China to enhance protection of martyrs' memorials

Beijing, July 4 (IANS) Chinese government has decided to enhance protection of its memorials, built in honour of its martyrs, from the threats of development projects and other unauthorised activities or uses.

On Thursday, the civil affairs ministry issued a series of mandatory measures according to which the memorials can be relocated only after their supervising governments approve the relocation and superior governments clear the plans, Xinhua reported.

Under a classification management system, each memorial will be put under the protection and supervision of a government at the state, provincial, city or county level.

"Previous regulations have lagged far behind what is required to protect the memorials and improvements are urgently needed to further regulate their protection and boost their educational functions," the ministry stated in a release.

China has 25,000 memorials and 4,151 martyr memorial protection units across the country. More than 1.4 million martyrs are buried in memorial cemeteries nationwide.

The rules stipulate that no unit or individual is allowed to occupy memorial land or facilities for construction projects or the storage of human remains.

Also, memorial protection units should research and compile documents related to martyrs, organise memorial activities and equip the memorials with high-quality guides.

The measures, released a day after authorities called for efforts to honour martyrs to promote their patriotic spirit, also set down criteria for declaring state-level memorials and spell out legal responsibilities for memorial protection units.

The ministry plans to grant about 10 billion yuan (over $1.60 billion) to complete the protection of 615,000 martyrs' graves and 12,000 small memorial facilities scattered throughout the nation by 2014.

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