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Tai chi added to Unesco intangible cultural heritage list

Tai chi, a centuries-old Chinese martial art and an internationally popular form of exercise, has been added to Unesco’s cultural heritage list.

Tai chi has a massive, devoted global following. Millions of elderly Chinese people practise it every day in city parks, and celebrities and other public figures regularly make public references to their practice of it for the health benefits it is said to provide.

According to the Mayo Clinic in the United States, doing tai chi can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, improve aerobic capacity, energy and stamina, enhance the immune system and relieve joint pain.

The traditional Chinese martial art was born in the village of Chenjiagou, in central China’s Henan province, in the mid-17th century. It now has more than 100 million practitioners in more than 150 countries and regions, Xinhua reported.

When granting a coveted heritage listing, one of Unesco’s most important considerations is to assess if the subject of an application represents a “masterpiece of human creative genius”. Other factors include exhibiting an important interchange of human values and “to bear a unique, or at least exceptional, testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilisation”.

Taijiquan now has worldwide recognition for its value to all humanity.

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