Chinese State Councilor Chen Zhili has called for greater efforts to promote the country's intangible cultural heritage, including Peking Opera and Mongolian Pastoral Songs.
Chen made the remarks at the qualification certificate award ceremony for 88 practitioners at the Great Hall of the People on Thursday.
They were among the 551 enlisted by the Ministry of Culture as official practitioners to carry forward the country's intangible cultural heritage.
Last June, a group of 226 artists were announced as intangible cultural heritage practitioners.
According to the Ministry of Culture, artists had to undergo a series of procedures, including recommendation by local cultural departments, assessment by an expert panel, public review and re-examination.
Artists in financial difficulties are entitled to government subsidies.
The State Council, China's Cabinet, has included 518 items in 10 categories, such as folk literature, folk music and dance, traditional opera, ballad singing, cross-talk, acrobatics, folk arts, traditional crafts, traditional medicine and folk customs, as intangible cultural heritage.
Four items from China have been listed by UNESCO as world intangible cultural heritage. They are the 500-year-old Kunqu Opera, known for its graceful movements and poetic lyrics; the 3,000-year-old guqin seven-string zither; the Twelve Mukams, a 12-part suite of ancient Uygur music; and Mongolian Pastoral Songs.
(Xinhua News Agency February 29, 2008)