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What Afghanistan can learn from China in preserving cultural history

By Seddiq Hussainy

China is a multiethnic country with a history of 5,000 years. The Chinese history is a story of grandeur of the ancient civilization and culture, golden era of the Silk Road and the mystique of powerful dynasties.

China is amazingly enthusiastic about its history and attaches great importance to its archeological assets, representing the country’s ancient civilization. The country has a vast experience in protecting those ancient assets by preserving cultural heritage and invaluable archeological entities. It uses all means including cutting edge technology for safeguarding the history.

Afghanistan is considered as a cradle of civilization with a pre-Islamic history with ancient cities like Bacteria, Bamyan, Herat and Ghor. But the country has been embroiled in tragedy of war and conflict for years. This has unfortunately led to a cultural and historical melancholy. Many historical sites, monuments and archeological assets have been destroyed while many other historical relics have been stolen. And what is left of our heritage is sadly in a pathetic condition. This presents Afghanistan with the pressing task of rescuing and preserving the country’s cultural heritage that is in danger or facing decay.

Afghanistan can learn in large volumes from China’s ways and experiences in protecting its historical and cultural heritage.

About safeguarding the valuable cultural heritage, Afghanistan Times interviewed a government official in Xi’an city of China’s Western Shaanxi province. Secretary of Xi’an’s Yanta District Committee of the Communist Party of China Zhao Xiaolin reckoned that the first and foremost factor in preserving the historical heritage is the allocation of financial resources.

“And there are various means of attracting capital; through sponsorship of enterprises as well as government funds,” he mentioned.

Although Afghanistan has a rich cultural heritage with two of its cultural sites enlisted at UNESCO, rare attention has been paid and low budget earmarked to safeguarding and protecting them.

In the meantime, the CPC leader asked the Afghan media to help China in promoting its cultural and archeological heritages.

Another official who was present during the interview talked about impacts of archeological preservation on growth of tourism industry.

Chief Executive of the People’s Government of Tanta Zhao Lei said that Xi’an city is embracing the world with more vitality, using its rich history of 1,400 years with monumental heritage as a tourist attraction.

The interview was preceded by the opening ceremony of China in 70 years: Witness the growth of new Shaanxi, with the participation of 30 foreign journalists from Asia along the Belt and Road Initiative and Central America.

The two dignitaries spoke at the ceremony about the development of the Xi’an city over the past 70 years.

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