[Dharma Eye View·Protecting cultural relics and cultural heritage]
Guangming Daily reporter Zhang Guosheng
Scenery of Dazu Rock Carved Buddha Rock Cliff Statues, a cultural relic protection site.Xinhua News Agency
The dazzling Thousand-Armed Avalokitesvara statue on Baoding Mountain, shaped like a peacock with its tail spread open; the half-length reclining Buddha statue with its feet hidden in the rock and its right shoulder sunk into the ground, giving people endless reverie… In late autumn, stroll through the Dazu Rock Carvings Scenic Area in Chongqing. It is like listening to a pinnacle song of the world’s grotto art, with a long lasting charm.
The Dazu Rock Carvings were first built in the early Tang Dynasty and continued until the Ming and Qing Dynasties. They represent the highest level of grotto art from the 9th century to the 13th century AD and are known as “the last monument in the history of human grotto art.” This is the second grotto-type world cultural heritage in China after the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, and it is currently the only world cultural heritage in Chongqing.
Not long ago, the first International Forum on Cave Temple Protection was held in Dazu District, Chongqing. More than 100 experts and scholars from China, the United Kingdom, Norway, Japan, Pakistan, Iran, Nepal, Afghanistan and other countries conducted in-depth discussions and exchanges on the common problems encountered in the protection of cave temples. At the forum, Chongqing’s measures and effectiveness in building a legal barrier to protect the Dazu Rock Carvings received attention and recognition from experts and scholars at home and abroad. “We must protect the Dazu Rock Carvings” and “build a beautiful and world-renowned cultural reception hall”, which has become a general consensus among local cadres and the masses.
The cultural heritage prosecutor inspects the protection status of Shuchengyan cliff statues.Data pictures
Cross-system collaboration to create a dense legal network for the protection of cultural relics and cultural heritage
“The Dazu Rock Carvings have a total of 75 grottoes, more than 50,000 statues and more than 100,000 words of inscriptions, which are listed as cultural relics protection units at all levels. These cultural relics are scattered in 18 towns and streets in the region, and most of them are scattered in remote wilderness areas. Security protection is difficult,” said Long Wei, deputy director of the Dazu Stone Carvings Research Institute.
Yang Guangyu, who serves as deputy director of the Security Department of the Dazu Stone Carving Research Institute, worked as a front-line security guard for seven years after retiring from the army in 1995. Cases such as the theft of the Buddha’s head from the Duobao Pagoda that occurred that year were still fresh in his memory. Although the case was eventually solved and the stolen cultural relics were recovered, the damage caused to the stone carvings could never be repaired.
“Later, the institute strengthened ‘human defense’ and ‘physical defense’, and also added ‘dog defense’ and other measures. In 2004, it built a security system that combined intrusion alarm and video surveillance. In 2008, it built the first outdoor multi-site multi-site surveillance system in the country. Click on the centralized security management system.” After the theft of the Buddha’s head occurred, Yang Guangyu and his colleagues took turns stationed at the scene for a full year. But with tens of thousands of statues scattered all over the place, relying solely on the institute to send personnel to protect them is undoubtedly a drop in the bucket.
The “Chongqing Dazu Rock Carvings Protection and Management Measures” promulgated in 1998 established rules for the protection and management of Dazu Rock Carvings. In order to better meet the protection needs of world cultural heritage, the Chongqing Municipal People’s Congress promulgated the “Chongqing Dazu Stone Carvings Protection Regulations” in 2017. This is Chongqing’s first special local regulation on a single important cultural heritage, marking the protection of world cultural heritage. The protection of Dazu Rock Carvings has entered a professional, regular and legal track. In December 2022, the Chongqing Municipal People’s Congress passed the revised regulations to expand the protection scope of Dazu Rock Carvings based on the needs of cultural heritage protection and utilization. “The jurisdiction of the original regulations was limited to five national key cultural relics protection units, including Baoding Mountain, Beishan, Nanshan, Shimen Mountain and Shizhuan Mountain. The revised regulations include the Shuchengyan cliff statues and Miaogaoshan cliff statues within the jurisdiction, so that It is more suitable for the actual protection research and management of Dazu Rock Carvings,” Long Wei said.
The People’s Court of Dazu District and the People’s Procuratorate broke through departmental and geographical restrictions to provide judicial services and guarantees for the high-standard and integrated promotion of the systematic protection and utilization of Dazu Stone Carvings. The People’s Procuratorate of Dazu District and the Dazu Stone Carvings Research Institute signed an agreement. Based on their public interest litigation and cultural relics protection functions, the two parties have established 11 collaboration mechanisms such as counterpart contact, information sharing, joint inspections, and investigation and evidence collection. The People’s Procuratorate of Dazu District also accurately grasped the basic situation of 887 registered immovable cultural relics in the district through active visits, and implemented “listing on the wall and assigning responsibilities to each person” for cultural relics protection units at or above the municipal level. The Chongqing Municipal People’s Congress and the Dazu District People’s Congress promoted the construction of the Chongqing Municipal People’s Procuratorate Cultural Heritage Protection Center on Baoding Mountain of Dazu Stone Carvings, becoming the first province in the country to integrate professional prosecutorial case handling, restorative judicial protection, comprehensive rule of law publicity and other functions. Level 1 legal innovation base for cultural heritage protection.
Chen Huili (middle), the “stone carving doctor” of Dazu Stone Carving Research Institute, introduces the restoration status of Wenfeng Pagoda to the cultural heritage prosecutor.Data pictures
Inter-professional collaboration to explore public interest litigation for the protection of cultural relics and cultural heritage
On April 1, 2020, the Chongqing Municipal People’s Procuratorate issued guidance, making cultural heritage protection a key area to expand the scope of public interest litigation cases. The People’s Procuratorate of Dazu District immediately created the first “Cultural Heritage Prosecutor” working mechanism in Chongqing and established the “Cultural Heritage Prosecutor’s Office” at the Dazu Stone Carvings Museum. Four “Cultural Heritage Prosecutors” from the District Procuratorate were stationed on duty and were responsible for accepting clues, coordinating For inspections, legal consultation, and rule of law publicity, four experts from the Dazu Stone Carving Research Institute are hired as part-time assistants to provide professional support such as cultural relic identification, value assessment, and restoration suggestions.
In 2019, two cases of ancient tomb theft were uncovered in Dazu District. During the case handling process, the “Cultural Heritage Prosecutor” consulted the experts who served as assistants on the historical reference value and physical value of the ancient tombs, determined their public welfare attributes, and jointly went to the site to inspect and verify the damage and restoration plan, and held a joint meeting to listen to the experts Opinions on the claim. In September 2020, the Dazu District People’s Procuratorate filed a criminal incidental civil public interest lawsuit with the district court, requesting that the criminal suspect be ordered to bear the costs of the protection and restoration project of the two stolen tombs and apologize to the public. After a public hearing, the District Court ruled in favor of the procuratorial organ’s request. This is the first civil public interest litigation case incidental to criminal offenses in the field of cultural heritage protection in Chongqing.
“Cultural heritage is a ‘spiritual and cultural’ right enjoyed by an unspecified majority of people, but in judicial practice the protection of the public interests it carries is often ignored.” Long Yun, Director of the Fifth Procuratorial Department of the Dazu District People’s Procuratorate, believes that comprehensive application Civil and criminal legal means can better achieve the all-round protection of cultural relics and cultural heritage through criminal strikes, public welfare protection and legal propaganda.
In September 2021, some people reported that the Wenfeng Pagoda, which was built during the Tongzhi period of the Qing Dynasty on the top of Nanshan Mountain in Dazu District, suffered from serious natural weathering and man-made damage. After investigation and verification and consultation with experts, the “Cultural Heritage Prosecutor” issues pre-litigation prosecutorial recommendations for administrative public interest litigation to units that have failed to fulfill their cultural relics protection responsibilities, and invites mass representatives and cultural relics protection experts who have reported the situation to continue to follow up and supervise the entire process. In the end, Wenfeng Tower was properly repaired.
Since the establishment of the “Cultural Heritage Prosecutor” team and the specially appointed expert assistant team, it has carried out more than 30 joint inspections and various special inspections, handled 14 public interest litigation cases in the field of cultural relics and cultural heritage protection, and promoted the relevant departments to repair 13 cultural relics and eliminate There were 14 potential safety hazards for cultural relics, and more than 7 million yuan in cultural heritage protection funds were implemented. At the same time, it directly promoted the protection and inheritance of 73 “intangible cultural heritage” items.
“Public interest litigation can bring good publicity effects on the rule of law. We hope to use this to encourage more people to participate in it and form a new pattern of cultural relics and cultural heritage protection with multi-party linkage, joint promotion, and joint management.” Deputy Prosecutor of the Dazu District People’s Procuratorate Chang Youqiang said.
The voluntary cultural conservator (left) is introducing the conservation status of the cliff statues of Pusheng Temple to the staff of the Dazu Rock Carving Research Institute.Xinhua News Agency
Cross-regional collaboration to jointly build Sichuan and Chongqing cultural relics and cultural heritage protection demonstration zones
Sichuan and Chongqing are geographically connected, closely related by people, share the same history, and share the same culture. The grotto art in Anyue and other places in the adjacent areas of Sichuan and Chongqing also shows the characteristics of “connecting to Yungang and Longmen at the top and Dazu at the bottom”. The “Dazu Science” under planning and construction takes the Dazu Rock Carvings as the main research subject, but its research objects include not only the Dazu Rock Carvings, but also the more than 2,850 existing grotto statues in the Sichuan and Chongqing regions.
Through joint research and full communication with the People’s Congress of Guangyuan City, Anyue County and other cities and counties in Sichuan Province, the People’s Congress of Dazu District addressed the issues faced by the protection of cave temples in the two places such as insufficient publicity and popularization of the rule of law, lack of professional talents, and insufficient capital investment. In the “About Sichuan” “Recommendations for the Legal Protection of Chongqing Grotto Temples” proposed to break through administrative subordination, break administrative boundaries, and explore the establishment of a joint legislative mechanism for Sichuan and Chongqing Grotto Temples, which has received the attention of relevant departments in both places.
In June 2020, the People’s Procuratorate of Dazu District signed cooperation opinions with the procuratorates of Leshan City, Sichuan Province, and Wulong District, Chongqing City, establishing the first cross-regional cooperation mechanism for public interest litigation and prosecution work in the field of world heritage protection in Sichuan and Chongqing. The People’s Court of Dazu District and the Intermediate People’s Court of Ziyang City, Sichuan Province promote the two places to strengthen the protection and utilization of cultural heritage, the construction of regional cultural tourism infrastructure and the creation of high-quality products, and jointly polish the “Zizu Changle” cultural tourism brand.
August 15, 2023 is the first National Ecology Day. The Dazu Stone Carvings Research Institute, Chongqing Yubei District People’s Court, Dazu District People’s Court, Dazu District People’s Procuratorate, Anyue County People’s Court and Anyue County People’s Procuratorate of Sichuan Province jointly signed the “Dazu Stone Carvings Cultural Heritage Ecological Justice” on this day. “Protection Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement” to jointly build a strategic cooperation mechanism for Dazu stone carving culture and environmental judicial protection. The “Zi (Ziyang, Sichuan) Dazu (Chongqing Dazu) Cultural and Tourism Circuit Court” unveiled at the same time has established a cooperation mechanism for accepting reports, transfer processing, and circuit trials, and will regularly carry out “legal popularization + science popularization + cultural tourism” to combine cultural and natural heritage Conservation awareness campaign.
“There are a total of 5,986 grotto temples and cliff statues in our country, 8 of which 13 have been included in the World Cultural Heritage List.” A deputy to the National People’s Congress who attended the ceremony said: “Our goal is to jointly build a new world through cross-regional collaboration. We must firmly protect the legal barrier of world cultural heritage and jointly build a model for the protection of cultural relics in the Chongqing twin-city economic circle, a demonstration for inheritance and utilization, and a benchmark for the integration of culture and tourism.”
“Guangming Daily” (November 04, 2023, Page 05)