- Analysis of documentary sources
- Qualitative interviews with Chinese government officials at both national and local levels, and with experts
- Interviews with key officials from national governments
- Interviews with key officials from the local government of Hangzhou
- Interviews with experts
- Qualitative interviews with Chinese domestic tourists and residents of Hangzhou
This chapter and Chapter 4 draw on data derived from research which adopted the following research methods.
Analysis of documentary sources
Chapters 3 and 4 review the text of the ICOMOS Report for West Lake Cultural Landscape (ICOMOS 2011) and UNESCO’s official justification of West Lake, which is itself based on the Chinese nomination dossier (SACH, 2011). I also reviewed the relevant local newspapers and internet resources, including Hangzhou Daily, Zhejiang Daily, Xinhua Daily Telegraph, China.com and ChinaDaily.com. These chapters aim to compare the tensions between the Chinese national discourse ofWest Lake and those of ICOMOS and UNESCO.
It also critically reviews the text of those documentary sources and compares their language with the discourse of tourists.
Qualitative interviews with Chinese government officials at both national and local levels, and with experts
Semi-structured interviews were undertaken to determine how Chinese government officials and experts (both intentional and Chinese experts) define the concept of cultural landscape and their responses to tourism in WH listing and management processes. The data was recorded by audiotaping and note-taking. Interviews were undertaken with three groups:
Interviews with key officials from national governments
Interviews were conducted with two directors from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MHURD hereafter) and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH hereafter) who are in charge of the World Heritage application and management issues, on 2 December and 4 December 2013 respectively (they are hereafter referred to as GOOOl and GO002 respectively). Interviews were also conducted with an official (GO003) from the China National Commission for UNESCO (under supervision of the Ministry of Education) who is responsible for communicating with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, on 9 December 2013.The official (GOOOl) from MHURD did not want to be recorded, so I took notes.
Interviews with key officials from the local government of Hangzhou
Interview with a director (WL140) and a vice-director (coded WL141) of the Cultural Heritage Monitoring and Management Centre of West Lake, who was in charge of the World Heritage application and management issues, was conducted on 13 November 2013.
Interviews with experts
Interviews were conducted with a UNESCO expert (a vice-director) (G0005) from the World Heritage Institute of Training and Research for Asia and the Pacific on 20 November 2013 in Shanghai. I also interviewed a director (WL144) and two vice-directors (WL142 and WL143) from the Institute of Architectural History on 26 December 2017 and 4 December 2013 in Beijing, who are responsible for the preparation of the West Lake Nomination Dossier. Interviews were also conducted with a researcher (G0004) from the China Tourism Academy, which is under the supervision of the Ministry of Cultural and Tourism of the PRC.
Qualitative interviews with Chinese domestic tourists and residents of Hangzhou
Interviews on site with domestic tourists and residents were conducted during November 2013 and February 2014. Of the 64 domestic tourists interviewed 51.6% (33) were male and 48.4% (31) were female.Those aged 25-34 were the most frequent (50%) age group encountered, followed by those aged 18—24 (23.4%). The educational attainment of most visitors was high, with 68.3% of visitors having some level of university education. Of 36 (56.3%) domestic tourists this was their first visit to West Lake, while 29 (43.7%) were return visitors. The majority of tourists (44,68.8%) had travelled from a home address; followed by 20.3% from a holiday address. The majority (81%) of visitors had planned to visit Hangzhou for less than three days. Only six (9.5) % tourists had planned a longer visit of more than a week.
Of those 69 residents interviewed at West Lake, over half of those surveyed were male (56.5% to 43.5% female). Those aged 18—34 were the most frequent (52.2%) age group encountered, followed by people over 65 (21.7%). The majority of local people (71%) frequently spend time at West Lake, while 29% did not come to the site very often. More than half (52.2%) of local people who had lived in Hangzhou for less than five years defined themselves as ‘new Hangzhou citizens,’while 33 (47.8%) local people had lived in Hangzhou for more than five years. The majority of local people (71%) frequently spend time at West Lake, while 29% did not come to the site very often. Nearly half (46.4%) of the local people interviewed use West Lake as their ‘city park,’ a place for recreation or enjoying nature. The next section of the chapter will first examine tourists and local people’s understanding of the meaning ofWorld Heritage and the term of cultural landscape.