China will strengthen its survey on ancient Chinese books that are lost all over the world and will continue to cooperate with international parties to investigate the collection and preservation of ancient Chinese books around the world in order to promote the return of digital versions of overseas ancient Chinese books, according to a release by the Ministry of Culture on March 27.
The ministry recently released the "Circular on Further Strengthening the Protection of Ancient Books," which calls for better survey and protection of ancient foreign books preserved on the Chinese mainland as well as for related units to invite foreign experts to participate in the evaluation, protection and research of ancient foreign books.
The loss of ancient Chinese books to foreign countries mainly occurred in the modern and contemporary periods. According to statistics, countries, including Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Sweden and the United States, sent 66 expeditions to China's northwestern regions between 1856 and 1932.
They took away numerous Chinese cultural relics each time, including the world-famous Dunhuang manuscripts. Oracle bone scripts have been constantly lost overseas ever since they were unearthed in Anyang. Nearly 30,000 out of 200,000 oracle bone fragments unearthed at Xiaotun Village of Anyang are now in 12 countries and regions. The number of ancient Chinese books stolen by Japanese troops during the Anti-Japanese War exceeded 3 million.
According to the circular, a certification system should be established for personnel specializing in protecting ancient books and qualification appraisals should be conducted on ancient document restoration personnel in order to improve the quality of ancient document restorations.
By People's Daily Online