Today’s New Frontier’s programme from Chinese Central TV is about the efforts being made in China to monitor and maintain their cultural heritage sites, and particularly the Great WIld Goose Pagoda in Xi’an.
The pagoda itself is one of the most important relics in China being built in 704 AD by Empress Zetian to replace the original structure, and standing ever since.
One of its main functions has been to house the scriptures that the famous traveller monk Xuang Zang brought back from India.
The film follows the efforts that have been made to monitor the stability of the pagoda, and to set up extremely accurate monitoring devices so that any dangers to this cultural relic will be noted before becoming critical.
When they found out the the pagoda had started inclining in the 90s, to the extent of moving one metre to the north-west, they had to find the reason the battle the root cause, and it turned out that overconsumption of underground water was at the heart of the problem causing subsidence.
Since then a major river’s water has been diverted to Xi’an and the stress on the underground water table has eased and the pagoda is now reclining back to its original position, albeit slowly, while monitoring is proceding.