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Official: Country's ethnic groups advancing

By Li Yao (China Daily)

16:52, May 18, 2012

Ethnic groups in China are on a steady course to balance economic advancement and cultural protection, a top official said on Thursday.

Tondrub Wangben, vice-minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, said ethnic groups in China enjoy improved living conditions, better education, healthcare and employment opportunities with financial support and favorable policies from governments at all levels.

China's embrace of ethnic diversity puts their traditional culture under effective protection. The past decade witnessed ethnic groups flourishing in literary and artistic works, and in cultural industries, such as the performing arts, film and publishing, the vice-minister said at a news conference at the State Council Information Office.

Ethnic groups are the bearers of 515 types of national intangible cultural heritage, accounting for 42 percent of the total in China, and of 13 items on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Intangible Cultural Heritage list, or 38 percent of the total in China.

According to the vice-minister, many regions have earmarked money for ethnic groups' cultural protection. For example, in Southwest China's Yunnan province, there is a fund of 20 million yuan ($3.16 million) a year for this purpose.

Ethnic groups with small populations have been given special attention. From 2005 to 2011, China gave 3.75 billion yuan in financial support, covering about 650,000 people from 22 small ethnic groups - each with a population of less than 100,000 - for economic development, improvement of living conditions and protection of cultural inheritance.

The same benefits now have been extended to 1.69 million people from 28 small ethnic groups, each with a population of less than 300,000.

Despite the expanded coverage of policy support, authorities will offer help and tackle the problems step by step as their capacity allows. Meanwhile, other ethnic groups have also benefited from these broad investments made in regional projects, he said.

These small ethnic groups will soon make spectacular appearances at the fourth National Ethnic Group Arts Festival, to be held in Beijing from June 7 to July 6, he said.

About 1,700 performers will bring 41 shows, including dance dramas, musicals, operas, acrobatics and symphonies, to major theaters in Beijing, said Wu Cuiying, spokeswoman of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission.

All the 56 ethnic groups in China will send delegations, including those from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, she said.

National ethnic group arts festivals have been held three times before - in 1980, 2001 and 2006 - co-hosted by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, the Ministry of Culture, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the Beijing municipal government.


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