May 12 earthquake harmed China's cultural heritage

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New Delhi, June 16 : The 8.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Sichuan province on May 12, left many intangible cultural heritage relics severely damaged, the Chinese Cultural Ministry has disclosed.

Fourteen national-level intangible cultural heritage relics were damaged in Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu provinces, and Chongqing municipality. The ministry statistics on Saturday revealed that 15,009 precious items were destroyed; 27 museums and 17 folklore villages sustained severe damages.

The quake claimed lives of 25 researchers of Qiang culture, razed two intangible cultural heritage museums and seriously damaged a folklore museum, the ministry added.

Besides, 10 State-level intangible cultural heritage promotion individuals were injured in the quake, it said.

Sichuan province was the greatest sufferer as seven of its national-level intangible cultural heritage sites were destroyed, China Daily reported.

The quake severely jeopardized the unique intangible heritage of Beichuan, a Qiang ethnic minority autonomous county levelled by the tremor.

In addition, the quake damaged many of the region's stone castles, which are unique to Qiang culture, and destroyed a village famous for its Chinese New Year art works.

The greatest devastation took place in areas inhabited by Sichuan's 306,000 Qiang people, including Miaoxian, Lixian, Beichuan, Heishui and Wenchuan counties.

The ministry is incorporating intangible cultural heritage protection into the post-quake reconstruction plan to strengthen the restoration and protection.

In addition, the ministry will send expert teams to quake-affected areas to conduct field research and make a detailed plan to assist intangible cultural heritage carriers pass their skills on to more people.

It will also speed up construction of an ecological reserve for Qiang ethnic culture.

ANI

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