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UNESCO Calls for Protecting Ethnic Costumes

DATELINE: KUNMING, July 4, 2000


Officials with the UNESCO are calling on nations to protect their ethnic costumes that are being challenged by modernity.

At an on-going forum here on the tradition of Miao costume, UNESCO officials say that a costume reflects an ethnic group's traditional value and concept, and is a carrier of a nation's culture.

Miao is an ethnic group mainly living in China and some southeast Asian countries. There are 10 million Miao people in the world, who have developed a unique way of dressing.

Experts are worrying that traditional techniques of clothing making are disappearing as a result of the popularity of synthetic fiber and the change of youngsters' tastes.

Nations should cooperate in protecting ethnic costumes, as an ethnic group usually live in several countries, says Mrs. Noriko Aikawa, an official with the UNESCO.

She urged that governments should work out plans in this regard.

Eleven countries, including China, France, the United States, Britain, Australia, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam and Laos are attending the meeting.