Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in November 2012, President Xi Jinping has put forward a series of major discourses on promoting the inheritance and innovation of excellent traditional Chinese culture, which shows the Party's strong confidence in traditional Chinese culture and high regard for archaeological work.
In the last five years, cultural heritage conservation has become no longer just the duty of certain government departments, but the responsibility of society as a whole.
The first national survey of movable cultural relics was launched in 2012 and will be completed by 2020, and a database containing identity tags for State-owned artifacts will be established. Let's take a look at what the nation has achieved in protecting Chinese culture during the last five years.
Photo by Shi Yu/China Daily
1. Related policies and regulations:
The State Council released Regulation on Museums, which was effective March 20, 2015. The regulation asked museums to properly conserve and manage collections, and laid down specific rules for the establishment, change of management and closure of museums.
In 2015, the Ministry of Culture formulated a job specification on the rescue record of the national-level intangible cultural heritage representative inheritors, as a support to the rescue record of 268 inheritors.
In February 2016, the Ministry of Culture issued a regulation on the blacklisting of "harmful cultural products" in China. The blacklist will target content such as pornography and the "cultural products" include live performances, visual arts, computer games, publications, movies, and TV and radio programs. No application for licenses or permits for blacklisted products will be allowed.
In March of 2016, the State Council issued Guiding Opinions of the State Council on Further Strengthening the Work relating to Cultural Relics, which has made arrangements in implementing responsibility, strengthening protection, expanding utilization and strict enforcement of law.
In October 2016, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage issued a suggestion on promoting the rational utilization of cultural relics, which brings forward many specific measures to make cultural relics come alive. It also announced a notification on strengthening revolutionary-related cultural relics work, which launched a three-year action plan on the maintenance and protection of previous revolutionary sites.
In March 2017, The Plan on Revitalizing China's Traditional Crafts was approved by the State Council, and was drafted by the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and Ministry of Finance. The plan aims to inject momentum into the protection of Chinese culture and heritage. It calls for better management of the industry and increased market competitiveness, with substantial improvements to be made by 2020.
2. Newly added world cultural heritages:
The cultural landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list on June 22, 2013. [Photo by Che Jinyang/China Daily]
3. Cultural relic protection achievement
The Zhusuan, otherwise known as the Chinese abacus was listed as an intangible cultural heritage at the 8th Annual UNESCO World Heritage Congress on Dec 4, 2013. [Photo by Wang Kaihao/China Daily]
Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor was designated as a World Heritage Site on June 22, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
The Grand Canal was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list on June 22, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
Tusi Sites was added to the World Cultural Heritage List in July 2015.
Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape was added to the World Cultural Heritage List in 2016.
Gulangyu Island, known in the local dialect as Kulangsu, joined UNESCO's world cultural heritage list on July 8, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
The last five years have witnessed a large increase in the number of cultural relic units and their practitioners all over China. The number of cultural relic units has increased from 6,124 in 2012 to 8,954 in 2016, while the number of practitioners rose from 125,155 to 151,542. For more details, please see the above chart.
According to the Annual Report on Cultural Development released by China's Ministry of Culture, by the end of 2016, there were 3,318 cultural relic protection and management institutions, as well as 4,109 museums in China. This indicates that, over the years, the government has invested more manpower and financial resources into the protection of cultural relics.
4. Protection of intangible cultural heritage
As a cradle of the world's intangible cultural heritage, China is striving to protect its traditional cultural and folk artistic forms from extinction in its modernized society.
Since the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Protection of Intangible Cultural Heritage became effective on June 1, 2011, China has entered a new phrase of comprehensive legal protection of intangible cultural heritage.
During the last five years, local governments have accelerated the move towards legislation on intangible cultural heritage. More than 22 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, including Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Xinjiang, Henan, have enacted local protection regulations on the intangible cultural heritage and traditional folk cultures.
By the end of 2016, China's State Council had announced 1,327 national representative intangible cultural heritage items, and the Ministry of Culture has confirmed 1,986 inheritors of these intangible cultural heritage items.
The annual national financial subsidy for inheritors of national intangible cultural heritage item has also increased to 20,000 yuan ($3,038) per inheritor in 2016. Workshops for cultivation of inheritors of national intangible cultural heritage items also have been carried out. In 2016, representatives from 57 colleges and universities participated in more than 180 workshops, and nearly 10,000 participants received training.
At present, about 8,720 intangible cultural heritage training centers and exhibition centers have been established all over the country.
China has established a comprehensive system to protect intangible cultural heritage, with legislation at its core.