China's 1,800 kilometer Beijing-hangzhou Grand
Canal, the longest and oldest artificial waterway in the world, has long been a source of national pride symbolizing the fine architectural achievement and cultural inclusiveness of China's ancient civilizations. Chinese President Xi Jinping gave instructions in February and June 2017 to protect and use the cultural and historical resources of the Grand Canal, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014. Beijing's local government recently released a plan to renovate historical relics on the river banks, improve the water quality and beautify the surrounding landscape. The northern part of the canal will be open for traffic in 2020 and a comprehensive protection plan is expected to be released soon.