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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Mahjong body stakes claim to heritage list

By Wang Huazhong (China Daily)

09:26, November 28, 2011

Gao Xiuzhen (left) from the Shaanxi Xijing Team and Tina Christensen (right), 39, president of the European Mahjong Association, at the Fifth China Mahjong Forum and Championship - the qualification game for the Third World Mahjong Championship - on a cruise in the Yangtze River's Three Gorges region in Yichang, Central China's Hubei province, on Nov 22. Wang Huazhong / China Daily

CHONGQING - A semi-official organization under the Ministry of Culture has said it will work with the World Mahjong Organization (WMO) to prepare a new application for the game to be included on the world list of Intangible Culture Heritage items.

Ma Xiaomei, president of the Chinese Promotional Committee of World National Culture Exchange, said that as many local mahjong associations have worked to promote the culture behind the sport and standardize the game rules, the environment will be favorable for a new application.

In 2007, the committee submitted an application to the ministry to include the game as an item of China's national intangible cultural heritage - a first step before applying to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to seek designation as an international heritage item. But the committee received no reply.

The new application will be innovative, in that it will engage Western and Eastern countries as joint applicants directly to UNESCO.

The measure will not affect the small quota that each country has for direct applications to UNESCO.

The secretary-general of the WMO, Jiang Xuanqi, said that the body consists of more than 20 national associations in the United States, Europe and Asia that will support the committee in the attempt.

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