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Special> Video> Latest
UPDATED: February 28, 2011
China's First Law for Preserving Intangible Cultural Heritage Passed


China's top legislature has passed the country's first law for intangible cultural heritage. After ten years in drafting, the legislation is expected to ensure the better preservation of the country's cultural legacies.

With one of the world's few continuous civilization histories, China has a wealth of intangible cultural heritage.

As early as 1998, authorities organized nationwide investigations into folk art and ethnic customs, laying an important foundation for the law.

Zhu Bing has been working at the National People's Congress Standing Committee for over two decades, and has been involved in the whole process leading to the birth of the law.

"The primary target of China's heritage protection efforts used to be tangible items including all artifacts and historic relics," Zhu said. "The enactment of the this new law means that for the first time Chinese traditional cultural practices now have legal protection."

In 2004, China was enlisted into the UN Intangible Culture Heritage Protection Pact. Acting with a strong sense of obligation, China began speeding up the legislative process.

The law is responsible for the traditional cultural expressions and practices of China's ethnic groups, which have been handed down through generations.

It specifically covers traditional oral literature, performing arts, craftsmanship, medicine and folk customs.

Under the legal framework, the country will in particular assist protection efforts in ethnic minority and remote areas.

"Many cultural legacies with China's ethnic communities are indeed facing onslaught from modern urbanization and civilization," said Ma Wenhui, Dirctor of Cultural Legacy Department under the Ministry of Culture. "The enactment of the intangible cultural heritage law will help raise awareness among the local governments and individuals of how to better preserve their precious cultural legacies."

The law encourages a concerted effort from the entire country.

It also supports representative heirs in carrying forward intangible cultural heritage items. New appointments should be made if the heirs fail to perform their duties well.

Under the law, foreign organizations will have to conduct surveys in cooperation with Chinese research institutions.

(CNTV.cn February 27, 2011)


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