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BISU graduate participates in UNESCO World Heritage Application
Updated: January 26, 2024

Zhao Lingfei, a BISU graduate from Class 2016, participated in the application of UNESCO World Heritage of the Cultural Landscape of Old Tea Forests of the Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er, Yunnan province.


Jingmai Mountain, located in Pu’er, Yunnan province

Zhao acted as an interpreter for the expert team visiting Pu’er for over half a month. During her time in the small county, she accompanied the experts at their daily meals, visits and immersive cultural experiences, and translated and proofread some application documents.


Zhao Lingfei, an outstanding alumnus from Class 2016

She felt stressed out at first, as the work required extensive knowledge about both tea culture and local people’s daily life, as well as high professional language skills and the ability to make quick response.

"The team leader expects me to act like a local and let the experts feel our professionalism and hospitality," she said.

In order to grasp the knowledge, Zhao had followed the Chinese experts during their site visits and taken notes, asking questions and searching for more information later. Gradually, she understood the whole picture of the task.  


Zhao (R) follows the Chinese experts who visit the villagers.

Once, during a visit to a villager’s house, Zhao encountered her biggest challenge. The locals were using colloquial language to describe how to make roasted tea, yet Zhao didn’t know the exact words to use in interpreting. If she omits the information, the effect of the visit will be diminished.

Instead of losing heart, she spent more time studying tea culture, delving into the commonly discussed subjects to improve her way of interpreting.

“I faced a lot of pressure, but I also received a lot of help. It is truly a fantastic journey of stepping out of my comfort zone," said Zhao, letting out a big sigh after finishing all the tasks.

The Cultural Landscape of Old Tea Forests of the Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in September 2023, bringing the total number of World Heritage sites in China to 57 and making it the world's first cultural heritage site with a tea theme.


Villagers pluck tea in Jingmai Mountain.  

During the application process, the expert evaluation is a pivotal step, as the evaluation report is submitted for review by the UNESCO staff, influencing their decisions to some extent.

Once listed in the heritage directory, the mountain will attract more attention and resources, which will definitely improve its preservation and promotion, according to Zhao.  

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