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China Chooses Candidates for Cultural Heritage List
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China is currently reviewing more candidates for the world's Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) list. From a preliminary set compiled this year, the Chinese government will make a final selection and recommendations to the United Nations, according to Vice-Cultural Minister Zhou Heping.

"Each provincial government can introduce two candidate items to the preliminary list, which aims to better protect our heritage from the impact of urbanization and globalization," said Zhou at Tuesday's national conference of cultural departments.

According to UNESCO, "intangible cultural heritage" refers to practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, and skills that communities, groups, and in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage.

As a member of the UNESCO 18-member inter-governmental committee to safeguard ICH, China has been strengthening efforts in ICH protection over the past few years.

Since 2001, items proclaimed by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity include: Kun Qu, one of the oldest forms of opera in the country; Chinese zither, the Guqin, a solo musical instrument dating back 3,000 years; Xinjiang Uygur Muqam, a blend of song, dance, and folk and classical music; and, Long Song, a type of Mongolian lyrical chant.

The Chinese State Council published its first batch of state-level intangible heritages last June, including the Spring Festival, Peking Opera, acupuncture, the Legend of Madame White Snake, and Shaolin Kungfu.

(Xinhua News Agency February 7, 2007)

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