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Cantonese opera may become world heritage
2005-02-28 00:28:28 

BEIJING, Feb. 28-- Cantonese opera could receive world heritage status under a proposal being considered by the Ministry of Culture.

The Chinese arts research institute is now studying a joint submission from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, with a view to presenting the art form to UNESCO for consideration in the 2007 listings.

They originally wanted to recommend it be included in the U.N. cultural body's world heritage list for 2005 as an"oral and intangible heritage of humanity."

But the ministry had already decided to recommend Uyghur Muqam, traditional folk music from Xinjiang, for this year's list.

"If they finally choose Cantonese opera, they will try to recommend it for the world heritage list in 2007 as it is compiled every two years," a spokesman for Hong Kong's Home Affairs Bureau said.

Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao announced in November 2002 that they would join forces to work on a recommendation. If approved by UNESCO, the government would be obliged to instigate a policy aimed at preserving the traditional opera.

In 2003, UNESCO proclaimed 28 new world heritage listings and 19 in 2001.

Kunqu opera, the oldest form of Chinese folk opera, and the guqin, a seven-stringed zither, have already been given world heritage status.

The selection criteria includes the art form's creativity, cultural roots and the danger of disappearing either through a lack of safeguards or processes of rapid change.

(Source: Shenzhen Daily/Agencies)

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