Top Ten Events Related to Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in 2016 in China
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Posted by: Lorraine Cashman
By Juwen Zhang (Willamette University) --
Note: When UNESCO proposed the Convention [an international treaty] for
the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2003, China was
one of the first nations to sign it. [See http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/
.] Since that time China has been extremely active, not only in
proposing elements of Chinese traditional culture for inclusion on
UNESCO’s official international register, but also on recognizing
examples of traditional cultural expression and supporting ICH work at
the national, provincial, and local levels.
According to the Chinese Culture Journal (中国文化报, http://www.ccdy.cn/,
p. 8, Jan. 20, 2017), a newspaper published by China’s Ministry of
Culture, the top ten most important events related to ICH in 2016,
selected by the Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage at Sun
Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, are as follows:
1. Chinese Solar Terms Designated an ICH Item by UNESCO
24 terms, encapsulating knowledge of time and practices developed
through observation of the sun’s annual motion, were inscribed in 2016
on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of
Humanity, UNESCO’s official list of internationally accepted examples of
ICH. [See http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/purpose-of-the-lists-00807.]
2. Increased Stipend for Tradition Bearers
bearers began to receive a governmental stipend of RMB8,000 per person
per year [about $1,170 US] in 2008, which later increased to RMB10,000
[about $1,450 US] in 2011. This year, the stipend increased to RMB20,000
per person per year [about $2,900 US].
3. Renaming the "Cultural and Natural Heritage Day”
second Saturday of June was established as "Cultural Heritage Day” in
2006. Starting in 2017, this day will be called "Cultural and Natural
4. Training Program Grows
Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education launched a program of
training ICH tradition bearers in January 2016, along with 57 higher
education institutions. 160 training sessions were held during 2016, and
more than 10,000 tradition bearers participated.
5. White Book of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine Law
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) white book was first issued by the
State Council in December 2016. The new Traditional Chinese Medicine Law
was passed by the Congress in December 2016.
6. Publication of the Grand Collection of the Kunqu Art
Kunqu Art (Kun Opera), a performing art popular in South China, was
listed as the Representative Item of Human Oral and Intangible Heritage
by UNESCO in 2001, the first in China. Since then, many efforts from
various sources have been made to safeguard this tradition. The Grand Collection of the Kunqu Art was published in December 2016, as a result of reviving this tradition.
7. The ICH Blue Book
first blue book of Chinese ICH Development Report was issued in
November 2016 by the Institute of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage,
Sun Yat-sen University.
8. The ICH Forum between China and Central and Eastern Europe
The Forum was held in October 2016, by the Ministry of Culture in China, and the Department of Culture and Heritage in Poland.
9. The ICH Convention Training Class
ICH Department of the Ministry of Culture organized training classes on
the ICH for the administrators in departments of culture in central
government in October 2016.
10. The ICH Department in the Cultural Property Right Exchange Center
specific department was established in the Cultural Property Right
Exchange Center in Shenzhen in June 2016, the first in China for
coordinating ICH resources, commercialization, internationalization, and
for exchanging property rights.