An inferno that destroyed the spire and a large portion of the wooden roof structure of the 12th-century Notre Dame Cathedral in Pa
ris on Monday reinforced a cautionary message to Chinese authorities about the need to better protect vulnerable heritage sites.
The National Cultural Heritage Administration held a staff meeting on Tuesday night at wh
ich officials discussed the Paris fire and six major fires that have taken place at Chinese cultural heritage sites this year.
“The fire at Notre Dame in Paris rang the warning bell for us,” Song Xi
nchao, deputy director of the administration, said in an interview on Tuesday.
“The safety of cultural heritage sites is a red line that can never be crossed. It’s a global issue,” he said.
The six fires were in Sichuan, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces, officials said.
On Jan 6, a hall at Yunyan Temple in Jiangyou, Sichuan province, burned down. On
Feb 2, a wooden family temple from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Nanchang, Jiangxi, was destroyed by fire.