China needs to better enforce its law on the protection of intangible cultural heritage, at a time when most heritage items remain endangered, a renowned scholar said Sunday.
China passed the Law for Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection in 2011 but not a single case of enforcement has been reported, said Feng Jicai, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee and a counselor to the State Council.
Since 2006, China has listed more than 1,200 items as state-level intangible heritage and another 8,500 as provincial-level ones, a rich and diverse collection that is rare in the world, according to Feng, who is known for writing stories of his hometown of Tianjin, as well as practising calligraphy and painting.
But those heritage items are mostly endangered, he said, blaming a lack of action in terms of policy implementation and supervision by government departments and local authorities.
For most heritage items, there is no team of experts offering scientific know-how on its protection, Feng said.
Many heritage artists have to leave their native homes for tourist destinations to earn a living as street performers, he noted.
Feng also told reporters that more than 1,500 ancient villages have gained state recognition but funds and standards for their protection and future development are not in place.
"I am pleased to see we have established a few aspects of a protection system, but for the problems, I am worried," Feng said. "And I am much more worried than pleased."
Intangible cultural heritage can be defined as song, music, drama, crafts and similar skills that can be recorded but not touched or interacted with.