Macau could apply for UN cultural heritage listing A bid to secure world cultural heritage status for Cantonese opera could be filed by Macau instead of Beijing, because of fierce competition on the mainland to have various art forms recognised. Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong have joined forces to work on a recommendation that Cantonese opera be included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) world heritage list in 2007, in an effort to broaden its appeal. Originally, it was decided that the submission would be put forward by Beijing on behalf of the three places. But they are now considering making the submission through Macau. Unlike Hong Kong, Macau's observer status on the UN's cultural body means it can make its own recommendations to the world heritage list. Stephen Chow Chun-kay, chairman of the government's advisory committee on Cantonese opera, yesterday said they were exploring this avenue. 'If Macau makes the application, there's no need to go through Beijing ... we're considering which has a better chance of recommending Cantonese Opera to Unesco.' It is expected the issue will top the agenda at the next joint meeting, due to be held later this month or in early April. Dr Chow added they would provide information on shen gong xi - a Cantonese opera performed in Hong Kong villages to pacify the gods - to increase their chances of success. The submission, compiled by Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong, is currently under consideration by the Chinese arts research institute of the Ministry of Culture. Beijing can only recommend one art form for the heritage list. Given the diverse art forms across the mainland, it is believed Cantonese opera would face an uphill battle to get the nomination. There were hopes Cantonese opera could have been included in this year's world heritage list, but Beijing decided to recommend Uyghur Muqam, traditional folk music from Xinjiang . Speaking after the advisory committee's meeting, Dr Chow also said that the developers bidding for the West Kowloon cultural district will brief members on their plans by the end of this month. 'We hope there will be a performance venue, a resource centre, an exhibition gallery and a school dedicated to Cantonese opera at West Kowloon,' he said. Dr Chow said they had proposed to the Leisure and Cultural Services Department that they build a subsidiary theatre to the Ko Shan Theatre, so performers have more venues.