of protecting the ancient city of Shaoxing, a multiple investment mechanism of the government leading, citizens participating, enterprises financing, and banks providing loans was established. The government only invested 50 million yuan in the renovation tproject of moat with total investment of 1.2 billion yuan, and took the measures of citizens’ donation, enterprises financing, and revitalized land deposit along the river to get fund. In the rebuilding of private houses of the historic block, the government and residents respectively shouldered 55 percent and 45 percent fees.
 
Till now, Shaoxing has accumulatively invest more than 13 billion yuan into the protection of the ancient city.
 
Poetry life of protecting the ancient city
 
“Three mountains, ten thousands houses, and tortuous alleys, hundreds bridges, thousands streets, and vertical and horizontal waters.” The scene of Shaoxing described in ancient poetry, which is still living today, the streets along with the waters, the waters along with the bridges, and the clear water is flowing for long.  
 
A senior citizen Chen Weiyu, who is 82 years old, said, “As a native-born Shaoxing fellow, I witnessed the changes happened in the city with my own eyes. The moat is so broad and long, inside and outside the city is all water, the both sides of rivers have become landscape belts. I have a few friends living near the water, where clear flow is on downstairs, and the garden is on the side.”
 
In Shaoxing’s old downtown area, there are three mountains, Fushan, Tashan, and Jishan, which are lushly keeping their former scenes. Feiyi Tower, Yingtian Tower, and Wenbi Tower had been respectively rebuilt and renovated. The city is in the mountain, while there have mountains in the city, and the watercraft city boasts doughty physique.
 
Wandering around the old downtown area, when you raise your head and take a look, you can see the buildings along the streets are presenting the keynote colors of black, grey and white, meanwhile, the patterns, heights, materials, and decorations of the buildings are resuming traditional architecture style. 102 places of ancient buildings, ancient sites, ancient gardens, monuments of celebrities in old downtown area were chosen as key protection units of culture relic.  
 
Due to the over population density in old downtown area, arranged by the government, 1/5 residents had been relocated and evacuated, and most residents have a better living space.
 
Protecting the ancient city is also a major project with return. Shaoxing has gained fine cultural effect, economic effect and social effect. In recent years, Shaoxing won the tiles of China Model City of Environment Protection, National Hygiene City, and National Garden City.
 
Ruan Yishan, Director of the Research Center of National Famous Historical and Cultural Cities, and Commissioner of the Experts Committee of National Famous Historical and Cultural Cities’ Protection, said, “Shaoxing has accumulated its own experiences in the process of protection historical block, and fostered a batch of technical backbones, setting up a excellent example for nationwide cities. ” (Carried by the People’s Daily on May 29, 2006)


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