Arising out of a perceived need by China's State Administration for Cultural Heritage (SACH) and the GCI's involvement with SACH, the aim of the China Principles project was to collaboratively develop national guidelines for cultural heritage conservation and management that respect and reflect Chinese traditions and approaches to conservation. The Principles are being applied at two World Heritage sites: the Mogao Grottoes in Gansu Province and the Imperial Mountain Resort at Chengde, the summer resort of the Qing emperors in Hebei Province.

China is a country of exceptional diversity with a population of over 1.3 billion in an area roughly the size of the United States. The country has a long, rich history with an almost unbroken cultural tradition extending back some 5,000 years. Its cultural heritage sites record the formation and development of the nation. Yet despite an outstanding cultural legacy and a long tradition of conservation and restoration practice, no guidelines for conservation and management of cultural heritage had been developed. The aim of the China Principles project was to develop such guidelines.

Conservation and Management Principles for Cultural Heritage Sites in China
The China Principles, formally the Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China, were initially developed through a multiyear (1997–2000) collaboration among three institutional partners—China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) in the Ministry of Culture, the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), and the Australian Heritage Commission.

The Principles were issued by China ICOMOS in 2000 with the authorization of SACH. In 2010, after ten years of applying the Principles, China ICOMOS began a revision of the document, which was completed in 2015.

Page last updated: August 2019