Celebrating the 1st Anniversary of the Inscription of Taijiquan on the UNESCO ICH List
—The Second Taijiquan Inheritance and Development Conference Officially Launch a Series of Activities in Henan Province, China
On December 17, 2020, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, the inscription of China’s Taijiquan, or Tai Chi, dating back more than 300 years, on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The inscription marks that Taijiquan, a shared cultural heritage item, is widely recognized by the international community. Following the ICH inclusion, Taiji enthusiasts from all parts of China gathered in Chenjiagou, Wenxian County, Henan Province, a key place that inherits the Taiji culture and the birthplace of Taijiquan, for the Opening Ceremony of Taijiquan Inheritance and Development Conference.
To ensure the continuity of Taijiquan preservation, relevant organizers opened The Second Taijiquan Inheritance and Development Conference in Chenjiagou, Wenxian County on December 17, 2021. The event, themed “Enjoy Taijiquan, Enjoy Well-being”, is co-organized by the Culture and Tourism Department of Henan Province, the CPC Jiaozuo Municipal Committee, and Jiaozuo Municipal People’s Government, under the auspices of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The Opening Ceremony showed a video message from the Department of ICH of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and saw the release of a schedule of activities celebrating the first anniversary of the inscription of Taijiquan on the ICH List by Li Peihua, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Wenxian County Committee and Governor of Wenxian County, and speeches delivered by representative inheritors of seven Taijiquan community programs. Subsequently, eight guests, including Jiang Jiding, Secretary of the Leading Party Group and Director-General of the Culture and Tourism Department of Henan Province, and Taijiquan inheritors jointly lit up the launch ball to open this year’s conference.
As the launch ball rose into the sky, the Taijiquan global flash mob campaign was initiated. The campaign featured uniform fist-and-palm solutes by global Taijiquan practitioners shown at major domestic cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, and at international landmarks such as the Times Square in New York and the Sydney Opera House, to celebrate the first anniversary of the ICH inscription of Taijiquan.
Over recent years, the CPC Wenxian County Committee and the county government have taken the inheritance, preservation, promotion, publicity and commercialization of Taijiquan very seriously. Relevant authorities hosted several major competitions and events, such as The First Taijiquan Inheritance and Development Conference, the International Taijiquan Exchange Competition, the International Taijiquan Summit Forum, and the National Wushu Taijiquan Open Competition. The Belt and Road China Tai Chi Culture World Tour and the Worldwide Taijiquan Practice Demonstration by 10 Million People in 100 Cities, in particular, had a positive influence across the world.
Wenxian County, the cradle of Taijiquan, has been developing cultural tourism segments associated with Taijiquan, such as Taijiquan plus tourism, wellness, training, or manufacturing, to carve out a unique, new industrial path. The county has also been improving local supporting services and facilities, including transportation, catering, accommodation, and tourism, which has effectively boosted the competitiveness and visibility of Chenjiagou Taijiquan Cultural Tourism Zone. Chenjiagou Taijiquan Cultural Tourism Zone is rated as a provincial-level tourist resort, one of the “2020 China Sports Culture Outstanding Projects”, one of China’s Top 10 Sports Tourism Attractions, and a provincial level Popular Science Education Base, Cultural Industry Demonstration Base, and Sports Tourism Demonstration Base.
Taijiquan, a symbol of traditional Chinese culture and a gem of Oriental culture, has become an important bond for Sino-foreign cultural exchanges. Taijiquan has been introduced to more than 150 countries and territories, with Taijiquan organizations established in more than 80 countries and territories and hundreds of millions of practitioners. Every year, about 800,000 Taijiquan enthusiasts would visit Chenjiagou for a pilgrimage in search of roots.
Yang Lei, Secretary of the CPC Wenxian County Committee, said, “Going forward, Wenxian will pursue the strategic goal of building a ‘Tai Chi Town of the World and Wellness Hub of China’. To this end, we will work on facilitating the inheritance, preservation, promotion, publicity, and commercialization of Taijiquan to increase its global influence and popularity. We will further leverage the role of Taijiquan in building a community with a shared future for mankind.”