Thursday, May 29, 2014

News: Chinese agree to dismantle fake replica Sphinx

China will demolish a life-size replica of the Sphinx in Hebei province after the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities filed a complaint with UNESCO, calling the structure a threat to its cultural heritage, Chinese state media reported.

Located at the foot of the Taihang Mountains in China, the Sphinx’s replica is about 80 meters (264 feet) long and 30 meters tall, is made of reinforced steel bars and a concrete body, unlike the Egyptian version of the Sphinx which is carved from one piece of limestone.

Minister of Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim announced, earlier this month, that Egypt was filing a complaint with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) about the Chinese imitation of the unique antiquity.

According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, the replica is just a temporary film prop, and will be dismantled as soon as filming is done.

“We are very respectful to world cultural heritage and express our apologies for any misunderstanding,” said an official with a cultural park on the outskirts of the provincial capital Shijiazhuang, who declined to be named.

The film in question was supported by an entertainment conglomerate based in southern China’s Hangzhou. The conglomerate has invested CNY $5m to build the theme park near another tourist attraction, the Dragon Spring Temple. The movie features a range of worldwide cultural heritages, according to state-Run Al-Ahram.

Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities called on UNESCO to implement the convention it signed in 1972 concerning the protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage. Ibrahim said he feared the replica would have a negative effect on the already struggling Egyptian tourism industry because it harms the country’s “cultural heritage”.

The 1972 UNESCO convention states that the right of identification, presentation and transmission of monuments to the future generation belongs only to the state that owns them. It emphasises the importance of safeguarding and protecting unique monuments, as they are considered irreplaceable property to the people.
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