June 03, 2006:

[achtung! kunst] *heritage* : China Establishes Annual 'Cultural Heritage Day'

China Establishes Annual 'Cultural Heritage Day'

The second Saturday of June has been identified by the Chinese
government as 'National Cultural Day' and will be celebrated annually,
said Culture Minister Sun Jiazheng in Beijing at a press conference on

Sun said the first 'Cultural Heritage Day' would fall on June 10 with
the theme being, "Protecting cultural heritage and safeguarding the
spiritual homeland".

"The celebration will include a series of performances and exhibitions,"
Sun said. The event would feature an exhibition of ancient Chinese books
and a selection of the best folk art.

The State Administration of Culture Heritage would undertake a
nationwide review of cultural heritage protection work while the
National Library and Academy of Social Sciences will host seminars and
forums and offer advice to the public on cultural heritage.

Sun called on museums, memorial halls and relic sites at all levels to
open free to the public on the first ‘Cultural Heritage Day’.

China has 2,351 historic sites and 518 articles of intangible cultural
heritage. Nearly 400,000 fixed relics have been registered on the
mainland and another 20 million movable examples are held in museums.

Sun noted that China had four of the 19 ‘masterpieces’ of Oral and
Intangible Heritage of Humanity listed by the United Nations Education,
Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), including the 500-year-old
Kunqu Opera, known for its graceful movements and poetic lyrics; the
3,000-year-old guqin seven-string zither; the Twelve Mukams--a 12-part
suite of ancient Uygur music and the Pastoral Song sung by a Mongolian
ethnic group.

According to Sun the legislation included more than 30 laws and
regulations on cultural heritage protection in which the government had
invested 7.89 billion yuan (US$900 million) over the last five years.
China had also launched a nationwide campaign in 2003 to search out and
protect cultural heritage. A law on the protection of intangible
cultural relics has been put on the drafting schedule of China's top
legislature. People from all walks of life had come to realize its

However, Sun said, cultural relics in China now faced great challenges
posed by economic globalization and urbanization. Many historic cities
and scenic spots had been destroyed. Illegal trade and smuggling
activities had not been curbed which had led to the loss of national
treasures overseas.

Worse was that many important cultural heritage sites had declined or
were difficult to maintain due to excessive exploration and
inappropriate use. And cultural relics held by minority ethnic groups
had lost their true meaning due to the changing lifestyles of the
people, Sun said.

"Therefore, we should keep our minds clear and take more concrete steps
to better protect cultural heritage and mobilize the whole society to
participate in this cause," he stressed.

In terms of new measures for preventing traditional Chinese festivals
from dying out Sun said, “We need to draw more attention from people in
all walks of life by including traditional festivals in school
textbooks, improving publicity and encouraging people to celebrate them.”

Sun also mentioned that this month marks the 40th anniversary of the
launch of the tumultuous ten-year Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in
China. The National Museum, the National Library and other museums had
collected a wealth of cultural relics and materials relating to the
Cultural Revolution which would be conducive to further research on this
period of history, he said.

Shan Jixiang, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage,
said at the same conference that according to incomplete statistics
about 1 million Chinese cultural relics are kept at more than 200
museums in 47 countries. The Chinese government was doing its utmost to
reclaim and collect the precious cultural relics lost overseas and a
database to help reclaim such items cultural relics from abroad has been

China had signed the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and
Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of
Cultural Property and bilateral protocols with countries including Peru
and Italy on this matter. And the government was also seeking
international cooperation to retrieve the relics by liaising closely
with the International Criminal Police and the World Customs
Organizations, Sun said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 26, 2006)

http://service.china.org.cn/link/wcm/Show_Text?info_id=169470&p_qry=intangible %20and%20heritage



with kind regards,

Matthias Arnold (Art-Eastasia list)



To (un)subscribe or to access the searchable archive please go to:

For postings earlier than 2005-02-23 please go to: