Ex­perts’ Angkor Wat con­tri­bu­tions rec­og­nized

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By WANG KAIHAO wangkai­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

The Cam­bo­dian gov­ern­ment awarded hon­orary medals to three Chi­nese cul­tural her­itage con­ser­va­tors in Siem Reap on Tues­day for their out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the pro­tec­tion of Angkor Wat.

The three con­ser­va­tors from the Chi­nese Academy of Cul­tural Her­itage in Bei­jing — Xu Yan, Wang Yuan­lin and Gu Jun — were lead­ing ex­perts in the China-led ren­o­va­tion of Ta Keo, a 46,000 square me­ter tem­ple dat­ing back to the 10th cen­tury in Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Her­itage site in Siem Reap.

The ren­o­va­tion be­gan in 2010 and was com­pleted ear­lier this year.

The medals were be­stowed by Phoeurng Sack­ona, Cam­bo­dia’s min­is­ter of cul­ture and fine arts, dur­ing a two-day con­fer­ence of the In­ter­na­tional Co­or­di­nat­ing Com­mit­tee for the Safe­guard­ing and De­vel­op­ment of the His­toric Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor) that ended in Siem Reap on Wed­nes­day.

This year marks the 25th an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of the in­ter­na­tional frame­work to save the her­itage at Angkor Wat. When the site re­ceived World Her­itage sta­tus in 1992, it was la­beled “in dan­ger” by UNESCO due to years of ne­glect and the im­pact of war­fare.

More than 500 del­e­gates from coun­tries in­clud­ing China, France, Ja­pan, Ger­many, the United States and In­dia, and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions at­tended the con­fer­ence in Siem Reap to share their ex­pe­ri­ences of con­ser­va­tion work at the site.

In a speech on Tues­day, Hun Sen, Cam­bo­dia’s prime min­is­ter, told those in at­ten­dance that the in­ter­na­tional ef­fort had greatly im­proved the pro­tec­tion of her­itage, tourism and lo­cals’ liveli­hoods.

From 1998 to 2008, China ren­o­vated Chau Say Tevoda, a 1,600 sq m tem­ple in Angkor Wat, in the na­tion’s first pro­ject un­der the ICCAngkor frame­work.

“Chi­nese and Cam­bo­dian peo­ple have a long friend­ship,” said Hu Bing, deputy di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Cul­tural Her­itage Ad­min­is­tra­tion, at the con­fer­ence. “China will spare no ef­fort work­ing with coun­ter­parts from other coun­tries to con­trib­ute our strength to pro­tect­ing Angkor.”

China and Cam­bo­dia signed an agree­ment ear­lier this year to form a Sino-Cam­bo­dian joint work­ing group to lead the con­ser­va­tion of the ru­ins of the Royal Palace of Angkor Thom.

Pre­lim­i­nary ar­chae­o­log­i­cal re­search on the royal palace, which cov­ers 130,000 sq m, has been car­ried out by the Chi­nese Academy of Cul­tural Her­itage.

Aca­demic re­search and the design of fol­low-up dis­plays of the her­itage will also be part of the pro­ject.

“When China was tasked with restor­ing and study­ing one of the most im­por­tant her­itage sites in Angkor, it shows our past work has been well rec­og­nized,” Hu said. “In­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary re­search will be in­tro­duced to ex­plore ex­pe­ri­ences com­bin­ing pro­tec­tion of her­itage and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.”

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