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China Vows to Protect Ethnic Minority Culture

Xinhua, 17 January 2002

BEIJING, January 17 (Xinhua) -- China has vowed to protect indigenous arts and traditions in its efforts to raise the standards of living of ethnic minorities through economic development.

Official statistics show China has put around 6.4 billion yuan (771 million U.S. dollars) into cultural development of its ethnic minorities so far, Thursday's China Daily reported.

Li Dezhu, minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, said, The culture of ethnic groups can be developed into a major engine for local economic development.

Distinctive cultures and traditions of ethnic groups have become new tourist attractions in China and visitors enjoy various ethnic art performances when touring scenic spots.

Apart from the Han majority, China has 55 ethnic minorities who boast unique cultural heritage and mostly live in the remote inland or border regions.

These areas are characterized by harsh natural conditions, poor transportation and inadequate educational opportunities, which have severely hindered economic development.

In addition to preservation and development of ethic cultural heritage, Li said China encourages exchanges with other cultures, including those in other countries.

Li said, Exchanges are helpful in the development of ethnic culture and conducive to foreigners' understanding of the ethnic groups in China.