National Library of China to celebrate UNESCO’s ICH convention
Published: May 31, 2023 10:28 PM
National Library of China Photo: VCG

National Library of China Photo: VCG

To mark the 20th anniversary of UNESCO's 2003 convention on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH), the National Library of China will launch a series of celebratory events on Cultural and Natural Heritage Day (CNHD), which falls on June 10.

The library's new CNHD-focused program was introduced at a recent press conference held by China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism. 

As part of the program, an exhibition that focuses on Chinese tea culture is going to be a highlight event held at the National ­Museum of Classic Books in Beijing. 

Besides straightening out the origins and history of tea culture in China, the exhibition also includes another section called "The trade journey of tea."

Shanghai-based cultural sociologist Fang Qiongyi told the Global Times that "tea" for China is a "cultural totem" that reveals the country's "spiritual beliefs, ancient economic and social patterns and its way to connect with the world." 

In 2022, China's traditional tea-making was included on UNESCO's ICH list. The tea exhibition has also designed a special section that emphasizes this milestone. 

Another event introducing China's experience in ICH protection and ICH inheritors' stories will also be held by the library. 

Huo Ruijuan, the deputy director of the National Library of China, said that the exhibition will "systematically" showcase China's achievements across 43 ICH projects. 

"The value of inheritors is the core part of ICH protection," ICH protection expert Xue Ling told the Global Times. 

Other than exhibitions, six forums stressing the systematic protection of ICH resources will also be held. 

"We have invited experts and scholars in the field of ICH to introduce the meaning and value of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage," Huo noted.

China joined the convention in 2004, only a year after its introduction. The convention requires participant countries to inventory ICH resources, documenting those that need immediate rescue and also listing heritage resources that are of significant value for humanity. 

According to China's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, more than 9,800 ICH events and activities will be held nationwide during the 2023 CNHD. 

"Such specially designed events are also indicators that show how China has continued to fulfill its international role to facilitate the development of global ICH," Fang noted.