Recently, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) issued a guidance to open cultural heritage buildings to the public, encouraging local governments, cultural heritage departments and organizations using or managing such buildings to better bring these buildings' cultural and social value into play, on the precondition of full protection. The SACH is clear that, no matter what their current conditions are, heritage buildings should be opened as much as possible.
The value of such buildings mainly lies in two aspects. First, they are of archaeological significance; second, they inherit and spread traditional culture and thus promote cultural transmission. If a heritage building is closed, only the first aspect is made use of.
In the past, due to insufficient preserving technologies and lack of funds, repairing work was seen as a major hassle, and thus opening the buildings to the public was difficult. Even famous heritage places like the Palace Museum in Beijing were plagued by such difficulties. Today, China has dramatically increased its input into cultural heritage protection, and archaeological protection technologies are improving. The time is ripe for heritage buildings to be opened up. Great achievements have already been made in the past years in opening up such buildings. Only open heritage buildings can fully display their social value, and to make them so is the best way for us to show our respect for such buildings.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in China Youth Daily on November 9)