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China, S Korea joust over fengshui art
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For many years, the art of fengshui has been seen as an indispensable part of Chinese traditional culture. But recently, this long standing heritage was challenged when South Korea applied to list the art as a World Cultural Heritage under its name.


Guangzhou-based New Express reported that South Korea kicked off preparation work for the application back in 2003 and has made every effort to ensure its readiness before 2008.


South Korea succeeded in adding the Dragon Boat Festival, a celebration used to commemorate Qu Yuan, a Chinese patriot in olden times, onto the World Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2005. This sparked heated controversy between the two nations and raised Chinese awareness of protecting their own cultural legacies.


The Koreans are likely to win again, the report said. Nothing has hinted that the application will fail as the process is backed by all Korean nationals, from the country's president to the UN general-secretary.


Contrary to South Korea's zeal for applying fengshui, China has long shown indifference towards the art handed down from its ancestors. The art of fengshui failed to be mentioned in the shortlist, which includes 35 cultural arts, that China has drawn up in preparation for next years World Intangible Cultural Heritage nomination procedure.


In contrast to the lack of concern shown by the authorities, Chinese civilians are displaying a united resolution and determination to fend off this "cultural robbery". One netizen blames Korea, arguing that the art form of fengshui originated in China long ago and only later spread to Korea during the Ming Dynasty.


Apart from angry internet users, many people call for the support of the government, who still deem the art as a superstitious method to judge good or ill luck and refuse to issue official certificates to those engaged in the fengshui industry.


Chinese people used to intently study fengshui theories before beginning constructions work, believing a building constructed in line with the theories would bring them great luck and prosperity.


(CRI December 19, 2007)

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