Tai Chi Nominated for UNESCO List of Intagible Cultural Heritage

By Prei Dy, | March 28, 2017

China nominated Tai Chi on UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. (YouTube)

China nominated Tai Chi on UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. (YouTube)

China has nominated ancient-old martial art Tai Chi to be included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The nomination was made by Wenxian county of Henan province and has been in the making since 2006, when the country created its first national intangible heritage list and included Tai Chi.

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"For the past decade, we have collected materials, gathered a lot of masters and experts together to discuss tai chi culture and tried to restore the centuries-old history of tai chi," Zheng Aizhen, chairman of the Wenxian Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said. "As a precious traditional Chinese legacy, we all have a responsibility to protect it."

China initially attempted to obtain the UNESCO status for the martial art form in 2008. However, the application was withdrawn, saying it was "too vague." Tai Chi was one of the 35 nominations China made that year.

In 2009, the rules limited the nominations into two. China nominated Peking Opera and acupuncture; both made it to the UNESCO list.

China Daily reported that the latest attempt comes amid speculation that South Korea and Japan could make similar nominations. "Both... were trying to get tai chi registered. South Korea has already registered Dragon Boat Festival as theirs, so we should be alarmed," Zhang Liyong, a deputy of the National People's Congress, said.

"If we fail again in our application, or if it is registered by South Korea, it will be a great pity," Chen Xiaowang, a tai chi master, said, noting that tai chi invented in Korea is based on the fictional character from a kung fu novel written by Louis Cha.

Tai Chi is a centuries-old martial art that mixes flowing movements with deep breathing and meditation. Chen said that its history could be traced to creator Chen Wangting in the mid-17th century. Although tai chi could have roots in self-defense, it has gained popularity as a therapeutic exercise that promotes safety and reduces stress.

Meanwhile, the official decision is expected to come later this year.

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