First law aimed at protecting intangible cultural heritage to take effect

China’s first law for the protection of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) will take effect Wednesday.

Approved in February by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the law has been hailed by experts as a milestone in China’s efforts to better preserve its traditions of historic, literary, artistic and scientific value.

According to the law, the State Council and provincial governments must create lists of representative ICH for national and local levels, respectively. 

Governments at all levels will assist with intangible cultural heritage preservation efforts in ethnic minority areas, remote areas and poverty-stricken areas.

Aside from providing effective protection, the law also encourages the development of cultural products and services based on rational use of the representative ICH items.

The law also supports representative heirs in carrying forward ICH items and conducting follow-up training of relevant personnel.

Cultural authorities must provide necessary places and funds for representative heirs to pass on related skills and knowledge and encourage participation in non-profit social activities, according to the law.

The law also states that foreign organizations and individuals, before conducting surveys of ICH, will be required to first obtain approval from cultural authorities that are at least on the provincial level.

Also, foreign organizations and individuals must submit their research reports along with copies of on-site data and pictures during the survey.



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