Recently, some archaeology aficionados collected a number of stone carving debris in an ancient tomb from a Tang Dynasty (618-907) emperor in Xianyang City of Shaanxi Province and moved them to areas of the tomb which were under surveillance cameras.
Artifacts in ancient tombs cannot be moved randomly, since their historical information and value might be damaged, hindering historical inheritance. The action violated laws and regulations regarding artifact protection in China.
The incident underlined the need to protect the stone carving remains in the tomb in question. Relevant authorities should put the protection of important scattered artifacts on their agenda. Some experts suggest gathering the dispersed artifacts together for better protection and returning them to their original location when conditions are ripe.
Given the frequent outbreak of cases involving lack of management and theft of historical artifacts outside museums, it is also reasonable to involve the public in their protection.
Cultural heritage authorities may enlist history buffs to join or form non-governmental organizations for historical artifact protection.
The tomb stone carvings in Xianyang are precious historical legacies left by our ancestors and both local authorities and the public have the responsibility to protect them. The artifacts will only have lasting value with the efforts of one generation after another.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in China Youth Daily on May 15)