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Preserve Ethnic and Folk Culture
A national center for the preservation of China's valuable ethnic and folk culture found its home yesterday at the Chinese Academy of Arts in Beijing.

The "Chinese Ethnic and Folk Culture Preservation Project National Center" is an institution that has been established by the Ministry of Culture at the top think-tank for the arts.

The inauguration of the center signals that the nation's work in preserving its ethnic and folk culture has entered a new stage, after the Preservation Project was launched by the ministry a month ago.

Continuing and developing traditional ethnic and folk cultures is "an important strategic task" in China's modernization drive, Zhou Heping, vice-minister of culture, said during the conference following yesterday's inauguration ceremony attended by more than 80 officials and scholars at the new site of the academy in Beijing.

While counting the achievements made by Chinese researchers in their cultural preservation efforts, Zhou also noted that problems exist in the country's cultural conservation.

The problems include the worsening of the social environment for the existence of ethnic and folk culture, the loss of human cultural resources, the shortage of investment and a lack of successors to inherit ethnic and folk arts, Zhou said.

The centerís establishment in one way is designed to co-ordinate national efforts to help solve the problems.

According to Liu Qian, director of the center, following the national center, local centers will be established in provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities around the country.

The centers will take advantage of the academic talents of Chinese scholars and the support of different levels of the government in preserving, rescuing, managing and advocating diverse ethnic and folk cultures of China.

During the conference, experts from the Chinese Academy of Arts reported the findings of a survey on the preservation of national ethnic and folk culture and a survey on operas and troupes in the country.

The Chinese Academy of Arts is a national research organization specializing in categories such as music, dance, opera, fine arts and architecture.

During the past 50 years, scholars from the academy have published countless books on various arts, especially folk art and the art of ethnic minority groups. As a national base for the arts, it also houses a huge collection of art works and valuable documents.

(China Daily February 26, 2003)

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