Intangible cultural heritage to be listed
China is building up its own list of intangible cultural heritage to protect ethnic minorities' languages, art, music, dance and religion.
"As we continue to apply to UNESCO for recognition of China's diverse cultural treasures... we should establish China's own list," said Zhou Heping, vice-minister of Culture, at a three-day International Symposium on Preservation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
"The government will support all aspects of identifying, researching and preserving this heritage," Zhou said.
Sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Arts, the symposium, which started yesterday in Beijing, has attracted more than 150 participants from over 20 countries including the South Korea, Japan, Viet Nam, France, Germany, Austria and the United States.
High on the agenda was preservation and policies that would safeguard this heritage in a scientific, comprehensive and systematic way.
"The intangible cultural heritage of different countries and different ethnic groups is the cultural treasure of humanity," said Wang Wenzhang, president of the Chinese Academy of Arts.
In 2002, the academy launched a project to identify and preserve intangible cultural heritage, which brought local individual projects into the fold of a national system with professional guidance.
In February, 2003, a national centre was set up in Beijing to co-ordinate preservation.
The centre will also give regular training courses on intangible culture preservation. The first such course in May was attended by about 200 people.