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Zou Tongqian and Han Quan: A Preliminary Study on the Construction and Management of National Culture Parks
来源:中国文化和旅游产业研究院 日期:2021-06-02 浏览次数: 字号:[ ]

Source: China Academy of Culture and Tourism   Date: December 3, 2019

(December 3, 2019, Link:

On July 24, 2019, the ninth meeting of the Central Committee for Deepening Overall Reform reviewed and approved the “Plan on the Construction of National Culture Parks for the Great Wall, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, and the Long March”, thus officially kicking off the construction of various national culture parks with national power.

1. The positioning and construction of national culture parks

The national culture park is an important carrier for China to demonstrate excellent traditional culture and establish national cultural self-confidence. It is therefore necessary for China to legally define the value orientation of such parks, which is for the public good. Meanwhile, we should follow the principle of prioritizing protection and inheritance, and abstract and inherit the intellectual property of spiritual culture at state level. These efforts will help restore the historical and cultural memory of the Chinese nation, create a shared spiritual home for Chinese people and continue the charm of Chinese civilization which has lasted for several thousand years. On this basis, the Internet platform and new media technology can be used to carry out the "secondary development" of traditional culture and spirit to turn it into a symbolic Chinese cultural asset, and make the national culture park an important platform to inherit Chinese spirit and disseminate Chinese stories. With these methods, the soft power and international influence of Chinese culture will be enhanced to a large extent.

National culture park is a cultural ecological system which is continuous in time and space and which combines virtuality with reality. In the park’s construction and management, we should adhere to the principle of overall protection, unified management, and planning first, and appropriately develop cultural tourism and distinctive ecological industry on the basis of protecting the authenticity and integrity of the cultural ecosystem.

First of all, we should focus on the systematic integration of existing cultural heritage resources in national culture parks, formulate new classification standards and protection systems, restore the overall structure and historical features of linear heritage resources, and construct an overall heritage pattern centering on cultural resources. Secondly, we should pay great attention to the development of key historical areas and dig out historical information that can constitute the memory of the times to make it an important functional area for understanding national history, regaining past memories, and strengthening cultural self-confidence. Finally, on this basis, we can explore how to combine national cultural heritage with the sustainable development of the surrounding environment, so that the reuse of heritage resources can adapt to their original functional characteristics, promote the creative transformation and innovative development of Chinese excellent traditional culture, and build Chinese spirit, Chinese value, and Chinese power in a better way.

2. The management of national culture parks

Firstly, we should establish different management structures based on the overall management of the central government to improve the adaptability and effectiveness of relevant policies during their implementation. For the “wild” heritage that mostly appear in non-key zones where the gathering of people is not common, the government-led centralized governance model should be adopted. As a witness of China’s history, the Great Wall spans 404 counties (districts and cities) of China. However, most of its sections are tucked away in the wilds, for which reason it has been on the fringe of local heritage protection for many years. Therefore, the central government should organize a vertical management system and set up authoritative departments to conduct unified management and solve financial and technical problems. This model puts special emphasis on the protection of cultural heritage resources and the surrounding ecological environment by relying on the coerciveness of laws and regulations as well as the authority of national institutions, and the use of “rule of law” to promote "good governance". For the “living” heritage with a long history of human-land interaction and are mostly distributed in densely populated areas with high awareness of social co-governance and complex property rights relations, the model of social co-governance coordinated by the government should be adopted. As an important north-south water transportation channel of China, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is mainly distributed in regions with developed economy and long history and culture in the north and south of China, where community residents have a high sense of participation in protection. As a result, the central government should grasp the development trend of national culture parks from a macro level, delegate planning and business management powers to local governments and committees composed of stakeholders, and ensure the effectiveness of management through “government authority and social participation”. This model emphasizes the downward shift of the power center, the expression of the demands of stakeholders, the protection of cultural heritage resources and the professional and effective development of surrounding communities. In comparison, the economic development of the area covered by the national culture park for the Long March is relatively weak, the professional level of stakeholders is not high, and the willingness to participate in governance is not strong. Consequently, a balance should be struck between the first two management models to construct a targeted and flexible management mechanism.

Secondly, we should build a funding guarantee channel with government appropriations as the mainstay and social investment as a supplement, and implement the “one park, two systems” policy featuring a dual-track charging mechanism. At this stage, the non-profit funding structure is the basis for ensuring the attribute of national culture parks in terms of public welfare and the protection goals of the parks, but it is unsustainable to apply the funding operation model that relies solely on national financial appropriations and social donations. National culture parks boast a variety of cultural service functions such as inheritance and protection, patriotic education, scientific research practice, entertainment, and international exchanges. Among these functions, protection, education and scientific research are for the public good, while entertainment can be used as either a social welfare undertaking or a service industry that can enter the market. Therefore, the government should invest in heritage protection and restoration projects, people’s livelihood projects, infrastructure construction, scientific research investment, and international communications to ensure that the historical and cultural value of national culture parks are fully explored and protected, and that the essence of Chinese excellent traditional culture can be fully inherited and carried forward. Based on the guidance of national policy and financial investment, we can cooperate with enterprises through franchise business operations, introduce technology and creative elements to appropriately develop tourism, and promote the mutual complementation of public cultural construction and cultural industries. At the same time, a corresponding dual-track price mechanism should be implemented. Following the overall principle of public welfare, we should reduce the ticket price of key historical areas and let the market determine the price in areas with complex property rights and in such private areas as entertainment centers and man-made landscapes.

Thirdly, we should innovate the thinking in linear cultural heritage protection and build a collaborative governance mechanism that involve different boundaries. Having been stretched for thousands of years, Chinese civilization contains a wealth of linear cultural heritage, including the three national culture parks for the Great Wall, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and the Long March. Besides, the Ancient Tea Horse Road and the Silk Road have crossed the administrative boundaries and even the jurisdictional boundaries of China. However, in the current protection of historical and cultural heritage in China, only three levels are covered, namely individual cultural heritage, historical blocks and historical and cultural cities. What China lacks is a regional national heritage protection structure. Therefore, in the construction and management of national culture parks, we should break through the traditional thinking mode of element protection for individual historical and cultural heritage or clusters of such heritage, and protect the national cultural heritage and the surrounding environment as a cultural community. The Heritage Corridor strategy of America can provide us with a reference. It is a cross-regional heritage protection method under the national park system of America. For one thing, it establishes from the perspective of law “a third department”, namely the National Heritage Corridor Committee, to form a protection and management work method based on partnership. For another, it constantly improves the staff’s sense of social identity and resource protection through civic education to avoid the administrative division of the national culture park under the situation of fragmented administrative jurisdiction.

3. The functional zoning of national culture parks

With the rapid development of tourism, China’s cultural heritage has received protection to some extent, but it is also facing problems such as authenticity and integrity damage. The Great Wall is a physical monument that has witnessed the splendid history of the Chinese nation for more than 2,000 years, but it has been severely damaged, and only less than 2,500 kilometers are left. A typical example is the damage to the Great Wall at Badaling in Beijing through scribbling and engraving since the 1950s. Some scenic spots even destroy the original part of the Great Wall and build fake Great Wall with cement and cement prefabricated slabs on the remains instead to run small shops. These "modern landscapes" not only destroy the Great Wall, but also cause serious damage to the surrounding historical and cultural environment. Therefore, while protecting the cultural heritage and the surrounding environment as a cultural ecological system, we should divide the geographic zones within the national culture park in accordance with certain standards, and establish a hierarchical management system for the protection and utilization of different functional zones.

The first one is the nucleus which contains the most culturally representative cultural heritage resources that best reflect the origin of the country, including both well-preserved high-quality cultural heritage and those that are threatened or endangered. In the nucleus of culture, we should take strict resource protection measures, which focus on the functions of protection and restoration, and are supplemented by the functions including visit and education, and further divide the nucleus into first-level and second-level core areas based on the sensitivity of the cultural heritage resources. In the first-level core area, activities such as visits and facility construction are strictly forbidden to maintain the historicity and authenticity of such resources. Only necessary infrastructure can be built in the secondary core area, and visits and educational activities without interpretation can be provided to ensure the seriousness of the national cultural heritage.

The second one is the inviolate belt which is on the periphery of the core protected area and provides transition and separation for the core heritage resources in the cultural ecosystem. In this area, a certain degree of restrictions should be imposed on the types of land use and construction activities, and scientific research, education and tourism should be regarded as the main functions. On the premise of ensuring coordination with the historical and cultural landscapes, we can construct cultural service venues such as memorial halls, museums, and thematic popular science halls, and use high-tech experience device such as sound, light, VR, AR to explore the intersection of history and modernity, so that people can subtly feel the historical memory of the country in the interpretation and research of national culture parks, thus carrying forward the national culture.

The last one is the service zone located on the periphery of the national culture park, which covers concentrated service facilities for community residents and tourists and centers on entertainment and leisure. As the construction and management is relatively loose in this area, it still needs to take as the basis the display of the core cultural IP of the national park and conduct planning and construction with unified standards and signs. In addition, we can build an industry park with the characteristics of a national culture park in this area, integrate Chinese culture and national spirit into creative industry and cultural industry, and promote the development of upstream and downstream industrial chains and surrounding industrial belts.

The construction and management of China's national culture parks is not only a technical issue, but also involves the reform of the national culture heritage protection system. In this sense, it is necessary to legally specify the value orientation of such parks, which is for public good, and form a new idea of protecting the entire cultural ecosystem in a comprehensive way. While thinking big, we must start from details to explore a road to construct national culture parks with Chinese characteristics in practice.


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