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First Intangible Cultural Heritage 

Inventory of Hong Kong

According to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (the Convention), each State Party has to identify and define the various elements of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) present in its territory, with the participation of communities, groups and relevant non-governmental organisations, to draw up ICH inventories as the basis for the safeguarding of ICH.


After the Convention came into effect in 2006, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR Government) planned to conduct a territory-wide survey on ICH in Hong Kong to collect research data for drawing up the first ICH inventory of Hong Kong. In 2008, the HKSAR Government set up the ICH Advisory Committee to steer the implementation of the territory-wide survey on Hong Kong's ICH. In August 2009, the HKSAR Government commissioned the South China Research Center (SCRC) of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to conduct a territory-wide survey of ICH in Hong Kong. After more than three years of studies, the survey was completed in mid-2013.


SCRC conducted extensive research and field work on nearly 800 survey cases. Taking into account the survey findings and after thorough discussion, the ICH Advisory Committee recommended a draft ICH inventory of 477 major items and sub-items.


To gauge public views on the draft inventory, the HKSAR Government launched a four-month public consultation from 10 July to 9 November 2013. During that period, apart from the views of the 18 District Councils and Heung Yee Kuk, the HKSAR Government also received a number of written submissions from individual members of the public and organisations. After considering all views received, the ICH Advisory Committee finally recommended the first ICH inventory of Hong Kong, increasing the number of items from 477 to 480. This was accepted by the HKSAR Government and promulgated in June 2014.


The distribution of the 480 items included in the first ICH Inventory of Hong Kong under the five domains of the Convention is set out below:




Major Items 

Sub- Items

Sub- total *

Oral traditions and expressions 10 14 21
Performing arts 21 18 34
Social practices, rituals and festive events 74 248 292
Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe 4 3 6
Traditional craftsmanship 101 36 127
Total * 210 319 480

( * The sub-total and total figures are the numbers excluding the double-counted major items which carry sub-items.)


Based on the findings of the territory-wide survey and the first ICH inventory, the HKSAR Government will consult the ICH Advisory Committee to devise and enhance safeguarding measures as well as to update the inventory regularly.


If you would like to report any events and items which you consider are of significant value, please fill in the Reporting Form for Possible Inscription onto the ICH Inventory of Hong Kong and send it back to us by e-mail, mail or in person.

The ICH Advisory Committee deliberated on and endorsed the selection criteria of the ICH Inventory of Hong Kong as follows:
  1. the item is transmitted from generation to generation within particular groups or areas, reflecting its history and development in Hong Kong; 
  2. the item facilitates community relations and provides a sense of identity and continuity in the community; and 
  3. the item is compatible with international human rights instruments.