Location: WuyiShan, Fujian, China (27° 43′ 0″ N, 117° 41′ 0″ E)
Date: 5 December 2007, 9.15am
Camera: Canon 400D with Sigma 17-70/f2.8-4.5
China has just had 2 more entries into the UNESCO Heritage Sites List last week. It is fast catching up and very likely to have the most sites declared as UNESCO site soon- currently the highest number is Italy (45) followed by Spain (42) and China (40) according to the UNESCO Full List. I used to enjoy visiting such places in China as they are normally either places of extreme beauty or of tremendous cultural and historical significance (which is relevant to me as a Chinese). However in the last few years, I stop seeking them out as destinations of choice because I found that once a place became a UNESCO site in China, instead of being the peaceful and sublime places they used to be, they are marketed heavily domestically and regularly swamped by tourists. On top of that, invariably high entrance fees will be levied; this is fine if the collections go towards the site maintenance, but that is often not the case in China. What I find most abhorring is the commercial developments preceding some sites that are likely to be declared as a UNESCO Site; there have been reports that in some sites old dwellings were demolished and centuries-old livelihood destroyed to make way for spanky new commercial buildings in anticipation of the tourist traffic.