Cultural sustainability with arts management, minority cultural education and tourism: A study of Miao intangible cultural heritage in Xijiang, China

Junge Cheryl DU

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


Culture is a key element in the sustainable development of a region. Ensuring cultural sustainability is essential to achieve sustainable, generation-to-generation benefits from development, which is fundamental to maintaining cultural diversity, inheriting history, and providing cultural resources as cultural capital from an economic perspective. Since many governments exploit cultural tourism for social and economic development, problems with cultural sustainability in ethnic minority areas have increasingly emerged.
The Miao group in Xijiang, China, is the target of this research. As in other ethnic villages, Xijiang adopted cultural tourism as an influential strategy to fuel economic development. This approach has been accompanied by growing concerns regarding how to protect and promote Miao culture or balance the use of Miao ethnicity as both a tourist attraction and a source of ethnic pride to achieve sustainable tourism development. However, the approach emphasizes the development of tourism and cultural commodities and is less considerate of the cultural sustainability, arts management, and ethnic cultural education of the Miao.
A mixed methods case study approach was employed to answer the research question. The study follows a convergent parallel design that combines a quantitative survey with qualitative methods (i.e. observation, interview, focus group, documentary analysis, and documentary photography) to ensure triangulation and complementarity.
The findings of the study from 2011 to 2016 demonstrate tensions between the constructs of Hanization versus ethnic identity, cultural preservation versus tourism development, and authenticity versus profit generation, all of which directly affect the cultural sustainability of regions. In Xijiang, Hanization challenges the cultural sustainability of Miao. Han capitalism has the dominant market share in Xijiang. Moreover, Hanization is reflected in school and community education. The residents of Xijiang exhibited a weak sense of cultural sustainability. From the perspective of policy makers, cultural sustainability refers to the preservation of cultural heritage, and the government has recognized the effective protection of Miao intangible cultural heritage as the premise of economic development. In fact, efforts for cultural preservation have been flawed. The development of Xijiang is profit oriented, and Miao cultural products have been questioned as inauthentic. Furthermore, attracting tourists and generating profits, as opposed to pursuing cultural sustainability, have become the determining factors in cultural programming, planning, and management practices.
This thesis develops a conceptual framework for achieving a balance between the preservation of cultural heritage and the development of cultural tourism, which implicates the equilibrium between the authenticity of cultural products and the pursuit of economic benefits. The report identifies four stakeholders in the cultural ecosystem: government officials and managers; local communities, including Miao indigenous people, immigrant entrepreneurs, and immigrant artists; tourists; and scholars. The thesis provides recommendations for featuring cultural sustainability in policymaking for arts and education. It also advises the formulation of a cultural tourism strategy for policy makers and arts managers to ultimately achieve sustainable development in Xijiang’s cultural ecosystem. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • LEUNG, Bo Wah 梁寶華, Supervisor
  • LEONG, Samuel, Supervisor
  • TSENG, Sun Man, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cultural sustainability
  • Arts management
  • Ethnic cultural education
  • Cultural tourism
  • Miao intangible cultural heritage
  • Alt. title: 關於居民對西江旅遊發展、非物質文化遺產保護、社區教育的意識和態度的調查
  • Alt. title: 文化可持續性與旅遊、藝術管理和社區教育:以中國西江苗寨苗族文化遺產研究為例
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2019.


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