China denies politics behind UNESCO move on Barrier Reef

July 18, 2021 10:15 pm | Updated 10:16 pm IST - Paris

Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia

A top Chinese official said on Sunday that political tensions between Beijing and Australia were not behind a UNESCO recommendation to place the Great Barrier Reef on its endangered list.

Deputy Education Minister Tian Xuejun is chairing this year’s meeting of the UNESCO’s heritage committee, which comes amid worsening relations between China and Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef has been put on a list of World Heritage sites that could be put on the in-danger list after losing half of its corals since 1995.

Australia has assailed the move, blaming global warming for the loss, while UNESCO experts argued that pollution run-off has contributed to the loss.

When asked about “Australian government allegations” that Beijing pressed to have the Barrier Reef listed as endangered, Mr. Tian said the decision was based “on reports and data provided by Australia itself.” “Australia should fulfil its obligations to protect world heritage sites instead of making baseless accusations against other members” of UNESCO, he added. Both China and Australia are among the 21 nations on heritage committee, which is evaluating nearly 50 sites that could be added to its more than 1,100 World Heritage list.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.