A "red list" of China's cultural objects that are at risk of being smuggled out of the country will be released at the 22nd general conference of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) on Tuesday.
The ICOM conference, which kicked off at the Expo Center on Sunday, is the first high-level event to be held at the venue since the Expo 2010 Shanghai closed on Oct 31.
The six-day tri-annual conference, themed "Museums for Social Harmony", has nearly 3,600 experts from 122 countries and regions discussing challenges facing museums all over the world today.
"The red list is about important cultural objects that face the risk of being exported by illegal means," said Zhang Bai, chairman of ICOM China.
ICOM has been making red lists for endangered categories of archaeological objects or works of art in specific countries since 2000 in a bid to prevent them from being sold or illegally exported.
China will be the seventh country to have a red list made by ICOM.
Alissandra Cummins, president of ICOM, explaining the theme of this year's conference, said, "To agree but to stand out, to look for common ground but to celebrate the difference."
The basis of social harmony lies in dialogue, tolerance, coexistence and development based on pluralism, difference, competition and creativity, she said.
ICOM has chosen to have the 22nd general conference in China largely because of the rapid progress of the country's museum community, said Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.
"China didn't have its first museum until 1905, but now we have more than 3,200 museums nationwide, and every year another 100 museums open in the country. This is rare in the history of the global museum community," said Shan.
"Existing museums - mostly provincial ones or above - are under expansion or renovation, and many new city or town-level museums are emerging like bamboo shoots in spring time. Private capital is pouring in to protect cultural heritage, (and) establishing various industry museums.
"Since 2008, China's museums have opened to the public free of charge. Many people who had never visited a single museum became frequent visitors. And in two years' time, China's museums received more than 820 million visitors," Shan said.
As the ICOM general conference progresses in Shanghai, museum communities from all over the world will experience Chinese museums' rich cultural heritage and prosperity, Shan said.
Source: China Daily