An inferno that destroyed the spire and a large portion of the wooden roof structure of the 12th-century Notre Dame Cathedral in Pa
ris on Monday reinforced a cautionary message to Chinese authorities about the need to better protect vulnerable heritage sites.
The National Cultural Heritage Administration held a staff meeting on Tuesday night at wh
ich officials discussed the Paris fire and six major fires that have taken place at Chinese cultural heritage sites this year.
“The fire at Notre Dame in Paris rang the warning bell for us,” Song Xi
nchao, deputy director of the administration, said in an interview on Tuesday.
“The safety of cultural heritage sites is a red line that can never be crossed. It’s a global issue,” he said.
The six fires were in Sichuan, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces, officials said.
On Jan 6, a hall at Yunyan Temple in Jiangyou, Sichuan province, burned down. On
Feb 2, a wooden family temple from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Nanchang, Jiangxi, was destroyed by fire.
when the late Qing Dynasty residence of Wu Lu, the province’s last zhuangyuan (top scorer on imperial examinations), was damaged.
Fire this year also destroyed a bridge dating from four centuries ago in Nanping, Fuji
an, a Qing Dynasty residence in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, and an office structure from the 1930s in Fuzhou, Jiangxi.
The operators of the sites hit by fire will be responsible for the dam
age, said the heritage administration. “Electrical faults and loose supervision over the use of fire
during renovation are the main reasons” for the damage, the administration’s statement said.
Though the fire at Notre Dame is under investigation, Frenc
h officials said they suspect its source might have been related to restoration work on the cathedral.
and to the world more widely,” said Macfarlane, the King’s College historian.
A woman identified only as Marie, who has lived in Paris for 20 years, said: “This is a monument b
uilding that belongs to the story of Paris, to the story of France. … Notre Dame is our story, our culture, our spirit.”
An experiment conducted by Chinese and US scientists on improving monkeys’ cognitive function has been
found to follow international animal rights standards, according to the Chinese research institute.
The study implanted 11 rhesus macaque monkeys with copies of the human MCP
H1 gene, which scientists believe is crucial for humans’ brain development and evolution.
The project is led by researchers from the Kunming Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Acade
my of Sciences, who are working with researchers from the University of North Carolina.
better short-term memory and faster reaction times compared with the control group, acco
rding findings published March 27 in the China-based journal National Science Review.
The study also found that transgenic monkeys’ brains took longer to develop, in a similar fashion to humans.
The experiment has divided the scientific community however, with a number of Western scientists criticizing it as uneth
ical, while some went as far to suggest, perhaps ironically, that it could lead to a Planet of the Apes-type scenario.
The Kunming Institute of Zoology told China Daily in a statement that the experiment was ethically approved in 2010.
In 2015 the animal rights committee of Kunming Biomed International, a research organiza
tion specializing in nonhuman primates, also declared the animals were being treated humanely in every
step of the experiment, in accordance with domestic and international regulations, the statement said.
by the smugglers, Sun said. Busts were made in several locations, which were not disclosed. The case is still under investigation.
Since early this year, 182 smuggling cases involving endangered species have been investigated, the administration said on Monday.
More than 500 tons of endangered animals and animal products were seized, 8.48 t
ons of which was ivory tusks or products made of ivory. In those cases, 171 suspects were detained.
The Chinese government suspended imports of ivory and all ivor
y products in 2015 and ended commercial processing and sale of ivory at the end of 2017.
The ban has had significant positive effects, with fewer people purchasing ivory, according to a report j
ointly released last year by the World Wildlife Fund and TRAFFIC, an NGO that tracks the global trade in wild animals.
“We will strengthen our anti-smuggling efforts, continuing to work with international organizations and depart
ments and allowing no tolerance of those illegal activities,” said Hu Wei, deputy director of the administration.