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China, Mongolia Join Hands to Protect Pastoral Song of Mongolian Ethnic Group

China and Mongolia will join hands to protect the Pastoral Song of Mongolian ethnic group, which is newly listed among the masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Chinese Culture Minister Sun Jiazheng made the remarks here Monday, after the UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura handed him certificates for the masterpiece.

On Nov. 25, the UNESCO announced 43 new entries to the world's intangible cultural heritage, which includes the Art of Chinese Xinjiang Uyghur Muqam, and the Pastoral Song of the Mongolian ethnic group. The Pastoral Song of Mongolian ethnic group was jointly applied for by China and Mongolia.

"It is the first time that China joins hands with other countries to apply for entry into the list," Sun said, adding the idea of joint application was proposed by the Chinese and immediately responded to by Mongolia.

Sun explained China and Mongolia have shared the Pastoral Song for a long time, ever since the founding of Mongolian ethnic group. However, this traditional form of art is endangered in both countries despite protection work taken by each side.

Last year, Sun said, China and Mongolia had consultations and communication at different levels on the issue of joint application, and jointly worked on the text of the application.

Sun said that the two sides will jointly carry out research on protection of the Pastoral Song, which is of great significance to passing on the declining cultural heritage.

The list of masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity now counts 90 entries honoring oral expressions and traditions, music and dance, ritual and mythology, knowledge and practices about nature and universe, and traditional crafts.

The UNESCO started to list masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 1998, with a view to save the endangered and declining cultural heritage that belongs to all human beings. In 2001, the UNESCO listed the first group of 19 masterpieces including China's Kunqu Opera. In 2003, another 28 masterpieces were listed, including the Chinese guqin zither, a plucked instrument with seven strings.
(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2005)


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