Protecting the Intangible Cultural Heritages
Like tangible cultural heritages such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, intangible cultural heritages like Peking Opera and Confucius-commemorating rituals are equally crucial. We should make our utmost efforts to preserve intangible heritages because, without their physical form of existence, they are in greater risk of extinction.
According to UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage(2003), all forms of social customs and habits, folklore, performing arts, rituals, oral traditions, festivals, traditional crafts and various knowledge and practices about nature and universe can be classified as intangible cultural heritages. As a country consisting of a great diversity of ethnic groups and with time-honored history and civilization, China abounds in intangible cultural heritages. Cultural heritages connect modern people with the historical past, allowing them to acquire a cultural and historical identity. Without cultural heritages, we would be rendered absolutely rootless and we would find it hard to cope with challenges at present and in the future.
However, the modernization process poses mounting threats to intangible heritages. Many people have a blind faith in the latest electronic devices. It is also pathetic to see elderly people in possession of such legacies pass away without transmitting them to the younger generation. Faced with those challenges, we should both preserve and renovate our ancestral heritages so that we can help contribute to the cultural diversity of the world and return to our spiritual homeland in this age of impersonal science and technology.