This year, Taiji’s application has been submitted by China, and Yan Shuangjun, Zhang Liyong, and the many other Taiji advocates in Henan Province, and all over China, will be impatiently waiting for the outcome. Such impatience is somewhat ironic given the Taiji teachings of calmness, but for many, this is about more than simply another martial art making it one onto the list.
For some, it is its broader cultural associations in China which are most important. “It is not just a traditional activity; it is deeply rooted in many areas of Chinese culture, such as medicine, aesthetics and mechanics,” explained Zhu Xianghua, 40, the son of Taiji Master Zhu Tiancai in an interview with the Telegraph.
But perhaps most importantly for the Chinese Government is the soft diplomatic victory it would secure for the regime. As Yan Shuangjun told the New York Times earlier this year, “Compared with many other aspects of Chinese culture, Taiji is relatively practical and could help China expand its soft power.”
So, whilst it would be a big boon for Chinese Martial Arts to see Taiji listed, as those who follow Chinese politics closely, it is this and the threat of perceived cultural appropriation which seems to be behind this year’s renewed push for recognition.