Saving our relics
Over the past few months, customs officers in Beijing, Nanjing and Shenzhen have seized more than 100 dinosaur egg fossils from travelers who tried to smuggle them out of China.
All the fossils came from a basin tucked away in the mountains of Xixia Country in western Henan Province, where thousands of dinosaur eggs have been excavated since May.
The discoveries may help solve the most puzzling questions about the dinosaurs’ 150-million-year history and their extinction 65 million years ago.
However, there is no reason to celebrate the customers’ recent sucesses.
On the contrary, it must be soberly admitted that the smuggling of precious animal and bird fossils out of China for sale abroad has not been effectively checked.
Moreever, there is also another kind of activity, without criminal intent, which involves destruction of the cultural relics.
Urban construction has already damaged a number of historic sites listed for State protection.
China’s Cultural Relics Protection Law seeks to stop thefts and ban sales of finds——including fossils——and any activities that may damage historic sites protected by the government.
What is more, if any culture relics, for instance, an ancient tomb, are unearthed at a construction site, work should stop until specialized excavation by relics protection departments is done.
Greater concerted efforts should be made by the whole of society, the media in particular, to popularize the Cultural Relics Protection Law and make the people at large ever more relic-conscious.