China's 42 ICHs Were Included in the UNESCO List, Ranking First in the World
Updated: 11 02,2022 Source:China IP News

Intangible cultural heritage is an integral part of the traditional Chinese culture. Giving popularity and vitality to intangible cultural heritages is crucial to upgrading the influence of Chinese culture. In recent years, remarkable achievements have been made in protecting and inheriting China's intangible cultural heritage, boosting creative transformation and innovative development of the traditional Chinese culture and bringing a new breath of life to cultural heritages. By the end of 2021, China had more than 100,000 representative intangible cultural heritages, including 1,557 national-level ones. There were over 90,000 representative inheritors, including 3,062 national-level ones and 42 intangible cultural heritages were included in the UNESCO List and Catalog of Intangible Cultural Heritages, ranking first in the world.

Safeguarding heritage

In recent years, China has been actively pursuing a policy of "protection first, rescue first, reasonable utilization and inheritance development", and has achieved exceptional outcomes in the protection and inheritance of intangible cultural heritage. Now in the new stage of systematic protection, the country offers a Chinese approach to protect and inherit the intangible cultural heritages.

In 2011, China enacted the Law of Intangible Cultural Heritage, laying a solid legal foundation for protecting and inheriting intangible cultural heritages. In 2021, China released the Opinions on Further Strengthening the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritages, defining the objectives and directions of protecting intangible cultural heritages in the new era. At the same time, China has gradually improved supporting policies and established the main framework of the legal system for intangible cultural heritage protection and inheritance. By 2022, the central government had invested 9.65 billion yuan in protection of intangible cultural heritages and allocated 1.785 billion yuan in executing projects relating to the protection. In addition, multiple provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) have also assigned special funds for protecting their local intangible cultural heritages.

Every region in China is working hard on the protection and inheritance of intangible cultural heritages. Gansu Province is rich in intangible cultural heritage resources. As of now, Huaer Folk Songs, Huanxian Daoqing Shadow Play, and Geser/Gesar have been selected into the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritages. In addition, the province hosts 83 national and 493 provincial representative intangible cultural heritages, 68 national and 617 provincial representative inheritors. Focusing on protection, inheritance, promotion and dissemination of intangible cultural heritages, Gansu keeps utilizing the significance and contemporary value of intangible cultural heritage. By improving the policy and regulatory tools, perfecting the protection and inheritance regulations, continuously increasing financial investment, and working hard to promote intangible cultural heritages, the province is doing an impressive job building institutions and teams to protect intangible cultural heritages and recording obvious achievements in the protection, including gradually employing digital technologies. Gansu has registered new accomplishments in the systematic protection of intangible cultural heritages.

Innovative approach

Currently, the "intangible cultural heritage+" featuring integration of fields has become an important characteristic of the innovative development of intangible cultural heritages, which is mainly manifested in "intangible cultural heritage+tourism", "intangible cultural heritage+e-commerce", "intangible cultural heritage+cultural innovation" and other combinations. Guizhou has rich intangible cultural heritages such as Miao People's Folk Songs (Feige), Dong People's Folk Songs (Dage), ethnic embroidery, batik. In recent years, Guizhou has vigorously designed rural tourism routes themed on "traditional farming culture+intangible cultural heritage+experience", transformed traditional villages into experience points for intangible cultural heritage research, launched boutique routes such as the Miao area intangible cultural heritage experience corridor, the long corridor of experiencing intangible cultural heritages, and developed tourism offerings to experience intangible culture heritages such as Miao New Year Celebration, Yao Medicine Bath and Health Care Tour, and Duyun Maojian Tea Production Experience Tour. Presently, the transformation and utilization of intangible cultural heritage have become an important approach to promoting the tourism industry in Guizhou.

In fact, there are many such cases. For example, the Grand Tang Mall in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, attracts tourists from all over the world primarily through paper-cut creations, clay sculptures, shadow puppetry, Western Qin embroidery, Qin Opera masks, and other intangible cultural heritage crafts and derivatives, making the mall a must-visit tourist destination, especially for young people; The Xiguan Yongqingfang Tourist Area in Guangzhou of Guangdong Province incorporates a number of non-traditional fashion shows with gold-embroidered skirts and coats in the Lingnan folklore "Touring Flower Market", a big eye-opener for visitors; In Qingjiang Gallery Scenic Area of Changyang Tujia Autonomous County in Yichang of Hubei Province, tourists can experience the intangible cultural heritage crafts such as Tujia brocade, handmade insoles, and straw sandals, and immerse themselves in the local customs.

In the new epoch, China is well positioned to make contributions and walk proudly into the future. The country will remain committed to creative transformation and innovative development, improve the systematic protection of the intangible cultural heritages, protect, inherit and develop the intangible cultural heritages by exhibiting great cultural confidence to ensure the diverse and profound intangible cultural heritages are passed on from generation to generation while keeping pace with the times. In this way, the "intangible cultural heritages will showcase a new look and radiate fresh brilliance", thus unleashing the power of the times.