China's top relics protection authority has warned that many historic relics in the country had been erased by modern infrastructure projects.
According to a national survey carried out by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH), as many as 23,600 registered cultural sites "disappeared" in last three years, China Daily reported.
"Most of the disappeared historical sites were demolished during infrastructure construction, for example, highway and reservoir building," Liu Xiaohe, deputy director of the survey was quoted as saying. "The nation will do all it can to preserve as much as it can."
However, Sun Yuexin, founder of the Chinese Cultural Heritage Protection website, said the number of disappeared relics was as large as it was because there had been false reporting and exaggeration of such sites in the past.
"Some local governments would exaggerate the amount of relics they have, so as to ask for more funds from the central government to protect relics," he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
SACH has been working on the inventory since 2007 and hopes to have a full list of China's historical sites, including ancient tombs, temples and architecture, by 2011.
As of the end of October, 776,200 historical sites had been surveyed and added to the list, said Shan Jixiang, director of SACH.
The last national survey was carried out in 1983. It failed to issue a final report.