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Beijing eyes UNESCO status for Mao tomb, Tiananmen Square

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    Agence France-Presse

Beijing, China | Thu, July 5, 2018 | 08:30 pm
 Beijing eyes UNESCO status for Mao tomb, Tiananmen Square Chinese paramilitary police officers march in Tiananmen Square on the May Day holiday in Beijing on May 1, 2018. (AFP/Nicolas Asfouri)

Beijing wants to have Mao Zedong's Mausoleum and Tiananmen Square, powerful and controversial symbols of Chinese communist might, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, official media reported on Thursday.

The Chinese capital wants to apply for 14 sites in total to receive UNESCO World Heritage status by 2035, the state-run Global Times quoted city official Shu Xiaofeng as saying.

The 14 sites are located along the city's ancient Central Axis which runs north-south though Beijing and covers nearly two-thirds of the old city area.

Among the sites is the colossal Mausoleum, built after the 1976 death of Mao, who founded the communist regime and whose political and economic campaigns caused the death of millions of Chinese after he seized power in 1949.

Thousands of people still file past the tomb every day to pay their respects.

The massive tomb, which holds his embalmed body, dominates the south side of Tiananmen Square, the world's largest public plaza, which was built in the 15th century and has played a part in many major events in Chinese history.

It was at the heart of the 1989 demonstrations for democracy, which resulted in a government crackdown that cost hundreds of lives.

The Forbidden City, the former imperial palace to the north of the square, as well as the Temple of Heaven, are already on the UNESCO list.

Shu was quoted as saying that residents in the heritage area would be rehoused "to restore the heritage sites to their original state."

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