China has inscribed a total of 4,157 ancient villages to its state protection list in efforts to conserve the country's thousands of years long agricultural civilization.
"Under the program, China has built the world's largest agricultural heritage protection network," said Zhao Hui, chief economist engineer of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development, at a national summit on traditional villages held in southwest China's Guizhou Province, on Friday.
He said China added 1,602 villages to the protection list this year so as to bring the total number to 4,157.
China kicked off the protection program in 2012. The ancient villages were selected from a total of 2.6 million Chinese rural villages.
Zhao said once inscribed to the list, each of the villages can receive a state subsidy of 3 million yuan (446,000 U.S. dollars) for a rescuing protection of its cultural relics and traditions.
The villages are also subjected to the state protection guidance and concerned regulations.
According to a survey carried out by the ministry, no demolition or damage happened in the villages in 2015.
The survey also found that more than 60 percent of the ancient villages have carried out repairs on run-down buildings such as ancestral temples, old mansions and bridges. A total of 347 villages were lifted out of poverty through the heritage conservation and the promotion of tourism and local specialties.
"The next priority work is to improve the legislation and law enforcement of the heritage protection, set up warning and punishment mechanism to the village heritage protection and channel more funding to the program," Zhao said.