UN­ESCO set to ap­prove Ku­lang­su (Gu­langyu), Chi­na as World Cul­tur­al Her­itage Site

UN­ESCO rec­om­men­da­tion that Ku­lang­su (Gu­langyu) be­come a World Cul­tur­al Her­itage Site:

In the 2017 Eval­u­a­tions of Nom­i­na­tions of Cul­tur­al and Mixed Prop­er­ties, ICO­MOS re­port for the World Her­itage Com­mit­tee (41st or­di­nary ses­sion, Krakow, 2 — 12 Ju­ly 2017)

“Ku­lang­su: A his­toric in­ter­na­tion­al settlement”


Fu­jian Province


Brief de­scrip­tion

Ku­lang­su is a tiny is­land lo­cat­ed at the es­tu­ary of Chiu-lung Riv­er fac­ing the 600 me­tres dis­tant city of Xi­a­men across the Lu­jiang Strait. Based on ear­li­er tra­di­tion­al set­tle­ments, the in­ter­na­tion­al set­tle­ment, which for­mal­ly car­ries this ti­tle since 1903, in­te­grat­ed in­flu­ences of for­eign­ers liv­ing there is the late 19th cen­tu­ry in the vicin­i­ty of Yi­a­men in­ter­na­tion­al port and lat­er in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry of Chi­nese re­turn­ing from abroad. Its her­itage re­flects the com­pos­ite na­ture of a mod­ern set­tle­ment com­posed of 931 his­tor­i­cal build­ings of a va­ri­ety of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tion­al ar­chi­tec­tur­al styles, nat­ur­al scener­ies, a his­toric net­work of roads and his­toric gardens.

Cat­e­go­ry of property 

In terms of cat­e­gories of cul­tur­al prop­er­ty set out in Ar­ti­cle I of the 1972 World Her­itage Con­ven­tion, this is a site.

1 Ba­sic data 

In­clud­ed in the Ten­ta­tive List 

21 Jan­u­ary 2013

In­ter­na­tion­al As­sis­tance from the World Her­itage Fund for prepar­ing the Nomination 


Date re­ceived by the World Her­itage Centre 

29 Jan­u­ary 2016


This is a new nomination.


ICO­MOS con­sult­ed its In­ter­na­tion­al Sci­en­tif­ic Com­mit­tees on Shared Built Her­itage, His­toric Towns and Vil­lages, and sev­er­al in­de­pen­dent experts.

Tech­ni­cal Eval­u­a­tion Mission 

An ICO­MOS tech­ni­cal eval­u­a­tion mis­sion vis­it­ed the prop­er­ty from 16 to 21 Oc­to­ber 2016.

Ad­di­tion­al in­for­ma­tion re­ceived by ICOMOS 

A let­ter was sent by ICO­MOS to the State Par­ty on 29 Sep­tem­ber 2016 re­quest­ing fur­ther clar­i­fi­ca­tion and ad­di­tion­al in­for­ma­tion on dis­as­ter pre­pared­ness, the re­la­tion of the pro­posed Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Val­ue to the gar­dens and con­ser­va­tion mea­sures un­der­tak­en. A re­sponse was re­ceived from the State Par­ty on 23 No­vem­ber 2016.

On 20 De­cem­ber 2016, ICO­MOS sent an In­ter­im Re­port to the State Par­ty, which con­tained fur­ther re­quests for ad­di­tion­al in­for­ma­tion on the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the pro­posed Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Val­ue, pro­tec­tion of the prop­er­ty and its vis­i­tor man­age­ment. The State Par­ty re­spond­ed on 22 Feb­ru­ary 2017. All ad­di­tion­al in­for­ma­tion has been in­cor­po­rat­ed in­to the rel­e­vant sec­tions below.

Date of ICO­MOS ap­proval of this report 

10 March 2017

2 The property 


The nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty cov­ers the en­tire is­land of Ku­lang­su and its ad­ja­cent coastal wa­ters with an over­all size of 316.2 hectares. The bound­aries in the wa­ters are de­mar­cat­ed by the ex­ten­sion of the sur­round­ing coral reefs. The buffer zone, which cov­ers the ad­ja­cent Dayu and Mon­key is­lands and reach­es un­til the shore­line of Xi­a­men, in­cludes ad­di­tion­al 886 hectares.

The nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty is lo­cat­ed in sub-trop­i­cal ma­rine mon­soon cli­mate, which de­ter­mines its ever­green eco­log­i­cal land­scape. Two ridges ex­tend­ing across the is­land, one in north-south and the oth­er in east-west di­rec­tion, di­vide the area in­to dis­tinct ar­eas with lim­it­ed vi­su­al sight re­la­tions. The ur­ban spaces and high­est ar­chi­tec­tur­al den­si­ty is framed by these ridged to­wards the north east of the is­land fac­ing the city Xiamen.

The is­land hosts an ur­ban set­tle­ment of close to a thou­sand his­toric build­ings and is fur­ther char­ac­ter­ized by his­toric roads, nat­ur­al land­scape el­e­ments and his­toric gar­dens. The ar­chi­tec­tur­al struc­tures in­clude pri­vate res­i­dences, pub­lic build­ings of ad­min­is­tra­tive, ju­di­cial or diplo­mat­ic func­tion, com­mer­cial struc­tures, in­clud­ing for­mer of­fice and ware­house build­ings of for­eign firms and re­li­gious struc­tures of Bud­dhist, Taoist, Chris­t­ian and An­ces­tral com­mu­ni­ties. Ed­u­ca­tion­al, recre­ation­al and sports struc­tures com­plete the spec­trum of fa­cil­i­ties for the Ku­lang­su com­mu­ni­ty. The pri­vate res­i­dences are of­ten larg­er struc­tures in form of vil­las and man­sions but al­so in­clude the for­mer staff quar­ters of for­eign firms.

These ar­chi­tec­tur­al struc­tures rep­re­sent a va­ri­ety of ar­chi­tec­tur­al styles, most of which can be traced back to the in­ter­ac­tion with or im­port of for­eign ar­chi­tec­tur­al tra­di­tions. These styles are re­ferred to as tra­di­tion­al south­ern Fu­jian Style, Ve­ran­da Colo­nial Style, West­ern Clas­si­cal Re­vival Style, Mod­ernist Style and Art De­co, as well as their fu­sion in what is con­sid­ered unique of Ku­lang­su and called the Amoy De­co Style.


Ku­lang­su al­so in­te­grates four roads des­ig­nat­ed as of his­toric im­por­tance as well as the nat­ur­al land­scapes of sev­er­al hill and cliff sites. Such nat­ur­al fea­tures, in par­tic­u­lar reefs and rocks are as­so­ci­at­ed to nar­ra­tives of lo­cal his­to­ry and tra­di­tion­al cul­ture and, hence, bear spe­cial cul­tur­al con­no­ta­tions. Its pre­served and di­ver­si­fied his­toric gar­dens, both in­de­pen­dent and af­fil­i­at­ed with his­toric build­ings, like the ar­chi­tec­tur­al fea­tures re­flect com­bined lay­outs of both Chi­nese and West­ern styles demon­strat­ing the in­ter­ac­tion and in­te­gra­tion of dif­fer­ent cultures.

His­to­ry and development 

The his­to­ry of Ku­lang­su is part of the his­to­ry of Chi­nese mi­gra­tion to South­ern Asia and fur­ther abroad. Ear­ly res­i­dents, from the 14th cen­tu­ry CE and be­fore, sup­pos­ed­ly mi­grants from the north, es­tab­lished scat­tered tra­di­tion­al set­tle­ments on the is­land. They were moved to the main­land in 1387, and re­turned af­ter 1487. Three large set­tle­ments were formed dur­ing the Ming and Qing dy­nas­ties (15th-18th cen­turies), and were lo­cat­ed at: Neicuo’ao (be­ing the old­est of the three), Lu’erjiao and Yanzaijiao.

As ear­ly as the 18th cen­tu­ry, for­eign traders have been at­tract­ed to the is­land, a fact at­test­ed by a tomb of a Spaniard sea trad­er named Manuel (1729–1759). Af­ter the Opi­um War in the1840s, Ku­lang­su be­came ad­min­is­tra­tive­ly in­de­pen­dent from the British Set­tle­ment in Xi­a­men, which was then an open com­mer­cial port. How­ev­er, its de­vel­op­ment as a res­i­den­tial set­tle­ment re­mained de­pen­dent on Xi­a­men. It was de­ter­mined by the pres­ence of for­eign mis­sion­ar­ies, con­sular and diplo­mat­ic of­fi­cers and for­eign­ers work­ing in larg­er city vis­i­ble across the strait. These for­eign res­i­dents brought with them west­ern and South Asian ar­chi­tec­tur­al styles and con­cepts of mod­ern com­mu­ni­ty ameni­ties in­clud­ing schools, hos­pi­tals, roads and ceme­ter­ies, as well as their re­spec­tive re­li­gious and cul­tur­al lifestyles. Thus, Ku­lang­su be­came a nu­cle­us of the in­tro­duc­tion of in­ter­na­tion­al cul­ture to­wards Chi­na as well as a base for mod­ern west­ern cul­ture and tech­nol­o­gy that were to be dis­sem­i­nat­ed to the wider re­gion and in­land China.

The his­to­ry of the in­tro­duc­tion of mod­ern west­ern cul­ture can be di­vid­ed in two phas­es. The first be­gin­ning in the mid-19th cen­tu­ry was a ‘phase of col­li­sion and ex­change’, with rel­a­tive­ly dis­tinct res­i­den­tial ar­eas. The sec­ond, a phase of blend­ing and mat­u­ra­tion, sym­bol­i­cal­ly start­ed when the 1903 Land Reg­u­la­tions for the Set­tle­ment of Ku­lang­su took ef­fect. The start­ing of the Pa­cif­ic War in 1941 caused many for­eign­ers and over­seas Chi­nese to set­tle in Ku­lang­su, which ac­cel­er­at­ed the mat­u­ra­tion of the mul­ti-cul­tur­al blend­ing in the is­land. This re­sult­ed in the de­vel­op­ment of cul­ture, ed­u­ca­tion, in­dus­try, new ar­chi­tec­tur­al and dec­o­ra­tive styles with lo­cal fea­tures, mod­ern spaces, fa­cil­i­ties and in­fra­struc­ture such as the his­toric road sys­tem es­tab­lished in the first half of the 20th cen­tu­ry.

An­oth­er re­mark­able trait of this sec­ond pe­ri­od is the shift­ing of the dri­ving force be­hind con­struc­tion and de­vel­op­ment from for­eign­ers to re­turned over­seas Chi­nese. The lat­ter ren­o­vat­ed the tra­di­tion­al set­tle­ment and de­vel­oped new ones. At the same time, they ini­ti­at­ed the in­te­gra­tion of Chi­nese and for­eign res­i­den­tial ar­eas. Par­al­lel to this de­vel­op­ment, Ku­lang­su wit­nessed a boom in com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice fa­cil­i­ties and in­fra­struc­ture, which re­mains well ev­i­denced in tan­gi­ble her­itage. Fi­nal­ly, it is worth not­ing that the 20th cen­tu­ry al­so wit­nessed the in­tro­duc­tion of alien plant va­ri­eties that en­riched the botan­i­cal di­ver­si­ty of the is­land, and changed its pre­vi­ous­ly some­what des­o­late landscape.

3 Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for in­scrip­tion, in­tegri­ty and authenticity 

Com­par­a­tive analysis 

The State Par­ty presents a com­par­a­tive analy­sis of the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty with prop­er­ties in­scribed on the World Her­itage List and the UN­ESCO Ten­ta­tive Lists. It is fo­cused on Chi­nese His­toric Towns and oth­er Build­ing Com­plex­es of the 19th cen­tu­ry re­flect­ing ex­changes be­tween Chi­nese and West­ern cul­tures. This com­par­a­tive analy­sis is ac­cord­ing­ly fo­cused on a chrono­log­i­cal, re­gion­al ap­proach, com­par­ing sim­i­lar phe­nom­e­na with­in the same his­tor­i­cal pe­ri­od and broad­er ge­o­graph­ic lo­ca­tion, but al­so con­sid­ers the func­tion and na­ture of the site, and the na­ture of its for­eign cul­tur­al influence.

The com­par­a­tive analy­sis shows that most of Latin America’s prop­er­ties are from the 16th-18th cen­turies and were gen­er­al­ly de­vel­oped un­der the cul­tur­al in­flu­ence of one coun­try (Spain, or Por­tu­gal). Among Latin America’s World Her­itage prop­er­ties, on­ly “His­toric Quar­ter of the Sea­port City of Val­paraí­so “, Chile (2003, cri­te­ri­on (iii)), and the “Ur­ban His­toric Cen­tre of Cien­fue­gos”, Cu­ba, (2005, cri­te­ria (ii) and (iv)) date to the 19th cen­tu­ry. The lat­ter was main­ly a sug­ar and to­bac­co pro­duc­tion cen­tre and the for­mer a busi­ness and trade cen­tre. In terms of func­tion, both prop­er­ties, like most of the prop­er­ties in­scribed on the World Her­itage List in Latin Amer­i­ca, are main­ly trade, in­dus­try, and ad­min­is­tra­tive centres.

Com­par­i­son with cities from the Asia-Pa­cif­ic re­gion in­scribed on the World Her­itage List shows that al­so these towns dis­play dif­fer­ent fea­tures for var­i­ous rea­sons. Towns from the 16th -18th cen­turies like Macao (“His­toric Cen­tre of Macao”, Chi­na, 2005, cri­te­ria (ii), (iii), (iv) and (vi)) have an over­all plan­ning sys­tem based on west­ern ideas. Sin­ga­pore wit­nessed a ur­ban plan­ning trans­for­ma­tion, which aimed at spread­ing west­ern cul­ture, but its res­i­den­tial ar­eas were based on eth­nic separation.

Com­par­i­son with Malac­ca (“Mela­ka and George Town, His­toric Cities of the Straits of Mala­ca”, Malaysia, 2008, cri­te­ria (ii), (iii) and (iv)) shows that Kulangsu’s build­ing her­itage is more di­verse in styles and ty­pol­o­gy. Com­par­i­son with “Kaip­ing Diaolou and Vil­lages” (Chi­na, 2007, cri­te­ria (ii), (iii) and (iv)) shows how Kaip­ing il­lus­trates a pe­cu­liar ar­chi­tec­tur­al form un­der a spe­cial so­cial and his­toric con­text. Com­par­i­son with fif­teen oth­er Chi­nese cul­tur­al her­itages sites like­wise in­di­cates how the unique ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion and the autonomous


man­age­ment sys­tem with di­verse groups and cul­tures pro­duced a city fab­ric with­out clear di­vi­sions of set­tle­ment be­tween peo­ple from dif­fer­ent coun­tries. When com­pared with Shanghai’s Bund, a re­gion­al trade cen­tre de­vel­oped un­der the in­flu­ence of Eu­ro­pean and Amer­i­can cul­tures, or with Guangzhou, and Yan­tai Hill, the analy­sis shows that all these sites are mere­ly ar­chi­tec­tur­al en­sem­bles but not cities re­flect­ing mul­ti­cul­tur­al influences.

Among all cities, which could pro­vide such rep­re­sen­ta­tion, Ku­lang­su is shown to be unique in that it wit­nessed mu­tu­al ref­er­ence and a cul­tur­al fu­sion be­tween di­verse cul­tures that ma­te­ri­al­ized in an or­gan­ic ur­ban fab­ric, and a slow self-transformation.

The State Par­ty con­cludes that Ku­lang­su through the over­all com­par­i­son is con­firmed a unique ex­am­ple of mod­ern set­tle­ment with ex­cep­tion­al mul­ti-cul­tur­al char­ac­ter­is­tics, that have in­flu­enced its so­cial gov­er­nance, qual­i­ty of life and en­vi­ron­men­tal fea­tures. It al­so con­cludes that no oth­er cul­tur­al her­itage site of this his­tor­i­cal pe­ri­od from the Asia-Pa­cif­ic re­gion is com­pa­ra­ble in terms of these as­pects while re­tain­ing a prin­ci­pal­ly res­i­den­tial function.

ICO­MOS con­curs that Ku­lang­su set­tle­ment stands out in terms of its mul­ti-cul­tur­al in­flu­ences and their ev­i­dence in the ur­ban and ar­chi­tec­tur­al fab­ric. ICO­MOS there­fore con­sid­ers that the com­par­a­tive analy­sis has demon­strat­ed that the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty is a unique and rep­re­sen­ta­tive ex­am­ple of a mul­ti­cul­tur­al in­ter­na­tion­al set­tle­ment of the 19th and the 20th cen­turies based on its well-pre­served ar­chi­tec­tur­al, ur­ban and gar­den her­itage which re­tains a full range of pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties il­lus­trat­ing the rich blend­ing of mod­ern habi­tat con­cepts with a tra­di­tion­al lo­cal culture.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the com­par­a­tive analy­sis jus­ti­fies con­sid­er­a­tion of this prop­er­ty for the World Her­itage List.

Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Value 

The nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty is con­sid­ered by the State Par­ty to be of Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Val­ue as a cul­tur­al prop­er­ty for the fol­low­ing reasons:

• Ku­lang­su was an im­por­tant win­dow for Sino-for­eign ex­changes, ini­tial­ly since the open­ing of a com­mer­cial port at Xi­a­men in 1843, and lat­er the es­tab­lish­ment of the is­land as an in­ter­na­tion­al set­tle­ment in 1903. As such it stands out as a wit­ness to China’s mod­ern­iza­tion in the ear­ly process­es of globalisation.

• Un­der the spe­cial Sino-for­eign joint man­age­ment agree­ment, Ku­lang­su be­came an in­ter­na­tion­al set­tle­ment of out­stand­ing cul­tur­al di­ver­si­ty and re­mark­able mod­ern liv­ing qual­i­ty. Its de­vel­op­ment ap­pears as a unique demon­stra­tion em­body­ing mod­ern habi­tat con­cepts from the mid-19th to the mid-20th cen­tu­ry.

• The his­to­ry of the is­land is by it­self a tan­gi­ble ev­i­dence for the ex­ten­sive and ex­changes of di­verse Chi­nese and for­eign cul­tures in all as­pects of ma­te­r­i­al culture.

Its well pre­served his­tor­i­cal re­mains are an au­then­tic and in­te­gral record of its tor­tu­ous de­vel­op­ment process and vivid style changes, and a crys­tal­ized re­flec­tion of the his­to­ry of an era with in­tense reforms.

• Kulangsu’s de­vel­op­ment is said to clear­ly doc­u­ment the spread of for­eign cul­tures and the shap­ing of the ba­sic char­ac­ter­is­tics of ear­ly mod­ern­iza­tion by the south­ern Fu­jian peo­ple, who re­turned from their over­seas un­der­tak­ings. To­day, Ku­lang­su ex­em­pli­fies a his­tor­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence of mu­tu­al un­der­stand­ing and joint de­vel­op­ment among dif­fer­ent cul­tures and val­ues across the world.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty is in­deed an ex­cep­tion­al ex­am­ple of cul­tur­al ex­changes in South-East Asia, which pro­vides ref­er­ence to the cul­tur­al fu­sion be­tween Chi­nese and di­verse oth­er cul­tures. This ma­te­ri­al­ized in­ter­min­gling re­mains leg­i­ble in an or­gan­ic ur­ban fab­ric, which formed over decades through sow trans­for­ma­tion con­stant­ly in­te­grat­ing more di­verse cul­tur­al ref­er­ences. In doc­u­men­ta­tion of this, Kulangsu’s built her­itage il­lus­trates a large va­ri­ety of ar­chi­tec­tur­al styles in­clud­ing Tra­di­tion­al South­ern Fu­jian Style, Ve­ran­da Colo­nial Style, West­ern Clas­si­cal Re­vival Style, Mod­ern Style and Art De­co. Most ex­cep­tion­al how­ev­er is the fu­sion of these styl­is­tic in­flu­ences in­to a gen­uine­ly new ar­chi­tec­tur­al move­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tive of South East Asia, called the Amoy De­co Style. Ku­lang­su is es­tab­lished as the ori­gin and best rep­re­sen­ta­tion of this style and hence il­lus­trates po­ten­tial for Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Value.

In­tegri­ty and authenticity 


The in­tegri­ty of the his­toric land­scape has been main­tained, pri­mar­i­ly as re­sult of con­sis­tent con­ser­va­tion of his­toric ar­chi­tec­tur­al struc­tures and ef­fec­tive de­vel­op­ment con­trols re­gard­ing height, vol­ume and form of new build­ings. The his­toric re­la­tion­ship of built up and green spaces al­so con­tributes to the over­all land­scape in­tegri­ty which in­cludes the pre­served nat­ur­al scener­ies of cliffs and rocks and the his­toric gar­dens, both af­fil­i­at­ed court­yard and in­de­pen­dent pri­vate gardens.

The com­plete­ness of the prop­er­ty is demon­strat­ed in the de­lim­i­ta­tion of the en­tire is­land in­clud­ing its sur­round­ing coastal wa­ter un­til the edge of the reef. By means of this bound­ary des­ig­na­tion, the is­land is not on­ly in­clud­ed based on the ar­chi­tec­tur­al struc­tures which doc­u­ment the Amoy De­co Style but al­so in re­la­tion to its eco­log­i­cal and ge­o­log­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics, which un­der­pins that the built struc­tures and the nat­ur­al set­ting of the is­land form one har­mo­nious whole. The ear­ly recog­ni­tion of this har­mo­ny has al­so pre­vent­ed ex­ten­sive de­vel­op­ment in wa­ters sur­round­ing the is­land, which can be wit­ness­es on oth­er is­lands or the near­by main­land. Es­sen­tial for the recog­ni­tion of the val­ue of the is­land is that it was nev­er con­nect­ed to Xi­a­men via traf­fic in­fra­struc­ture and re­mains sole­ly ac­ces­si­ble by fer­ry. To­day, this re­stric­tion constitutes


an es­sen­tial el­e­ment of vis­i­tor man­age­ment process­es en­sur­ing the con­tin­ued in­tact­ness of the island.

Tourism pres­sures are in­deed a con­cern that could af­fect the in­tegri­ty of the is­land and hence re­quire strict con­trols. In its ad­di­tion­al in­for­ma­tion sub­mit­ted in Feb­ru­ary 2017 at the re­quest of ICO­MOS, the State Par­ty spec­i­fied that the max­i­mum num­ber of vis­i­tors per day would amount to 15,000 while mea­sures to­wards a bet­ter dis­tri­b­u­tion of these on the is­land were be­ing de­vel­oped. ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that ef­fec­tive tourism man­age­ment is key to the fu­ture in­tegri­ty of the property.

Last­ly, ty­phoons rep­re­sent a se­ri­ous threat, as demon­strat­ed by the Sep­tem­ber 2016 ty­phoon, which has dam­aged sev­er­al his­toric build­ings. Ad­e­quate risk pre­pared­ness and dis­as­ter re­sponse strate­gies are there­fore equal­ly essential.


Ku­lang­su is­land has re­tained its au­then­tic­i­ty in a num­ber of qual­i­fy­ing con­di­tions, in­clud­ing form and de­sign, lo­ca­tion and set­ting and in many el­e­ments of the is­land ma­te­r­i­al and sub­stance and – to a low­er ex­tent – use and func­tion. As re­gards the in­for­ma­tion source of form and de­sign, both the ur­ban set­tle­ment pat­terns as well as the ar­chi­tec­tur­al struc­tures have re­tain their char­ac­ter­is­tic lay­out and styl­is­tic fea­tures. The lat­ter re­main cred­i­ble rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the var­i­ous ar­chi­tec­tur­al styles the is­land unites.

Ku­lang­su fur­ther re­tains its orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion and nat­ur­al land­scape set­ting and has pre­served the at­mos­pher­ic qual­i­ties of an ide­al res­i­den­tial set­tle­ment with a wide range of pub­lic ser­vices, which con­tin­ue to serve their orig­i­nal func­tion. The ur­ban struc­tures re­tain pro­tect­ed by the orig­i­nal le­gal con­text, which was cre­at­ed for the es­tab­lish­ment of the in­ter­na­tion­al set­tle­ment in 1902 and re­mains valid un­til present, con­tribut­ing to the con­ti­nu­ity of the ideas of the set­tle­ment as well as its ear­ly de­sign principles.

The var­i­ous spa­tial con­texts of the is­land, both nat­ur­al and built-up re­tain their orig­i­nal links and re­la­tions in­clud­ing road con­nec­tions and sight re­la­tions. The con­tin­u­a­tion of these en­sures that the per­cep­tion of Ku­lang­su to­day con­veys a cred­i­ble rep­re­sen­ta­tion of what a vis­i­tor would have en­coun­tered at the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tu­ry. Strict de­vel­op­ment con­trols en­sure the pro­tec­tion of these es­sen­tial in­ter­link­ages and spa­tial relations.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the con­di­tions of in­tegri­ty and au­then­tic­i­ty have been met.

Cri­te­ria un­der which in­scrip­tion is proposed 

The prop­er­ty is nom­i­nat­ed on the ba­sis of cul­tur­al cri­te­ria (ii), (iii) and (iv).

Cri­te­ri­on (ii): ex­hib­it an im­por­tant in­ter­change of hu­man val­ues, over a span of time or with­in a cul­tur­al area of the world, on de­vel­op­ments in ar­chi­tec­ture or tech­nol­o­gy, mon­u­men­tal arts, town-plan­ning or land­scape design; 

This cri­te­ri­on is jus­ti­fied by the State Par­ty on the grounds that the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty presents an out­stand­ing in­ter­na­tion­al cul­tur­al ex­change win­dow with unique char­ac­ter­is­tics in East and South­east Asia from the mid-19th cen­tu­ry to mid-20th cen­tu­ry, which ex­hibits many ar­chi­tec­tur­al styles in­clud­ing Tra­di­tion­al South­ern Fu­jian Style, Ve­ran­da Colo­nial Style, West­ern Clas­si­cal Re­vival Style, Mod­ernist Style and Art De­co, as well as their fu­sion in the unique Amoy De­co Style. Its di­ver­si­fied his­toric gar­dens, both in­de­pen­dent and af­fil­i­at­ed, re­flect com­bined lay­outs and fea­tures of both Chi­nese and West­ern styles demon­strat­ing the in­ter­ac­tion and in­te­gra­tion of dif­fer­ent cultures.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that Ku­lang­su is­land ex­hibits in its ar­chi­tec­tur­al fea­tures and styles the in­ter­change of Chi­nese, South East Asian and Eu­ro­pean ar­chi­tec­tur­al and cul­tur­al val­ues and tra­di­tions pro­duced in this va­ri­ety by for­eign res­i­dents or re­turned over­seas Chi­nese who set­tled on the is­land. The set­tle­ment cre­at­ed did not on­ly mir­ror the var­i­ous in­flu­ences set­tlers brought with them from their places of ori­gin or pre­vi­ous res­i­dence but it syn­the­sized a new hy­brid style – the so-called Amoy De­co Style – which de­vel­oped in Ku­lang­su and ex­ert­ed in­flu­ences over a far wider re­gion in South-east Asian coastal ar­eas and beyond.

ICO­MOS there­fore con­sid­ers that the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty ex­hibits the ex­ten­sive and in-depth ex­changes be­tween the tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese cul­ture and in par­tic­u­lar al­so lo­cal ver­nac­u­lar tra­di­tions and West­ern styles and tech­nolo­gies. The set­tle­ment il­lus­trates the en­coun­ters, in­ter­ac­tions and fu­sion of di­verse val­ues dur­ing an ear­ly glob­al­iza­tion stage in East Asia and South-east Asia coastal areas.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that this cri­te­ri­on has been justified.

Cri­te­ri­on (iii): bear a unique or at least ex­cep­tion­al tes­ti­mo­ny to a cul­tur­al tra­di­tion or to a civ­i­liza­tion which is liv­ing or which has disappeared; 

This cri­te­ri­on is jus­ti­fied by the State Par­ty on the grounds that the de­vel­op­ment of the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty is a tes­ti­mo­ny to China’s join­ing the ear­ly waves of glob­al­iza­tion, and ‘ev­i­dence of the pi­o­neer­ing and in­clu­sive mi­gra­tion cul­ture of south­ern Fu­jian’. This south Fu­jian mi­gra­tion cul­ture demon­strat­ed great open­ness to het­ero­ge­neous cul­tures while keep­ing its roots in an­cient Chi­nese cul­ture. This has been ful­ly ex­hib­it­ed in the mod­ern re­forms at mul­ti­ple as­pects, such as the com­mu­ni­ty gov­er­nance, pub­lic fa­cil­i­ty con­struc­tion, eco­nom­ic ac­tiv­i­ties and cul­tur­al in­no­va­tions that were boost­ed by the re­turned over­seas Chi­nese in the mid-20th cen­tu­ry.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion is not in line with the un­der­stand­ing of cul­tur­al tra­di­tion or civ­i­liza­tion usu­al­ly ap­plied in the demon­stra­tion of cri­te­ri­on (iii). To un­der­stand Ku­lang­su as the epit­o­me of China’s mod­ern­iza­tion process­es is dif­fi­cult as the set­tle­ment seems far too spe­cif­ic in its in­ter­cul­tur­al de­vel­op­ment and


lo­cal set­ting to be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of mod­ern re­forms in the larg­er South-East Asian con­text. ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty can­not be said an out­stand­ing ex­am­ple rep­re­sen­ta­tive of China’s mod­ern­iza­tion and that the Fu­jian mi­gra­tion does not sug­gest to be con­sid­ered a cul­tur­al tra­di­tion, which could be con­sid­ered out­stand­ing at a wider re­gion­al or even glob­al scale.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that this cri­te­ri­on has not been justified.

Cri­te­ri­on (iv): be an out­stand­ing ex­am­ple of a type of build­ing, ar­chi­tec­tur­al or tech­no­log­i­cal en­sem­ble or land­scape which il­lus­trates (a) sig­nif­i­cant stage(s) in hu­man history; 

This cri­te­ri­on is jus­ti­fied by the State Par­ty on the grounds that the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty is ‘a unique ex­am­ple of an in­ter­na­tion­al set­tle­ment with high liv­ing qual­i­ty and ini­tial mod­ern­iza­tion char­ac­ter­is­tics in East and South­east Asia in mod­ern times. It is said to dis­play, with­in a small is­land, a com­plete­ly func­tion­al or­gan­ic ur­ban struc­ture, which boasts fash­ion­able build­ings and gar­dens of var­i­ous styles, and in­tro­duced ‘the most ad­vanced pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties’ at that time. Fi­nal­ly, it is a well pre­served and in­te­grat­ed his­tor­i­cal is­land land­scape, pre­sent­ing the lead­ing form of moder­ni­ty at that mo­ment, and the mod­ern con­cept of habi­tat re­sult­ing from the syn­cretism of Chi­nese and for­eign cultures.

In its in­ter­im re­port sent in De­cem­ber 2016, ICO­MOS re­quest­ed the State Par­ty to aug­ment the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for cri­te­ri­on (iv) to demon­strate its va­lid­i­ty. In its re­sponse re­ceived in Feb­ru­ary 2017, the State Par­ty in­di­cat­ed that Ku­lang­su re­flect­ed a spe­cif­ic re­la­tion­ship be­tween ur­ban struc­ture and nat­ur­al en­vi­ron­ment dur­ing each phase of its his­toric de­vel­op­ment. It is men­tioned that for ex­am­ple dur­ing its ini­tial de­vel­op­ment un­der the Ming Dy­nasty, the cross­ing ridges the is­land were viewed as the “gath­er­ing of fives drag­ons” and three tra­di­tion­al vil­lages were lo­cat­ed in har­mo­ny with the tra­di­tion­al Feng­Shui con­cept, while af­ter, lat­er for­eign­ers com­pared these ridges and tow­er­ing rocks with a galleon, and built their set­tle­ments on the top of the hills or the slopes.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that this jus­ti­fi­ca­tion high­lights that Ku­lang­su brings to­geth­er a va­ri­ety of ty­po­log­i­cal ap­proach­es il­lus­trat­ing sig­nif­i­cant stages of his­to­ry on Ku­lang­su Is­land, but that none of these land­scape in­ter­pre­ta­tions could be said of Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Val­ue. How­ev­er, ICO­MOS con­sid­er that Ku­lang­su has the ca­pac­i­ty to jus­ti­fy cri­te­ri­on (iv) in re­la­tion to it be­ing the ori­gin and best rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Amoy De­co Style. Named af­ter Xiamen’s lo­cal Hokkien di­alect name Amoy, Amoy De­co Style refers to an ar­chi­tec­tur­al style and ty­pol­o­gy, which first oc­curred on the is­land fac­ing Xi­a­men, Ku­lang­su, and il­lus­trates the fu­sion of in­spi­ra­tions drawn from lo­cal build­ing tra­di­tions, ear­ly west­ern and in par­tic­u­lar mod­ernist in­flu­ences as well as the south­ern Fu­jian Mi­grant cul­ture. Based on these the Amoy De­co Style shows a trans­for­ma­tion of tra­di­tion­al build­ing ty­pol­o­gy to­wards new forms, which were lat­er ref­er­enced through­out South-East Asia and be­came pop­u­lar in the wider re­gion. ICO­MOS there­fore con­sid­ers that Ku­lang­su is an out­stand­ing ex­am­ple of Amoy De­co ar­chi­tec­ture, which re­flects the mo­ment of tran­si­tion from tra­di­tion­al lo­cal to­wards a mod­ernist and in­ter­na­tion­al ap­proach to ar­chi­tec­ture in South-East Asia.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that this cri­te­ri­on has been justified.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty meets cri­te­ri­on (ii), and (iv) and con­di­tions of au­then­tic­i­ty and in­tegri­ty, but it does not meet cri­te­ri­on (iii).

De­scrip­tion of the attributes 

Kulangsu’s at­trib­ut­es lie in the di­vi­sion of the is­land and es­tab­lish­ment of its set­tle­ment plan and ur­ban lay­outs in sub­se­quent phas­es guid­ed by the nat­ur­al topog­ra­phy as well as its dis­tinct ar­chi­tec­tur­al styles, which to­geth­er il­lus­trate the fu­sion of dif­fer­ent cul­tur­al in­flu­ences in the in­ter­na­tion­al set­tle­ment of the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry. In par­tic­u­lar, 931 his­toric ar­chi­tec­tur­al struc­tures, nat­ur­al scener­ies and his­toric gar­dens as well as a net­work of his­toric roads mark these features.

Spe­cif­ic em­pha­sis among these struc­tures should be giv­en to those which are ex­cep­tion­al rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the Amoy De­co Style. Promi­nent ex­am­ples of these many build­ings are the Hongn­ing Hos­pi­tal, the Yan­ping Com­plex, the for­mer wa­ter sup­ply fa­cil­i­ty, the build­ing of the for­mer Ku­lang­su Tele­phone Com­pa­ny, and the for­mer build­ing of Chi­na & South Sea Bank Limited.

4 Fac­tors af­fect­ing the property 

The State Par­ty in­di­cates that in re­cent years Ku­lang­su wit­nessed a strong de­mo­graph­ic de­cline from 19,600 in 2000 to 13,343 and some 3,489 float­ing in­hab­i­tants in 2012. This de­cline re­sult­ed in sev­er­al va­cant build­ing, which hence­forth lacked reg­u­lar main­te­nance. The sit­u­a­tion was how­ev­er reme­died by state con­trols on main­te­nance, and pro­grammes to­wards the reuse of va­cant buildings.

Ac­cord­ing to the State Par­ty, en­vi­ron­men­tal pres­sures are lim­it­ed since mo­tor ve­hi­cles are pro­hib­it­ed in the is­land, ex­cept for the fire de­part­ment, garbage col­lec­tion and med­ical as­sis­tance. Be­sides, in­dus­tri­al ac­tiv­i­ties have been re­lo­cat­ed from the north of the is­land to Xi­a­men. How­ev­er, the sea wa­ters of the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty are af­fect­ed by the qual­i­ty of the wa­ter of Chiu-lung Riv­er, es­pe­cial­ly dur­ing the flood­ing sea­son. ICO­MOS notes that the sea wa­ters con­sti­tut­ing both the prop­er­ty and the buffer zone are sub­ject to con­t­a­m­i­na­tion from the neigh­bour­ing cities, the Lu­jian Riv­er, and the ac­tive sea traf­fic, but that none of these seems to have im­me­di­ate ad­verse ef­fects on the Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Val­ue of the property.

The State Par­ty as­serts that his­tor­i­cal records in­di­cate that the main threats to his­toric build­ings are col­lapse due to ty­phoons, fire, plant dis­eases and in­sect pests. Over the


past 50 years, some 180 ty­phoons have hit Xi­a­men and Ku­lang­su. Façade dec­o­ra­tive el­e­ments, which are very im­por­tant styl­is­tic fea­tures of the his­toric build­ings, are very vul­ner­a­ble to this threat. In ac­tu­al fact, some dam­ages of re­cent ty­phoons are still wait­ing their re­pairs. As a mea­sure of pre­ven­tion, a mon­i­tor­ing and warn­ing sys­tem, to­geth­er with mit­i­gat­ing mea­sures have been put in place. The re­spons­es to the Sep­tem­ber 2016 ty­phoon, the strongest in re­cent years — which caused the fall of three thou­sand trees, among them nine­teen des­ig­nat­ed His­toric Trees and dam­aged up to 42 his­toric build­ings — in­di­cate the grav­i­ty of the threat and the ap­pro­pri­ate­ness of the mon­i­tor­ing and warn­ing sys­tem, as well as the ef­fi­cien­cy of the re­cov­ery mea­sures and the strong com­mit­ment and in­volve­ment of the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty. Cli­mate change may fur­ther af­fect the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty if it am­pli­fies the fre­quen­cy of ty­phoons and their strength.

ICO­MOS notes that Ty­phoons are a re­al threat to the prop­er­ty, and at the same time con­firms that the ty­phoon tar­get­ed pre­pared­ness plans are ad­e­quate. ICO­MOS al­so notes that the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty is in a seism prone lo­ca­tion, and con­se­quent­ly rec­om­mends that a retro­fitting plan for brick and stone his­toric build­ings be drawn up and im­ple­ment­ed. The State Par­ty con­sid­ers that the up­grad­ing of the on­go­ing fire­fight­ing in­fra­struc­ture and the pro­ject­ed pre­ven­tion mea­sures con­sti­tute an ef­fec­tive pre­ven­tion and mit­i­ga­tion plan against this threat. It fur­ther as­sert­ed that de­spite the­o­ret­i­cal seis­mic risks, the prop­er­ty has no his­toric record of seis­mic destruction.

The State Par­ty in­di­cates that Ku­lang­su has re­cent­ly faced a sharp rise in vis­i­tor num­bers, which in­creased from 5,748,500 in 2009 to 12,463,000 in 2014. The lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in­di­cat­ed how­ev­er that this in­crease had not yet re­sult­ed in neg­a­tive im­pacts on the his­toric build­ings. How­ev­er, tourism has a neg­a­tive im­pact on the en­vi­ron­men­tal lev­el. The State Par­ty al­so con­sid­ers that the ide­al tourism ca­pac­i­ty of the prop­er­ty is 13,000,000 vis­i­tors per year, and that the con­trol mea­sures tak­en are effective.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that tourism is a key threat to the tan­gi­ble her­itage and the en­vi­ron­ment of the is­land, es­pe­cial­ly dur­ing the hol­i­day peak sea­son. The ban on pri­vate mo­tor ve­hi­cle is an ap­pro­pri­ate pre­ven­tion mea­sure; how­ev­er, the den­si­ty of tourists is very high. With in­scrip­tion on the World Her­itage List, tourism in­ter­est would like­ly in­crease and it is es­sen­tial that the cap lim­its in­tro­duced would be ef­fec­tive­ly controlled.

In the In­ter­im Re­port, ICO­MOS in­formed the State Par­ty about its con­cerns in re­la­tion to vis­i­tor num­bers and ac­cess man­age­ment and rec­om­mend­ed to fur­ther elab­o­rate a re­stric­tive tourism man­age­ment strat­e­gy and a cal­en­dar to avoid the neg­a­tives im­pacts of tourism. In its re­sponse re­ceived in Feb­ru­ary 2017, the State Par­ty in­formed ICO­MOS that the dai­ly max­i­mum ca­pac­i­ty of 65,000 per­sons men­tioned in the nom­i­na­tion dossier al­ready in­clud­ed 15,000 res­i­dents and com­muters. The max­i­mum num­ber of vis­i­tors to the is­land is there­fore 50,000 per day. More im­por­tant­ly, a new study com­mis­sioned by the State Par­ty, which was com­plet­ed in 2017 in­di­cates that the op­ti­mum ca­pac­i­ty of Ku­lang­su Scenic Area is 25,000 per­sons per day, in­clud­ing vis­i­tors and com­muters. Xi­a­men Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment has ac­cord­ing­ly de­cid­ed to adopt this num­ber, and an of­fi­cial or­der is be­ing draft­ed and is fore­seen be im­ple­ment­ed start­ing from 15 June 2017. To meet this goal, a se­ries of mea­sures will be tak­en in­clud­ing the sep­a­ra­tion of vis­i­tor and res­i­dent trans­porta­tion (fer­ry) to the is­land, sale of vis­i­tor tick­ets through a spe­cial plat­form (com­bined with check­point con­trol mea­sures at the fer­ry ter­mi­nal), the open­ing of more ar­eas to vis­i­tors, ex­pand­ing of tour routes, im­prove­ment of the mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem and oth­er mea­sures in­clud­ing the ef­fec­tive in­volve­ment of the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ty and stakeholders.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the main threats to the prop­er­ty are tourism pres­sure, en­vi­ron­men­tal, pol­lu­tion and nat­ur­al dis­as­ters, es­pe­cial­ly ty­phoons and earthquakes.

5 Pro­tec­tion, con­ser­va­tion and management 

Bound­aries of the nom­i­nat­ed property 

and buffer zone 

The bound­aries of the 316.3 hectares prop­er­ty in­clude the en­tire Ku­lang­su Is­land and its ad­ja­cent coastal wa­ters that are de­lin­eat­ed ac­cord­ing to the fur­thest ex­ten­sion of the sur­round­ing reefs. In ICO­MOS’ view, these bound­aries are clear­ly de­lin­eat­ed, and in­clude all the el­e­ments ex­press­ing the property’s Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Value.

Like­wise the buffer zone, en­tire­ly drawn in the wa­ters and in­clud­ing two ad­ja­cent small­er is­lands, is clear­ly de­lin­eat­ed, and in­cludes the sur­round­ing wa­ters of the is­land and its im­me­di­ate set­tings. The buffer zone cov­ers a zone of 886 hectares.

Both, the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty and its buffer zone are pro­tect­ed as the Ku­lang­su Moun­tain Scenic Area un­der the 2006 Man­age­ment of Scenery Ar­eas Reg­u­la­tions. The reg­u­la­tions of Scenery Ar­eas that gov­ern both the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty and its buffer zone are ef­fec­tive­ly implemented.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the bound­aries of the nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty and its buffer zone are adequate.


The land parcels of the en­tire is­land be­long to the State but built struc­tures fall un­der four man­age­ment cat­e­gories, which in­clude state man­aged pub­lic struc­tures, hous­es ad­min­is­trat­ed by man­age­ment com­mu­ni­ties, hous­es en­trust­ed by their own­ers to state man­age­ment and main­te­nance and pri­vate prop­er­ties. Most of the des­ig­nat­ed her­itage struc­tures on the is­land be­long to the first cat­e­go­ry and are ex­clu­sive­ly state managed.


Ku­lang­su was rec­og­nized by the State Coun­cil as a Na­tion­al Scenic Area in 1988 un­der the Na­tion­al Scenic Area frame­work. The bound­aries of the prop­er­ty and its


buffer zone co­in­cide with the de­lim­i­ta­tion of the na­tion­al scenic area, which al­so be­came the ba­sis for the man­age­ment ar­eas des­ig­nat­ed in the Con­ser­va­tion Man­age­ment Plan for Ku­lang­su Cul­tur­al Her­itage Site (2014). Fifty-one rep­re­sen­ta­tive his­toric build­ings, gar­dens, struc­tures and cul­tur­al sites are in­clud­ed in Her­itage lists: nine­teen as Na­tion­al Her­itage Sites, eight as Provin­cial Her­itage Sites, and twen­ty-four as Coun­ty Her­itage Sites. More­over, all the provin­cial and coun­ty pro­tect­ed sites will be added to the 8th Tranche of the Na­tion­al Her­itage List. These sites will be un­der the 2013 re­vised Law of the People’s Re­pub­lic of Chi­na on the Preser­va­tion of Na­tion­al Relics, and the Rules on Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the same law.

The nom­i­nat­ed prop­er­ty and its buffer zone are al­so part of the Ku­lang­su Moun­tain Scenic Area, which is gov­erned by the 2006 Man­age­ment of Scenery Ar­eas Reg­u­la­tions. Xi­a­men Mu­nic­i­pal Gov­ern­ment fur­ther cre­at­ed spe­cial laws and reg­u­la­tions for the scenic area con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment of Ku­lang­su, im­ple­ment­ed among oth­ers through the ban of pri­vate mo­tor ve­hi­cles on the island.

In its In­ter­im Re­port, ICO­MOS re­quest­ed the State Par­ty to fur­ther clar­i­fy the pro­tec­tion sta­tus of his­toric ar­chi­tec­tur­al struc­tures, not ex­plic­it­ly list­ed in the above de­scribed her­itage list­ing schemes. In its re­sponse, the State Par­ty in­di­cat­ed that through the pro­vi­sions of the Gen­er­al Plan of Ku­lang­su Scenic Area (2017–2030) is­sued by China’s State Coun­cil, all ma­jor con­struc­tion projects be sub­mit­ted to, and ap­proved by the her­itage and con­struc­tion de­part­ment of the State Coun­cil, re­gard­less of the sta­tus of con­cerned or ad­ja­cent struc­tures. The State Par­ty fur­ther elab­o­rates that the 931 his­toric build­ings not pro­tect­ed at a na­tion­al lev­el were sub­ject to the Reg­u­la­tions of Xi­a­men Spe­cial Eco­nom­ic Zone on the Con­ser­va­tion of His­toric Build­ings on Ku­lang­su (2009).

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the le­gal pro­tec­tion in place is ad­e­quate and ef­fec­tive­ly implemented.


The his­toric ar­chi­tec­tur­al struc­tures on Ku­lang­su Is­land are ful­ly in­ven­to­ried. All struc­tures are list­ed on ei­ther na­tion­al, provin­cial, coun­ty or mu­nic­i­pal reg­is­ters. The in­ven­to­ry and fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, draw­ings and pho­tographs on each struc­ture and the his­to­ry of Ku­lang­su in gen­er­al is made avail­able to the pub­lic at the Cul­tur­al Archives Cen­ter in Ku­lang­su Mu­nic­i­pal Library.

The over­all state of con­ser­va­tion of his­toric struc­tures in Ku­lang­su is ac­cept­able. The fifty-one rep­re­sen­ta­tive His­toric Build­ings list­ed on var­i­ous her­itage reg­is­ters are said in sat­is­fac­to­ry con­di­tion, while the con­di­tion of oth­er his­toric struc­tures is good in 68% of the cas­es, good but with slight dam­ages for 26% and in need of at­ten­tion with ob­vi­ous dam­age for 6 % of the his­toric struc­tures. The nat­ur­al set­ting as well as his­toric road net­work has been well main­tained and is in a good state of conservation.

A Con­ser­va­tion Mas­ter Plan for Ku­lang­su His­toric Build­ings was draft­ed in 2010 and re­vised in 2012. The Con­ser­va­tion and Man­age­ment Plan for all her­itage el­e­ments on Ku­lang­su like­wise in­cludes the key no­tions and ref­er­ences the ear­li­er con­ser­va­tion plan for his­toric struc­tures. A re­search and prac­tice cen­tre to trans­fer knowl­edge on his­toric con­struc­tion and main­te­nance tech­niques was cre­at­ed in 2016.

Con­ser­va­tion mea­sures are not on­ly ad­dressed at in­di­vid­ual hous­es but the com­plete is­land and its at­trib­ut­es. Since 2006, in­dus­tri­al and min­ing en­ter­pris­es lo­cat­ed in the north of the is­land were re­lo­cat­ed to Xi­a­men city, build­ings and struc­tures that im­pact­ed spa­tial and vi­su­al cor­ri­dors of his­toric build­ings were re­moved and 170 his­toric build­ings were con­served based on tai­lor-made con­ser­va­tion ap­proach­es for each and ful­ly ac­com­pa­nied by de­tailed analy­sis and documentation.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the con­ser­va­tion mea­sures tak­en are ad­e­quate and ef­fi­cient. How­ev­er, ICO­MOS notes that the main fo­cus of con­ser­va­tion doc­u­men­ta­tion and preser­va­tion is di­rect­ed to­wards the build­ing ex­te­ri­ors and rec­om­mends that equal at­ten­tion is giv­en to their his­toric interiors.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the con­ser­va­tion plan and ac­tive con­ser­va­tion mea­sures im­ple­ment­ed are adequate.


Man­age­ment struc­tures and processes

in­clud­ing tra­di­tion­al man­age­ment processes

The prop­er­ty is joint­ly man­aged by two struc­tures es­tab­lished in co­op­er­a­tion of the State Coun­cil, Fu­jian Province, Xi­a­men Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ty and Ku­lang­su Sub-dis­trict Of­fice of Sim­ing Dis­trict. These are the Ad­min­is­tra­tive Com­mit­tee of Ku­lang­su Scenic Area, an agency of the Gov­ern­ment of Xi­a­men city in charge of Cul­tur­al Her­itage and Scenic Ar­eas and the Ku­lang­su Sub-Dis­trict Of­fice of the Sim­ing Dis­trict, in charge of oth­er set­tle­ment re­lat­ed as­pects of Ku­lang­su Is­land management.

Fol­low­ing the in­for­ma­tion on avail­able hu­man and fi­nan­cial re­sources, these two man­age­ment bod­ies are ad­e­quate­ly equipped to ef­fec­tive­ly deal with the pro­tec­tion, con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment of the site. Fur­ther train­ing mea­sures and con­tin­u­ous ca­pac­i­ty build­ing and qual­i­fi­ca­tion con­trol for per­son­nel are en­vis­aged by the man­age­ment au­thor­i­ties. The man­age­ment struc­tures al­so re­ly on ex­ter­nal ex­per­tise from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Xi­a­men and in­ter­na­tion­al ex­perts who ad­vice in an in­di­vid­ual capacity.

Pol­i­cy frame­work: man­age­ment plans and

arrange­ments, in­clud­ing vis­i­tor management

and pre­sen­ta­tion

The Con­ser­va­tion and Man­age­ment Plan for Ku­lang­su Cul­tur­al Her­itage was of­fi­cial­ly adopt­ed 2011 and is be­ing im­ple­ment­ed by the Gov­ern­ment since 2014. The plan es­tab­lish­es man­age­ment strate­gies and ac­tions based on


an ex­ten­sive analy­sis of the property’s con­di­tions and threats. The strate­gic doc­u­ments al­so in­te­grate the pro­vi­sions of all oth­er plans and pro­tec­tive reg­u­la­tions in­to a com­pre­hen­sive man­age­ment sys­tem in­sti­tu­tion­al­iz­ing the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween all con­cerned man­age­ment stake­hold­ers. In­di­cat­ed by the plan as a ne­ces­si­ty, the Con­ser­va­tion and Man­age­ment Plan is sup­port­ed by Guide­lines on Con­trol of Com­mer­cial Ac­tiv­i­ties on Ku­lang­su, which have been adopt­ed in 2014. These guide scale and qual­i­ty as­sur­ance mea­sures for com­mer­cial ser­vices on the is­land, in par­tic­u­lar those in the tourism sector.

As tourism pres­sures re­main a key threat to the in­tegri­ty of Ku­lang­su, sev­er­al stud­ies have ad­dressed the property’s car­ry­ing ca­pac­i­ty and lim­its of ac­cept­able change and max­i­mum per­mit­ted vis­i­tor num­bers have re­cent­ly been re­vised. Con­trols were first­ly im­ple­ment­ed in 2014 un­der the “De­sign of Tourism Ca­pac­i­ty and Tourists Con­trol of Ku­lang­su” (2014) frame­work, a pol­i­cy tools which based on a mul­ti-fac­tor analy­sis de­fined max­i­mum vis­i­tor num­bers to the is­land. Fol­low­ing ICO­MOS’ re­quest for ad­di­tion­al in­for­ma­tion in its in­ter­im re­port, the State Par­ty added in­for­ma­tion in Feb­ru­ary 2017, in­di­cat­ing that the vis­i­tor num­bers which guid­ed this con­trol frame­work had once more been reduced.

The lat­est 2017 Ca­pac­i­ty Cal­cu­la­tion Re­port of Ku­lang­su Scenic Zone in­di­cates that the op­ti­mum num­ber of peo­ple on the is­land is 25,000 while the ab­solute max­i­mum lies at 50,000 peo­ple per day. Since this num­ber in­cludes the res­i­dents and com­muters to the is­land, the ef­fec­tive max­i­mum num­ber of vis­i­tors in now con­trolled at 35,000 vis­i­tors on peak days while the av­er­age op­ti­mum de­sired lies at 15,000 vis­i­tors per day. Ef­fec­tive tourism con­trols on the ac­cess fer­ries are to be im­ple­ment­ed to­wards this end start­ing from 15 June 2017.

In terms of pre­sen­ta­tion and in­ter­pre­ta­tion the prop­er­ty of­fers a va­ri­ety of ser­vices due to its strong vis­i­tor at­trac­tion and high num­bers. It can be ex­plored by guid­ed tours on boat or land as well as in­di­vid­u­al­ly via sign-guid­ed routes and maps. Sig­nage al­so com­mu­ni­cates his­toric da­ta and at­trib­ut­es of Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Val­ue and the on­line pre­sen­ta­tion of the prop­er­ty al­lows for a vir­tu­al tour by means of a GIS based ex­plo­ration platform.

In­volve­ment of the lo­cal communities

The State Par­ty as­serts that com­mu­ni­ty in­volve­ment was key to the prepa­ra­tion of the man­age­ment sys­tem of Ku­lang­su and re­mains es­sen­tial in its im­ple­men­ta­tion. Con­tin­u­ous com­mu­ni­ty con­sul­ta­tion and par­tic­i­pa­tion is in par­tic­u­lar im­plied in the idea that the whole is­land is a liv­ing com­mu­ni­ty site, the at­trib­ut­es of which are based on the con­ti­nu­ity of func­tions nur­tured by the res­i­dent community.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers the man­age­ment sys­tem as well as the con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment plan ad­e­quate and its im­ple­men­ta­tion mea­sures with the re­vised vis­i­tor con­trols ef­fec­tive once ful­ly im­ple­ment­ed start­ing from 15 June 2017. ICO­MOS rec­om­mends that the mon­i­tor­ing of vis­i­tor con­trols and pe­ri­od­ic re­vised stud­ies on the lim­its of ac­cept­able change with re­gard to vis­i­ta­tion of the is­land be un­der­tak­en to con­firm that the cur­rent cut off num­bers are in­deed suf­fi­cient for the pro­tec­tion of the Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Val­ue. ICO­MOS rec­om­mends that the State Par­ty pro­vides as­sess­ment re­ports on the vis­i­tor con­trols to be im­ple­ment­ed from June 2017 on­wards to the World Her­itage Cen­tre and the Ad­vi­so­ry Bod­ies af­ter a tri­al pe­ri­od of two years.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the man­age­ment sys­tem for the prop­er­ty is ad­e­quate, but rec­om­mends that the now strength­ened vis­i­tor con­trols are fur­ther as­sessed and pe­ri­od­i­cal­ly re­viewed to en­sure that these are al­ready suf­fi­cient to ad­dress the chal­lenges posed by large vis­i­tor numbers.

6 Mon­i­tor­ing

For the mon­i­tor­ing of the prop­er­ty, the two man­age­ment struc­tures are com­ple­ment­ed by a spe­cial body de­vot­ed to her­itage mon­i­tor­ing: the Ku­lang­su Her­itage Mon­i­tor­ing Cen­ter. Its task is to de­vel­op, main­tain, im­ple­ment and re­view a mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem based on a pre­cise in­di­ca­tor-dri­ven as­sess­ments, in­clud­ing an alert sys­tem for recog­ni­tion of risks which could have neg­a­tive im­pacts on the property’s Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Val­ue. Key at­trib­ut­es mon­i­tored as part of the sys­tem are changes in the over­all set­tle­ment pat­terns, in­clud­ing na­ture-cul­ture in­ter­re­la­tions, the us­es and func­tions of his­toric struc­tures, phys­i­cal con­di­tion of all her­itage el­e­ments, risks and their po­ten­tial in­crease or de­crease, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, vis­i­tor num­bers and be­hav­iour as well as pol­i­cy de­vel­op­ment and its sus­pect­ed im­pact on the property.

Pre­vi­ous mon­i­tor­ing ex­er­cis­es were archived, even if their scope may have var­ied in terms of themes, de­tail of in­di­ca­tors and com­plete­ness. The Ku­lang­su Her­itage Mon­i­tor­ing Centre’s archive does fur­ther hold re­ports on the Con­ser­va­tion Sta­tus of all her­itage sites, pre­vi­ous con­ser­va­tion mea­sures and sta­tis­tic da­ta on the en­vi­ron­men­tal de­vel­op­ment of the is­land. ICO­MOS con­sid­ers the mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem is high­ly so­phis­ti­cat­ed and that the in­di­ca­tors are clear­ly linked to the at­trib­ut­es of the Out­stand­ing Uni­ver­sal Val­ue and re­flect the most per­ti­nent threats to the property.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the mon­i­tor­ing mea­sures for the prop­er­ty are adequate.

7 Con­clu­sions

The prop­er­ty cov­ers the en­tire is­land of Ku­lang­su and its coastal wa­ters as de­mar­cat­ed by the sur­round­ing reefs, with an over­all area of 1.88 square kilo­me­tre. Its main ur­ban set­tle­ment faces the city of Xi­a­men across the 600-metre-


wide Lu­jiang Strait. In 1903, an in­ter­na­tion­al set­tle­ment was es­tab­lished on the is­land, which in­te­grat­ed the pre­vi­ous­ly ex­ist­ing tra­di­tion­al set­tle­ments in­to a new mul­ti-facetted new ur­ban de­vel­op­ment of the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry, which be­came a nu­cle­us of cul­tur­al ex­changes in South-East Asia at the time.

Ku­lang­su en­joys an in­tact en­vi­ron­ment, a dis­tinc­tive ur­ban fab­ric and close to one thou­sand his­toric build­ings. It il­lus­trates the am­bi­tions of in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion at the turn of the 20th cen­tu­ry, based on an in­ter­change of Chi­nese, South-East Asian and West­ern in­flu­ences. Its built her­itage rep­re­sents dif­fer­ent ar­chi­tec­tur­al styles in­clud­ing Tra­di­tion­al South­ern Fu­jian Style, Ve­ran­da Colo­nial Style, West­ern Clas­si­cal Re­vival Style, ear­ly Mod­ernist Style and Art De­co, as well as their fu­sion in the unique Amoy De­co Style. In ad­di­tion to its unique ar­chi­tec­ture, the is­land pre­serves its orig­i­nal set­tle­ment pat­terns, his­toric road and the re­la­tion­ships and pro­por­tions be­tween built-up and nat­ur­al en­vi­ron­ment, in­clud­ing im­por­tant sight re­la­tions and nat­ur­al sceneries.

ICO­MOS con­sid­ers that the prop­er­ty meets cri­te­ria (ii) and (iv) as a set­tle­ment which mir­rors the var­i­ous cul­tur­al in­flu­ences set­tlers brought with them from their places of ori­gin or pre­vi­ous res­i­dence in South East Asia and be­yond as far as Eu­rope and North Amer­i­ca, which through these in­flu­ences brought forth a new hy­brid style – the so-called Amoy De­co Style.

Cri­te­ri­on (iv) al­so rec­og­nizes Ku­lang­su in re­la­tion to it be­ing the ori­gin and best rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Amoy De­co Style. This spe­cif­ic style il­lus­trates the fu­sion of in­spi­ra­tions drawn from lo­cal build­ing tra­di­tions, ear­ly west­ern and in par­tic­u­lar mod­ernist in­flu­ences as well as the south­ern Fu­jian mi­grant cul­ture. Based on these, the Amoy De­co Style shows the trans­for­ma­tion from tra­di­tion­al build­ing ty­pol­o­gy to­wards new forms of ar­chi­tec­ture, which were lat­er ref­er­enced through­out South-East Asia and be­came pop­u­lar in the wider region.

The prop­er­ty demon­strates the qual­i­fy­ing con­di­tions of au­then­tic­i­ty and in­tegri­ty, al­though the in­tegri­ty could be af­fect­ed by vis­i­tor num­bers and be­hav­iours, which re­quire con­sis­tent con­trols. At present, the re­spon­si­ble au­thor­i­ties have com­mit­ted to re­strict ac­cess to the is­land at 50,000 peo­ple per day, which in­cludes around 15,000 in­hab­i­tants and com­muters and ac­cord­ing­ly re­stricts the num­ber of vis­i­tors to 35,000 per day in­clud­ing dur­ing the peak season.

Ku­lang­su Is­land is pro­tect­ed as a Na­tion­al Scenic Area and its his­toric build­ings are reg­is­tered at var­i­ous lev­els, in­clud­ing na­tion­al, provin­cial, coun­ty and mu­nic­i­pal. It is man­aged by a dual man­age­ment struc­ture re­spon­si­ble for cul­tur­al her­itage and oth­er set­tle­ment con­cerns. The man­age­ment is fur­ther guid­ed by a con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment plan, which is im­ple­ment­ed since 2014. A de­tailed mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem con­stant­ly re­views the con­di­tion of the prop­er­ty as well as the de­vel­op­ment of threats.

8 Rec­om­men­da­tions

Rec­om­men­da­tions with re­spect to inscription 

ICO­MOS rec­om­mends that Ku­lang­su: A his­toric in­ter­na­tion­al set­tle­ment, Chi­na, be in­scribed on the World Her­itage List on the ba­sis of cri­te­ria (ii) and (iv).