Cui Limin, the organizer of C-Salon, sits in his wife's wedding gown studio, where the salon meetings are held. [Photo by Hu Zhe/ chinadaily.com.cn]
Cui’s job entails planning and participating in many heritage restoration projects, which has given him a close insight into the status quo of China’s heritage preservation. Accroding to Cui, one of the main challanges has been the lack of communication between professionals as heritage protection usually involves close cooperation with professionals from different fields, such as archaeology, history, architecture, geology and other science-related areas.
However, people who work on a heritage restoration or preservation project are usually summoned temporarily and tend to be secluded from each other, something that has significantly hindered the efficacy of many projects. Therefore, building a multidisciplinary platform for professionals to share their expertise has become the main priority of Cui’s salon.
Heritage as a tourism resource sits at the core of a country’s soft power, especially for countries like China who have a long and rich history. But the heritage tool could turn out to be a double sword if wielded inappropriately.
“Local governments relentlessly promote tourism on local cultural relics without considering the possible consequences it may bring to heritage sites as the number of visitors has extensively risen beyond their capacity,” stressed Cui.
Additionally, earlier reports of the Forbidden City’s moat being flooded with trash suggest that tourists should also be held responsible for heritage damage or loss.
“Individuals’ awareness of heritage protection should be cultivated and nurtured, it is each citizen’s civic duty to protect our ancient treasures, but due to the limited space of my place, we can’t reach out to the masses,” said Cui while expressing his concerns.
Despite those issues, C-salon has been gaining more attention online, and the fans are growing in number. Cui plans to make their future seminar topics easier and more straightforward so that more ordinary people can join in on the group’s discussions.
Photo taken after a salon discussion. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]