China has set up a special fund to rescue endangered traditional art forms and help folk artists and craftsmen establish their businesses, said Minister of Culture Sun Jiazheng, at the Cultural Asia Ministerial Forum on Friday.
China faces the same challenge as many other developing countries in Asia, which is to round up retrenched folk artists and create an environment conducive to cultural heritage protection, said Sun in his keynote speech at the forum, which is held in Foshan, Guangdong province from November 11 to 14.
China has stepped up efforts to collect and sift through the folk cultural heritage of different ethnic groups and endeavors to tackle the conflict between cultural heritage protection and social economic development.
Up to now, the Chinese government has nominated 1,271 sets for key cultural and historical relics protection nationwide. The number of World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites has risen to 30. In recent years, China has played an active role in regional and international cooperation on cultural heritage protection and has accumulated invaluable experience, Sun acknowledged.
He also invited representatives from Asian countries to attend a seminar on the topic of the development of human resources in the field of culture, which is to be organized by the Chinese Ministry of Culture in 2007.
Compared with cooperation in other fields, cultural cooperation is still not strong enough in Asia, Sun said. He appealed to Asian cultural ministers to strengthen cultural exchange and cooperation, which will lay a solid foundation for the overall and long-term cooperation of all Asian countries.
In the four-day forum, cultural ministers and officials from 23 Asian countries will discuss how Asian countries maintain and develop their own cultural characteristics and values in the context of globalization. It is the first time that China hosts the ministerial-level meeting on cultural exchanges in Asia.
(Xinhua News Agency November 12, 2005)