China granted "Master Craftsman" title to 161 people for their professional skills in making traditional Chinese handicrafts.
The title-granting ceremony was held in Beijing yesterday, attended by Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan, who called on the whole society to support and care more about Chinese traditional craftwork.
He encouraged polytechnic schools to provide tradition craftwork courses and train more skillful craftsmen who can preserve the art that has passed down for centuries.
Zeng also urged the market development of traditional handicrafts.
The 161 are the first craftsmen to be honored as masters since 1997 when China enacted the regulation on protecting traditional craftwork.
On the ceremony, 254 craftsmen were presented awards for art creation.
Premier Wen Jiabao also congratulated the honored craftsmen.
(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2007)