On April 10th, Hu Changsheng, member of the Provincial Party Standing Committee and Secretary of the Municipal Party Committee, visited Kulangsu with the intention of evaluating the level of protection of world cultural heritage located on the island. As a result of his evaluation, he stressed that it is necessary to thoroughly implement the important instructions of General Secretary Gu Pingyu when it comes to preserving the cultural heritage of Kulangsu. He added that people of Kulangsu should develop a strong sense of responsibility for history, as well as future generations, carefully guarding the irreplaceable cultural heritage.
Sustainability Equals Better Protection
Stepping out of Kulangsu Piano Pier, there is an eye-catching red-brick building under the green trees — the former site of the British Consulate, and the current Kulangsu Historical and Cultural Exhibition Hall. Hu Changsheng visited this facility to learn more about the history and multiculturalism of Kulangsu as an international historical community.
Today on Kulangsu many historical buildings have new functions, being transformed into exhibition halls, museums, or themed bookstores and lodging. Hu Changsheng affirmed this approach, concluding that rational use grants better protection.
Hu Changsheng carefully examined the repair, protection, and utilization of many historical buildings such as the Bagua House, the old site of the Jude Women’s School, the former site of the Wanguo Club, as well as the former site of the Asia Fire Oil Company. He did express some concern regarding the renovation and utilization of the old school buildings located on the campus of Kulangsu Fu Da Craft Art Institute.
Hu Changsheng also visited the residents of Kulangsu in their homes to hear their thoughts and note any suggestions on improving the living environment of Kulangsu, while developing a cultural atmosphere in the community. He also met with Kulangsu’s famous poet Shu Ting and older residents of Kulangsu to discuss preserving historical and cultural heritage on the island.
Protecting World Cultural Heritage Means Protecting Our Roots and Souls
Hu Changsheng said that protecting the world cultural heritage means protecting our roots and souls. General Secretary Xi Jinping provided a fundamental strategy for the protection of Kulangsu cultural heritage in the form of instructions. This strategy advocates transforming good practices and experiences into scientific systems and specific codes of conduct, so that the managers, operators, visitors, and residents of Kulangsu can understand and recognize these norms, thus being able to respect them. We must actively learn from the advanced international concepts, as well as protect, manage, and adequately utilize the national treasure of Kulangsu. Hu Changsheng also concluded that Kulangsu is a historical international community, a real living community, and a cultural tourism center — all in one. Therefore, we must meet the requirements of protecting the world cultural treasures while fulfilling our international commitments; aim to preserve the original historical context, further expand our horizons, enhance our thinking, focus on strengthening the activation and utilization of cultural relics, as well as coordinate the overall protection of the island and the inheritance of cultural diversity.
Furthermore, Hu Changsheng emphasized that it is necessary to improve the long-term mechanism and build a cultural heritage protection system. It is of utmost importance to accelerate the revision of relevant laws and regulations such as the Kulangsu Cultural Heritage Protection Regulations, so that the protection, management, utilization, and inheritance of cultural heritage can be relied upon. The focus should also be on the rationalization of the management system, strengthening comprehensive law enforcement, improving the level of community governance, and organizing proper management of Kulangsu’s grass, trees, and bricks. It is necessary to strengthen team building, cultivate talents in different areas, unite social forces, and constantly explore and implement innovations in spheres of cultural inheritance, social governance, environmental protection, and tourism development. Only then will the popularity and reputation of Kulangsu be improved, so that more people could fall in love with the island and be actively involved in its preservation.
Hu Changsheng also pointed out that protecting cultural heritage does not only entail preserving material remains but also allowing the island’s culture to grow and presenting the history as vividly as possible. When it comes to the presentation of cultural and historical heritage, a very important task is to effectively map out and organize the island. We must adhere to the temperament and style of Kulangsu, so that the cultural elements such as piano, music, and fine arts are more prominent; fully optimize the use of idle space, activate and utilize core elements, and employ innovations in order to transform the heritage site into a stage for the re-emergence of history and culture. It is also necessary to encourage the development of creative products representing the cultural heritage so that visitors can take a piece of Kulangsu’s rich culture with them as unique reminders.
City officials Ye Chongeng, Huang Wenhui, Meng Hao, among others, participated in the survey.