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Silk Road Treasures at Risk of Serious Damage
Better efforts should be made to protect cultural relics along the renowned Silk Road that are increasingly fragile and prone to damage.

Ikuo Hirayama, a famous Japanese painter and cultural relics expert, made the remarks yesterday ahead of a three-day international seminar on the Silk Road.

The event starts today in Xi'an and has been organized by Ikuo Hirayama, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and China's UNESCO Committee.

Nearly 100 experts and scholars will present their latest research on the Silk Road relics protection at the symposium.

The Silk Road is the name of a famous route of trade, culture and other social exchanges between China and regions of Asia and Europe. It flourished after its establishment more than 2,000 years ago.

It began in Xi'an -- the capital city of several ancient Chinese empires such as the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) -- and collected countless cultural relics during its long history.

UNESCO set up an "Ikuo Hirayama Fund" in 1991 to support and encourage those experts and scholars who devote themselves to the research of culture and relics of the Silk Road.

Until last year, the project had supported 100 scholars from central, west and east Asia, Africa and Europe, whose academic achievements will be presented at the symposium.

(China Daily November 18, 2002)

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