China will hold its first international conference on intangible
cultural heritage (ICH) protection this May, the Chinese Ministry
of Culture (CMC) announced on Wednesday.
The first China intangible cultural heritage festival will be
held from May 23 to June 10 in Chengdu, the capital of southwest
China's Sichuan province, which has a significant ICH and where the
local government has taken effective measures to protect it, said
Ding Wei, assistant to China's Minister of Culture.
During the festival, a special meeting of the inter-governmental
committee of the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will take place in Chengdu from May
23 to 27, Ding said at a press conference.
"This will be an important meeting. Criteria will be defined for
the world's ICH list," Ding said, adding that "a list of ICH in
dire need of protection will also be made."
Representatives from 24 inter-governmental committees and 50
observers and non-governmental representatives are expected to
attend the meeting, Ding said.
Besides the UNESCO meeting, a forum and an exhibition about ICH
protection will be held and performances staged. A park specially
designed for ICH protection will be opened to the public during the
festival, said He Huazhang, vice-mayor of Chengdu, at the press
According to UNESCO, "intangible cultural heritage" refers to
practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills that
communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as
part of their cultural heritage.
As a member of UNESCO's inter-governmental committee to
safeguard ICH, China has been strengthening efforts in ICH
protection over the past few years. Some of China's intangible
cultural heritages are on the verge of extinction.
Since 2001, Kun Qu, one of the oldest forms of opera in the
country, the Chinese zither or Guqin, a solo musical instrument
dating back 3,000 years, Xinjiang Uygur Muqam, a blend of song,
dance, folk and classical music, and Long Song, a type of Mongolian
lyrical chant, have been proclaimed by UNESCO as Masterpieces of
the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2007)