Beijing – China’s first-ever provincial-level regulation on natural disaster risk management for cultural relics will take effect in Shanxi province on February 1, outlining how to manage disaster risk for 53,875 registered sites, but the regulation does not at any point mention climate change. 

In total, Shanxi now has 53,875 registered “immovable cultural relics”, the fourth most in China. 88% of Shanxi’s nationally- and provincially-recognized sites are in areas with medium to high risk for geological hazards.

Greenpeace East Asia Beijing-based senior researcher Li Zhao said:

“There are strong practical reasons why we need to be clear about climate change as a source of disaster risk here. Climate risks are rapidly intensifying. Regulations need to incorporate risk management considerations specific to climate change if we want to adequately protect these sites. This progressive new regulation still doesn’t encompass climate risk at the regulatory level. Practical considerations here include the need for risk monitoring, early warning systems, emergency management, and cross-department collaboration.”

In August 2023, Greenpeace East Asia released the report Vanishing Point: Cultural Heritage, Climate Change, and Conservation Challenges. We have also highlighted that the revision of China’s Cultural Relics Protection Law needs to take into account climate change’s impact on cultural relic preservation.

In 2021, Shanxi suffered the strongest precipitation process in the fall on record. The persistent extreme rainfall led to varying degrees of damage in Shanxi’s 1,783 immovable cultural relics.

In 2021, UNESCO stated that “climate change has become one of the most significant threats to world heritage”. The 2023 Dazu Declaration, issued in the first International Forum on Cave Temple Conservation, also advocated for comprehensive conservation of grotto temples in the face of climate change.


For media enquiries please contact:

Qilin Liu, Greenpeace East Asia, Beijing, ([email protected])

Greenpeace International Press Desk, [email protected], +31 20 718 2470 (24 hours)