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Northwest China county attempts to preserve endangered ethnic culture's traditions

12-20-2011 16:40 BJT

BEIJING, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- Governmental cultural agencies and volunteers are making efforts to save the endangered culture of the Yugur, an ethnic minority in northwest China, said a local cultural official on Tuesday.

As an ethnic group with a population of about 11,000, the Yugur has its own language, but no characters, making it hard to preserve its rich cultural traditions, said Zhong Li, a culture bureau official of Sunan, China's only Yugur autonomous county in Gansu province.

The rich heritage of the Yugurs contains folk tales, legends, proverbs and ballads, and are on the verge of extinction, as young people have turned their backs on the traditions due to modern influences, Zhong said.

"Fewer than 100 people, mostly seniors, maintain their ethnic traditions, and the traditional dance of the Yugur has been lost," she said.

"If we don't take tangible measures, the traditional Yugur culture will die," she warned.

Zhong and her colleagues have visited more than 300 herders' families in Sunan and had 400 ballads, 100 folk tales, 13 epics, 576 proverbs, 120 riddles and more than 9,000 words and phrases recorded via cameras and recorders in the past decade.

In addition, a volunteer association from Lanzhou University in the provincial capital helped the Yugurs set up a children's chorus in July.

The association invited elders to teach the children Yugur folk songs, said An Ni, a member of the group.

An and her companions have called on more people to join them. "With our efforts, the precious traditional culture can be handed down from generation to generation," An said.

China's Ministry of Culture has listed the Yugur language, folk songs, trappings and wedding customs on the state-level protection projects, sources said.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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