Vice Minister of Culture Zhou Heping revealed on Wednesday that
224 people would soon be designated by central authorities as the
next guardians of China's intangible cultural heritage (ICH). The
list of 224 so-called ICH 'inheritors' of folklore, acrobatics,
handicrafts and traditional medicine will be released before the
national Second Cultural Heritage Day on June 9.
The ICH inheritors have been chosen from an initial field of
1,138 nominees from 31 provinces, regions and municipalities, said
Zhou at the first international festival of intangible cultural
heritage, happening in Chengdu from Wednesday.
As a member of UNESCO's ICH inter-governmental committee, China
has ramped up efforts to save its ICH from extinction. Last May saw
518 types of ICH be listed and merged into a comprehensive
China's cooperation with UNESCO in this field enjoyed a
high-point in 2001 when Kun Qu, one of the oldest forms of Chinese
opera, the Chinese zither or Guqin, a 3000-year-old musical
instrument, Xinjiang Uygur Muqam, a blend of song, dance, folk and
classical music, and Long Song, a type of Mongolian lyrical chant,
were all named masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of
Humanity by UNESCO.
UNESCO's definition of ICH covers practices, representations,
expressions, knowledge and skills that communities, groups and, in
some cases, individuals hail as part of their cultural
(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2007)