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China to Set up Database of Intangible Cultural Heritage
The Chinese Academy of Arts (CAA) will invite domestic and overseas experts in the following five years to investigate Chinese oral and intangible heritage and set up a comprehensive database for evaluating it.

CAA Vice-president Wang Wenzhang made the remarks in Beijing Sunday at the opening of an international symposium on "Safeguarding and Preservation of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity."

Wang said the CAA, as a national artistic research institute responsible for saving, safeguarding, studying and passing on Chinese artistic heritage, has begun building an evaluation system in accordance with the standards of the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), which appointed CAA to safeguard and study traditional and folk performing arts.

According to Wang, the academy will invite 11 to 15 groups of experts on different subjects to grade culture heritage in specific geographical areas, and create standards for evaluation. The academy will also compile and publish books and dictionaries on Chinese oral and intangible heritage, and work out hi-tech methods to better preserve books and audio and video materials of artistic heritage.

CAA is in charge of making applications to the UNESCO for Chinese oral and intangible heritage to be included in its list. The first "Masterpieces of oral and intangible heritage of humanity" was announced by UNESCO on May 18 last year, and among them is China's Kunqu opera.

Wang said China, as a country with many ethnic groups, holds a rich resource of intangible culture heritage. Since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, relevant administrations have taken effective efforts in protecting and reviving the traditional culture.

(Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2002)

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