Ancient tea tree forest in Pu'er, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

On Sunday, the Cultural Landscape of Old Tea Forests of Jingmai Mountain in southwest China's Pu'er was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee assessed the site nominated by China and added it to the list as a cultural property at its extended 45th session, which is currently underway in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, making it China's 57th World Heritage site.

According to Li Qun, head of China's National Cultural Heritage Administration, the inclusion emphasizes the significance of China's role in the birth, planting and commerce of tea, as well as the global dissemination of tea culture.

"The Cultural Landscape of Old Tea Forests of Jingmai Mountain in Pu'er fills the gap in the theme of tea in the World Heritage List. It vividly demonstrates the long history and outstanding achievements of the Chinese tea culture, and highlights China's leading position in the birth, planting, trade and dissemination of tea culture worldwide. This project is a 'Chinese case' for the protection of 'living' cultural heritage. We will continue to do a good job in telling the Chinese story of tea cultural heritage to the world, strengthen exchanges and mutual learning with civilizations of other countries, and continue to contribute 'Chinese strength' to building a global community of shared future," Li said.

Lancang Lahu Autonomous County in southwestern Yunnan Province is home to the cultural landscape. The region stands out as an example of tea culture centered on the historic techniques of cultivating and conserving the old tea forests.

The Bulang ethnic group's forefathers moved to Jingmai Mountain around the 10th century, where they learned and amassed knowledge about wild tea bushes.

Together with the Dai people and other ethnic groups who arrived later in the region, they gradually adapted to the forest habitat, creating the distinctive understory tea growing model, a traditional planting style that has survived the widespread contemporary tea plantation technology.

The landscape evolved over a thousand years of preservation and control into a tea forest-plantation symbiosis that symbolizes the concept of harmony with nature.

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