Recently, Beijing officially established a Grand Canal cultural belt construction team to make a list of the Grand Canal-related cultural relics and historical heritages for classified and graded protection and plan to construct cultural, ecological and industrial belts of the Grand Canal by combining protection and inheritance of cultural heritages with removal of non-capital functions.
Led by Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform and Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage, the team is composed of 25 municipal departments of urban planning, environmental protection, water and landscape and forestry and seven districts including Dongcheng, Xicheng and Tongzhou. Under the guidelines of “making good protection, inheritance and use of the Grand Canal cultural belt”, the team is mainly responsible for studying and making a program, five-year action plan and annual work plan on the conservation and construction of the Grand Canal cultural belt.
The Grand Canal was included in the list of key historical and cultural sites under state protection in May, 2013, and in June, 2014 it was listed as a world cultural heritage. The 82-km-long Grand Canal runs through six districts of Changping, Haidian, Xicheng, Dongcheng, Chaoyang and Tongzhou and abundant high-grade cultural relics of different eras are found along the canal. The canal used to be a main artery connecting north and south regions in ancient China and now it has become an important water system linking the downtown Beijing with the subcenter.