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Preserve the past to live the future

Updated: 2015-03-12 10:46:27

( Chinaculture.org )

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Ancient Hui-style houses, featuring black tile roofs and white walls, are well-kept and maintained in Huangling, East China's Jiangxi province. Huangling was a half deserted village on the middle of a mountain before policeman-turned-entrepreneur Wu Xiangyang was engaged. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Compared with architecture and historical sites, intangible cultural heritageis more vulnerable during urbanization, said Hu Xiaoyu, a master in intangible cultural heritage at Sun Yat-sen University, who now works with a Guangzhou-based cultural company.

"Driven by economic benefits, the rural communities are posed with very serious brain drain, and suffer a talent loss in folk art much more than in the city." He said.

"When it comes to people, if the skill they inherited was considered socially-inferior in the past, or, economically uncompetitive in the present, the inheritors usually lack the motivation to pass it on," he added. "After all, ordinary people are most concerned with whether they can put food on the table every day."

The protection of intangible cultural heritage has made great progress since China joined UNESCO's Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2004.

In 2011, intangible cultural heritage finally left legal limbo as the Law of the People's Republic of China on Intangible Cultural Heritage came into effect. Under the law, inheritors who fail to perform their succession obligations without legitimate reason can be removed from the list.

Even though, the protection of intangible cultural heritage in rural areas will continue to face challenges, globalization, industrialization and urbanization will continue to devour the agrarian cultures where the beliefs, humanity, culture and traditions originate.

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