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Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (CHP) is a small grassroots, legally-registered NGO working to protect cultural heritage across China.

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China hopes that a “Cultural Heritage Day” will Restore Cultural Self-Confidence

Based on a proposal from several members of the Political Consultative Committee, China is considering establishing a Cultural Heritage Day to change the nation’s attitude towards traditional culture. This is exciting news and we eagerly await the government’s decision, as the lawful establishment of a Cultural Heritage Day needs to be approved by the national government. Unlike other nations, China prefers to choose a well-known traditional festival day, such as Dragon Boat Festival Day, to celebrate a national day like a Cultural Heritage Day. 
 
During the 60s and 70s, when the “Proletariat Great Cultural Revolution” was unfolding, China’s traditional culture was severely harmed. When the associated feelings ( “Destroy the ‘Four Olds’, root out the remnants of feudalism”) had not yet completely passed, and before the damaged culture had been restored, China embarked on an era of “reformation and opening”. During this era, which began in the late 70s and is still continuing today, Chinese people’s economic level and freedom of thought and speech were all greatly improved. However, one of the terrible consequences of a long period of national isolation, poverty, and dictatorial rule, was that many people developed a negative attitude towards their own cultural traditions. From the 90s, China clearly lost consciousness of its own cultural roots, and cultural self-confidence disappeared. An ever increasing number of Chinese, including the top leadership of the Communist Party, began to express strong dissatisfaction and unease with this state of affairs.
 
The loss of cultural self-confidence and destruction of cultural heritage are caused by many factors. There are measures to protect cultural heritage and these include educating and training government officials, carrying out lawful cultural heritage work, and tough punishment for corruption. 
The establishment of Cultural Heritage Day will not directly lead to strengthening cultural self-confidence or stopping the destruction of cultural heritage. However, it will be a big step in the right direction.  Because of this, all those who are concerned with cultural heritage protection should be delighted.
 
 
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