The Chinese government has established an national "Cultural Heritage Day" to be celebrated annually on the second Saturday of June, Culture Minister Sun Jiazheng said in Beijing Thursday.
Sun said the first "Cultural Heritage Day" would fall on June 10, with the theme "Protecting cultural heritage and safeguarding the spiritual homeland".
"The celebration will include a series of performances and exhibitions," Sun said.
It would feature an exhibition of ancient Chinese books and a selection of the best folk art.
The State Administration of Culture Heritage would undertake a nationwide review of cultural heritage protection work, while the National Library and Academy of Social Sciences would host seminars and forums and offer advice to the public on cultural heritage.
Sun called on museums, memorial halls and relic sites at all levels to open free to public on the first "Cultural Heritage Day".
He said Chinese legislation included more than 30 laws and regulations on cultural heritage protection in which the government had invested 7.89 billion yuan (900 million U.S. dollars) over the last five years. People from all walks of life had come to realize its importance.
China has 2,351 historic sites and 518 articles of intangible cultural heritage. Nearly 400,000 fixed relics have been registered on the mainland and another 20 million movable relics in museums.
Sun noted that China holds four of the 19 "masterpieces" of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity listed by the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO).
They are the 500-year-old Kunqu Opera, known for its graceful movements and poetic lyrics; the 3,000-year-old guqin seven-string zither; the Twelve Mukams, a 12-part suite of ancient Uygur music; and the Pastoral Song sung by a Mongolian ethnic group.