By Cheng Yingqi in Beijing and Guo Anfei in Yuxi, Yunnan
The Chengjiang Fossil Site was among 36 sites being considered for the list by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee during its meeting from June 24 to July 6 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The natural area in Yuxi, Yunnan province, has become the second site in China to be included on the protected list in three days, according to a statement released on Sunday by the city of Yuxi.
|Archaeologist clean a trilobite fossil at Chengjiang animal fossile museum in|
Chengjiang County, southwest China's Yunnan Province, July 1, 2012. The
Chengjiang Fossil of China was included into the World Heritage List at the
36th World Heritage Conference held in St. Petersburg, Russia on Sunday.
On Friday, the Site of Xanadu in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region was included as a cultural site.
Deviating from its practice of previous years, the committee decided to choose the cultural sites first and delay the vote on natural sites until Sunday.
"That one day was like a whole year for me," said Li Yunping, a member of the Chinese delegation at the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee. The delegation arrived in Russia on June 23.
"Sometimes I felt like my heart couldn't take any more," she said, as she took her heart medication outside the convention hall.
However, after an eight-year wait - for world-heritage status, Chengjiang has become China's first world heritage fossil site.
|A scientist observes a fossil at Chengjiang animal fossile museum in Chengjiang|
County, southwest China's Yunnan Province, July 1, 2012. The Chengjiang Fossil
of China was included into the World Heritage List at the 36th World Heritage
Conference held in St. Petersburg, Russia on Sunday. (Xinhua/Qin Qing)
On July 1, 1984, a researcher found fossils of naraoia, a marine creature that lived 530 million years ago in Yuxi. In 1997, the provincial government made the 1,800-hectare site a nature reserve, and Premier Wen Jiabao issued instructions in 2004 to protect the site.
"The Chengjiang site is the most concentrated, best-preserved and the most bio-diverse evidence of the Cambrian explosion worldwide," said Chu Zhongzhi, deputy director of housing and urban-rural development department for Yunnan.
The Cambrian explosion refers to the relatively rapid appearance of most major animal categories around 530 million years ago.
"Since we started applying for world-heritage status, government departments have worked together to overcome any difficulties," Chu said. "Now the site is inscribed on the World Heritage List, the ninth natural site in China, making it a valuable experience for us."
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