Chongqing- The Chongqing, Hong Kong, and Macao Youth Nature Exploration Competition and Triple Show of Rongchang Intangible Heritage Experiences were held at Antao Town in Rongchang District of Chongqing on May 29th, 2021.
The event themed on Loving Nature in all Four Seasons provides an opportunity for young people to learn about the great rivers and mountains of their motherland whilst also fostering their own personal development, love of nature, and ecological consciousness.
Liu Huimin, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the Chongqing Municipal People’s Government, explained that the Youth Nature Exploration Competition would span the four seasons, where young people will record the flowers, grasses, trees, and herbs of their hometowns through notes, drawings, photography, speeches, and the collection of specimens.
“We will also establish the Chongqing-Hong Kong-Macao Nature Education Alliance based on this competition and invite schools, botanical gardens, animal parks, and research institutions to continue this journey of natural exploration.”
Rongchang District is bestowed with rich intangible cultural heritage and has made great achievements in exploration, inheritance, and protection over the past few years.
District leader Li Jinyu introduced how Rongchang currently has three national items of intangible cultural heritage, 23 at the municipal level and 125 at the district level. At the same time, there are four inheritors with national recognition, 22 recognized at the municipal level, and 466 at the district level.
In order to protect intangible cultural heritage, Rongchang has invested nearly 3 billion yuan into construction projects, including the Xiabu (Ramie cloth) Entrepreneurship Base and Antao Town and Xiabu Town. In addition, there have been over 70 activities held, such as training and contests, while more than 30 platforms such as national cultural industry demonstration bases and municipal cultural industry demonstration parks have been established to cultivate talented inheritors of cultural heritage in the future.
“We will continue to focus on cooperation through intangible cultural heritage projects, cultural exchange, and exhibitions to promote cultural tourism and economic development whilst fostering the interest of more young people,” commented Jiang Xingyu, director of Intangible Heritage Center of the Rongchang District Cultural Tourism Commission.
Ma Xin, deputy dean and professor of the Meishi Film School of Chongqing University stated that young people are the backbone of cultural protection and main hope for the future, so it is vital to foster a love for intangible cultural heritage through education and guidance.
“Chinese cultural heritage can achieve protection and inheritance through popularization in elementary schools, hobby classes throughout junior and senior schools, and then professional training in colleges and universities as part of a continuous process to foster skills and love for this heritage among future generations.”
As a traditional textile, ramie has the advantages of good air permeability, high water absorption, swift moisture dissipation, lightness, and durability. At present, 90% of ramie production worldwide originates in China and is popularly known as ‘Chinese grass.’ It is also the raw material used in Rongchang for ‘Summer cloth,’ an intangible cultural heritage item.
Ju Xueyong, a senior figure of Nanshan Botanical Gardens, stated that ramie accounts for only 1% of the domestic textile industry due to the relatively small scale of processing capabilities and planting area.
“In the past, ramie was made by hand, but the process has become more mechanized in line with industrial development. Nevertheless, the ramie industry still requires further breakthroughs in processing technologies.”
In recent years, Rongchang summer cloth has made numerous appearances in China International Fashion Week, thanks to the beauty of traditional culture and creative fashions using the material.
Young people in the modern era have a demand for clothing that is not only healthy and comfortable but also combines fashionable elements based on traditional culture.’ Stated Zhao Yiting, general manager and model for Chongqing Dingxing.
The fashion industry needs intangible cultural heritage such as Rongchang summer cloth, while fashion designers and models have a vital role to play for it to become a permanent feature on the international stage.
“In the next step, we will continue integrating fashion design and summer cloth so that intangible cultural heritage gains more international recognition and attracts the attention of ever more people, especially the youth,” added Zhao Yiting.
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