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UNESCO warns China over heritage sites

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has expressed concern over the state of six Chinese sites inscribed on its World Heritage List - including two in Yunnan province - and is encouraging the Chinese government to take corrective measures.

The Yunnan sites - the old town of Lijiang and the Three Parallel Rivers Protected Areas - were designated by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee for 'examination'. Four other sites including the Potala Palace in Lhasa and Beijing's Summer Palace, Imperial Palace and Temple of Heaven were designated for 'noting'.

None of the six sites are in immediate danger of being de-listed, according to Western media reports, but the move by the World Heritage Committee underscores concerns about the effect of development upon heritage sites.

The committee is reportedly concerned about the effect of tourism upon Lijiang, which received four million visitors last year. It also mentioned dam projects on the rivers of the Three Parallel Rivers areas as a reason for designating the site for examination.

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