Preparations have begun for Shaolin kung fu's application to be placed on the World Intangible Heritage list, a cultural official of central China's Henan Province said Thursday.
An official with the Henan Provincial Cultural Bureau said thatthe listing application has to be approved by the Chinese Ministryof Culture before a final submission is presented to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Shaolin Temple, built in 495 in the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-581) and located in the Songshan Mountain area in Henan Province, is the birthplace of the Shaolin kung fu.
The ancient Shaolin transcripts documented 708 groups of "kung fu", 545 groups have survived.
Shi Yongxin, abbot of the Shaolin Temple, said that Shaolin kung fu basically serves religious and cultural purposes and should not be separated from Buddhism.
Shi said Shaolin Temple values the study of the religious and cultural functions of Shaolin kung fu. The temple has set up a team of monks to practice Shaolin kung fu, a library for displaying books and audio-visual products about Shaolin kung fu, an academy for studying Shaolin culture, which consists of Zen of the Chinese Buddhism, martial arts, medical sciences and arts.
The temple even organized international seminars and created Shaolin kung fu plays and cartoons to more clearly position "Shaolin kung fu" within the Buddhist framework and publicize Shaolin kung fu around the globe.
Wang Wenzhang, director of the China Arts Institute, said Shaolin culture incorporating Zen, martial arts, medical sciences and arts is a gem of the traditional Chinese culture and should bewell protected and further popularized.
Shi Yongxin said inclusion on the World Intangible Heritage list would be a good opportunity for the protection and study of Shaolin culture.