When He Shuzhong was still a college student in Shanghai in early 1980s, he first heard about many inside stories regarding the trafficking of Chinese cultural heritage. Outraged at the accelerating situation, he wrote an article in his college newsletter to call for action from everyone. Soon after this article was published in the college newsletter, a foreign teacher in his school translated it into English and sent it to a major international newspaper. The published article attracted the attention of senior Chinese officials, who took action and saved some of China’s heritage.
He Shuzhong was inspired by this success and became a firm believer in proactive cultural heritage conservation. In 1998, working as a teacher at China University of Political Science and Law, he launched a small volunteer group called Cultural Heritage Watch, which later evolved into CHP.
In 2003, with sponsorship from the Beijing Administration of Cultural Heritage, CHP was legally registered with the Beijing Bureau of Civil Affairs as a non-governmental organization. This registration granted CHP the legal status to open a bank account, hire employees, and expand its operations.
In accordance with its mission to be a grass-roots heritage education and mobilization NGO, CHP recruited a small core of professional staff who coordinate and support projects across China. The team is led by Ms. Wu Lili, CHP Managing Director, and is supplemented by professional staff, volunteers, and talented interns from some of the top universities around the world. In addition to full-time and part-time staff, CHP maintains a roster of individuals and organizations with specialized expertise that can assist with particular projects, programs and issues.
It Only Takes a Village: An Interview with He Shuzhong from Orientations Magazine (June 2008)