Tai Chi, a centuries-old martial art and now a popular form of exercise, was inscribed on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on Thursday evening (Beijing Time). Another honored entry is "Wangchuan ceremony and related practices for maintaining the sustainable connection between man and the ocean," which was nominated by China together with Malaysia.
Originating during the mid 17th century in Wenxian county in Henan province in central China, it is now practiced throughout China by people of all ages and by different ethnic groups.
Tai chi's basic movements center on wubu (five steps) and bafa (eight techniques) with a series of routines, exercises and tuishou (hand-pushing skills, performed with a counterpart).
The wangchuan ceremony and related practices are rooted in folk customs of worshipping Ong Yah, a deity believed to protect people and their lands from disasters.
The element evokes the historical memory of ancestors' ocean-going and honors the harmony between man and the ocean. It also bears witness to the intercultural dialogue among communities.