The June 12 this year marks the 16th China Cultural and Natural Heritage Day. This year's event highlights 'People's Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), Shared by People'. Popular activities more accessible to folks on the street were held across the nation to showcase the integration of ICH and life, and ICH's benefits to life.
In Beijing, the 2021 ICH Shopping Festival was held, gathering more than 20 ICH inheritors including Yaoxiang (herbal aroma), Beijing Embroidery and Linglong Pillow, and 18 ICH and time-honored brands including Tong Ren Tang (pharmacy) and Nei Lian Sheng (fabric shoes). Guqin (an ancient musical instrument), Wuhan Nursery Rhyme and Wudang Chunyang Shadow Boxing were presented at Wuhan ICH Exhibition. In parallel, some ICH handicrafts like Su Heng Tai Oiled Paper Umbrella and Figure Carving, and ICH food including Wuchang Steamed Fish, Lao Qian Ji Bean and Sugar Painting were among the favorites of the locals.
ICH is a cultural treasure of the Chinese people. China now is actively exploring various methods and measures to bolster ICH protection and inheritance to elevate it to stardom.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the promulgation and implementation of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Law of the People's Republic of China. Over the past 10 years, China has continued to beef up ICH protection. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, 37 new local protection regulations were added, resulting in the constant build-up of legislations for ICH protection. As of now, a total of 42 intangible cultural heritage items in China have been inscribed on the UNESCO roster, ranking first in the world.
It is worth mentioning that IPR protection is very important for ICH protection and inheritance. Take Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for instance. TCM is an important part of ICH. At present, 137 traditional medicine items have been listed on the national ICH representative items. With regard to the IPR protection of TCM, China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) facilitates TCM protection via patents, while sparing no effort to join hands with relevant government agencies in drafting rules to better protect TCM.
In terms of inheritance, ICH originates from work and life, and only by being integrated into modern work and life can it be better "lived" and passed on. In a bid to enhance the design and aesthetic skills of the inheritors, a research and training program for them was launched. They went to colleges and universities to learn professional knowledge, traditional skills, and exchange views, which laid a solid foundation for them to create works combined with practicability and aesthetics. In recent years, with the rise of Guochao (China has seen a surge in young consumers' interest in domestic brands and products that incorporate Chinese traditional style and culture, a trend known as Guochao), the cross-border cooperation among domestic and foreign popular brands and ICH have added fire to the trend and are favored by young people.
From Peking Opera, the quintessence of China, to the effective TCM acupuncture and then to the flexible Taijiquan (shadowboxing), these intangible cultural heritages with a long history have become important medias for "telling Chinese stories and spreading Chinese voice". Now, Chinese ICH is flourishing in the new era by continuous improvement of the ICH protection.