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White Paper (2008): Protection and Development of Tibetan Culture
2008-09-30

2008/09/30
Protection and Development of Tibetan Culture





Contents


Information Office of the State Council
of the People's Republic of China

25 September 2008, Beijing

 

 

 

Foreword

China is a unified multi-ethnic country. Tibet is an inseparable part of China, and the Tibetan ethnic group is an important member of the big family of the Chinese nation. The Tibetan ethnic group has a long history and a splendid culture. Tibetan culture is a lustrous pearl of Chinese culture as well as a precious part of world culture.

The Tibetans have been living on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau generation after generation. In a tough environment with unique natural conditions, they have demonstrated vitality and tenacity in pursuing a happy life. In their long history, the Tibetans have created a substantial, distinctive and diverse culture of their own through the understanding, adaptation, remaking and development of nature, society and themselves, and through cultural communication, integration and interaction with the people of the Han and other ethnic groups and peoples of southern and western Asia. Tibetan culture encompasses the indigenous spoken and written languages, philosophy, religion, medicine, astronomy and the calendar, music and dance, drama and folk performing arts, architecture, sculpture and painting, and arts and crafts. The Tibetan people have developed their culture by means of interaction and fusion with other cultures, especially that of the Han people. Over the centuries, Tibetan culture has remained a spiritual pillar for the Tibetan ethnic group.

Tibet had long been a society languishing under a system of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule, a society which was even darker than the European society of the Middle Ages, until the mid-20th century. Before 1959 the 14th Dalai Lama, as a leader of Tibetan Buddhism and also head of the Tibetan local government, monopolized both political and religious power. The serf owners, accounting for less than five percent of the total population of old Tibet, possessed all the means of production and cultural and educational resources in Tibet, monopolizing the material and cultural wealth of the region. The serfs and slaves, making up over 95 percent of the total population in old Tibet, suffered destitution, cruel oppression and exploitation, and possessed no means of production or personal freedom, not to mention access to culture and education. The long centuries of theocratic rule and feudal serfdom suffocated the vitality of Tibetan society and led to the decline of Tibetan culture.

The founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 brought hope to the protection and development of Tibetan culture. Through the peaceful liberation in 1951 Tibet shook off imperialist invasion and trammels, ended its chronic isolation and stagnancy, and created the basic conditions for realizing progress and prosperity along with the rest of China. After the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the Central People's Government actively helped Tibet protect and recover its traditional culture, and develop its modern cultural, educational and health sectors, opening up a completely new chapter for the development of Tibetan culture. The Democratic Reform in 1959 abolished theocratic feudal serfdom, while ending the monopoly of the minority of nobility and senior monks over culture and education. The broad masses of serfs and slaves were politically, economically and mentally emancipated, and became the real masters in protecting, developing and enjoying Tibetan culture. The reform made Tibetan culture a people's culture, and inaugurated a promising future for its development.

Over the past half century, and especially since the adoption of the reform and opening-up policies in 1978, the Chinese government has attached great importance to the protection and development of Tibetan culture. With great enthusiasm and a highly responsible attitude, and in accordance with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Law on Ethnic Regional Autonomy, the Chinese government has dedicated a large amount of manpower, materials and funds to the protection and promotion of fine traditional Tibetan culture, and vigorously developed modern scientific, educational and cultural undertakings in Tibet, bringing about unprecedented protection and development of Tibetan culture.

This white paper is published to give the international community a better understanding of the reality of the protection and development of Tibetan culture, citing facts to expose the lie about the "cultural genocide" in Tibet fabricated by the 14th Dalai Lama and his cohorts, exposing the deceptive nature of the "cultural autonomy of Tibet" they clamor for, and to further the protection and development of Tibetan culture.

 

 

 

I. Learning, Use and Development of the Spoken and Written Tibetan Languages

A member of the Han-Tibetan language family, Tibetan has been an important tool of communication for the people in Tibet over thousands of years, and an important symbol and carrier of Tibetan culture. It holds a special position among the diverse languages and cultures of the Chinese nation. For over a half century, the Chinese government has attached great importance to guaranteeing the Tibetan people's right to learn and use the Tibetan language, both the spoken and written, and has made huge efforts in promoting the learning, use and development of it, registering major progress.

The learning and use of the spoken and written Tibetan languages are guaranteed by law. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Law on Ethnic Regional Autonomy both clearly prescribe that all ethnic minorities have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written languages. The Tibet Autonomous Region issued and implemented the Several Provisions of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Learning, Use and Development of Tibetan (Trial) in 1987 and the Detailed Rules for the Implementation of Several Provisions of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Learning, Use and Development of Tibetan (Trial) in 1988, specifying that equal importance is given to both Tibetan and Chinese in Tibet, with priority given to Tibetan. In 2002, the Tibet Autonomous Region revised the above provisions for trial implementation into the Provisions of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Learning, Use and Development of Tibetan, providing a reliable legal guarantee in this respect. To promote this work, in1988 the Language Steering Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region was set up, later renamed the Language Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Tibetan language translation institutes have been established in all prefectures (cities) and counties. At present there are over 100 Tibetan language translation institutes and nearly 1,000 specialists in translation and relevant work in Tibet.

The spoken and written Tibetan languages have been widely learned and carried forward. In old Tibet, it was a privilege of the nobility and a few monks to learn the proper Tibetan language, whereas serfs and slaves, who accounted for 95 percent of the total population, had no right in this respect whatsoever. After the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the Central People's Government paid great attention to the learning and popularization of Tibetan, and made clear requirements for people who were to go to Tibet on learning, using and spreading Tibetan. In the 1950s it held short-term training courses on Tibetan, training courses for young people, social education courses, and training courses in agricultural technologies, finance and accounting, and movie-making technology in Qamdo, Lhasa, Xigaze and other places, encouraging, supporting and organizing people of all ethnic groups in Tibet to learn Tibetan as well as science and technology. After the Tibet Autonomous Region was set up in 1965, it was stipulated that schools of all kinds and at all levels must lay stress on the learning and use of Tibetan and strengthen work on the teaching of Tibetan. A bilingual teaching system was adopted in an all-round way in the educational sector of Tibet, with priority given to teaching in Tibetan. At present, Tibetan-Chinese teaching is adopted in all the farming and pastoral areas, and in some urban primary schools, with the major courses being taught in Tibetan. Tibetan-Chinese teaching is also adopted in high schools. Moreover, courses in the Tibetan language have been opened at Tibetan high schools in the inland areas of China. In the matriculation examinations for institutions of higher learning and secondary vocational schools, Tibetan is a subject of examination and the score is included in the total score. There are now 15,523 bilingual teachers and 10,927 Tibetan-language teachers in Tibet. Altogether, 181 textbooks, 122 reference books and 16 teaching programs covering 16 subjects from primary to senior high school have been compiled and translated in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Tibetan has been unprecedentedly popularized at all schools in Tibet.

The spoken and written Tibetan languages are widely used. Since the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region in 1965, both Tibetan and Chinese have been used for resolutions, laws and regulations adopted by the people's congresses at all levels, and official documents and public notices of people's governments and subordinate departments at all levels. During judicial proceedings, Tibetan is used in hearing any case involving Tibetan people, and the written Tibetan language is used for legal papers. Both Tibetan and Chinese are used for official seals, credentials, forms, envelopes, letter paper, writing paper and signs of all entities; logos of government departments, factories and mines, schools, bus and train stations, airports, shops, hotels, restaurants, cinemas, tourist attractions, sports venues and libraries; as well as signs for streets and traffic.

Since its establishment, the Tibetan People's Radio (TPR) has persisted in making good Tibetan radio programs. It now has 42 programs broadcast in standard Tibetan, including 21 hours a day for news in Tibetan, and 18 hours a day in the Kamba dialect. The TPR's annual capacity for dubbing Tibetan TV programs increased from 1,200 hours in 1996 to 9,235 hours in 2007. The Tibet Television Station formally opened a Tibetan satellite TV channel in 1999. With 21 Tibetan programs, and films and TV dramas dubbed in Tibetan, it is very popular among people of all ethnic groups in Tibet. Starting from October 1, 2007, Tibet satellite TV broadcasts 24 hours a day. Films and TV dramas dubbed in Tibetan reached 500 hours (639 episodes) in 2007, including 564 copies of films and 35 programs. Every year 25 new films dubbed in Tibetan are shown in farming and pastoral areas.

Tibetan book, newspaper and periodical publication is developing rapidly. There are nine publishing houses in China that publish books in Tibetan, including China Tibetology Publishing House, Ethnic Publishing House, Tibet People's Publishing House and Tibetan Ancient Books Publishing House. They publish more than1,000 titles in Tibetan every year. Many ancient Tibetan books previously kept in private libraries or with only one copy extant have been collated by experts, and then published and distributed. At present, there are 14 Tibetan periodicals and ten Tibetan newspapers in Tibet. Over 20 periodicals in China have Tibetan-language versions. The Tibetan version of Tibet Daily was expanded in July 2002 from 28 pages to 36 pages, and its daily circulation now reaches 25,000 copies. Tibetan newspapers and periodicals, such as Tibetan Science and Technology, Tibetan Scientific and Technological Information and A Guide to Help You Get Rich, are very popular among the farmers and herdsmen thirsty for scientific and technological knowledge in order to learn more experiences and master good methods in a bid to improve their lives and welfare.

There are now over 4,000 art and literary workers in the region, with 90 percent being Tibetans. There are ten professional performing art groups, four children's performing art groups, 18 folk art troupes, over 500 amateur village art and literary teams,and 160 Tibetan opera teams. These art and literary groups create programs and perform in Tibetan, and often go deep in farming and pastoral areas.

The spoken and written Tibetan languages are developing in all respects. In 1984 a Tibetan-script processing system compatible with Chinese and English versions was developed, and so precise Tibetan-script photo typesetting was realized. In 1997, an international-standard Tibetan character code was approved by the International Standards Organization, making the Tibetan script the first ethnic minority script in China with an international standard. At present, a Tibetan grammar framework and a grammar system have been set up for automatic machine processing in Tibet, and the work to enable automatic word segmentation and chunking identification of texts in the Tibetan script by machine is under way. A machine-based Tibetan-Chinese dictionary (120,000 entries) has been completed, while an electronic dictionary of Tibetan grammar needed for machine translation has been set up, laying a solid foundation for passing down, spreading and carrying forward Tibetan culture in the information age.

The application of computer technology and wide use of the Internet have provided a new platform for the learning, use and development of the Tibetan language. An advanced Tibetan-script editorial system, laser photo typesetting system and electronic publishing system developed independently in China have been widely applied in the press and publication field of Tibet. Through Tibetan platforms on the Internet and mobile phones, Tibetans can browse, read, listen to or watch domestic and world news and get access to various kinds of information. Tibetan has also been widely adopted for postal and telecommunications services in Tibet, including Tibetan telegram, Tibetan paging and Tibetan SMS. The advent of an identification system for Tibetan documents marked the prelude to a campaign to apply Tibetan script identification in the digitalization of the Tibetan language.

The standardization of Tibetan has also made great progress. In2005 the Rules on Translating New Words and Terms and Using Borrowed Words was drawn up. Altogether, over 3,500 Tibetan terms concerning the market economy and primary and high school education were approved and standardized, nearly 60,000 scientific and technological terms were approved, and over 8,000 terms concerning computer interfacing were translated and approved. Over the years, many Tibetan dictionaries and other language reference books have been published, including A Tibetan Dictionary by Geshe Chosta, A Comprehensive Tibetan Dictionary, A Tibetan-Chinese Spoken Dictionary, Chinese-Tibetan Glossary, Tibetan-Chinese Glossary, A Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary, A Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary of the Market Economy and A Tibetan-Chinese Law Dictionary. In addition, the Plan for Standardizing the Tibetan Language has been drafted, while the work to collect and collate materials for the Standard Manual for Transliterating Tibetan Personal Names into Chinese Characters has been completed.

 

 

 

II. Inheritance, Protection and Promotion of the Tibetan Cultural Heritage

The Tibetan cultural heritage is an important part of Chinese cultural heritage. The Central People's Government sets great store by the protection and development of traditional Tibetan culture, devoting a great amount of human, financial and material resources through legal, economic and administrative means to ensure the inheritance, promotion and development of the fine traditional culture of Tibet on the basis of effective protection.

Effective protection of historical sites and cultural relics. Since the Democratic Reform in 1959, the Central People's Government has attached great importance to the protection of cultural relics in Tibet by providing vigorous support in terms of policy, human and financial resources, and technology. As a result, institutions of cultural relics administration in Tibet have become more complete; the cultural relics protection system further improved, the cultural relics preservation contingent constantly strengthened; the cultural relics preservation system gradually improved; and the capability in the study and protection of cultural relics continuously enhanced. So far, the Tibet Autonomous Region has promulgated a dozen regulations, including the Regulations on the Protection of Cultural Relics, Interim Provisions on the Administration of Cultural Relics in Monasteries, Regulations on Fire Prevention at Historical Sites, Interim Provisions on the Administration of Scattered Cultural Relics and the Measures for the Protection and Administration of the Potala Palace. These regulations have brought the protection of cultural relics in Tibet onto the orbit of legalization and standardization.

The state has made two systematic surveys of cultural relics in Tibet (a third survey is currently underway), and a detailed survey of the relics scattered along the Tibetan section of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Line. As a result, the overall distribution, quantity and status quo of various kinds of cultural relics and sites have become clear, enabling endangered historical sites and relics to have been timely saved, excavated, sorted out and repaired; and over 20,000 widely scattered relics have been collected and put in museums. By the end of 2006, there were at least 2,330 registered historical sites of various types in the region, among which 329 had been put under protection at different levels, including 35 key ones under state protection, 112 under regional protection, and 182 under the protection of cities and counties. The Potala Palace is on UNESCO's World Cultural Heritagelist, and the Jokhang Temple and the Norbulingka have been included in its extended items. The cities of Lhasa, Xigaze and Gyangze are listed as national famous historical and cultural cities. Hundreds of thousands of cultural relics are now in the collection of museums in Tibet, among which over 10,000 are state-class ones.

Since the 1980s, the state has allocated a huge amount of funds to protectively repair key cultural relics sites in Tibet, restoring and opening a large group of key historical sites to the public. In the last two decades of the 20th century, the Central People's Government invested more than 300 million yuan to help Tibet renovate and open to the public over 1,400 monasteries, and to conduct scientific excavations of such Neolithic sites as Karupin Qamdo, Chokong in Lhasa, and Trango in Shannan Prefecture, thus filling blanks in the archeological studies of prehistoric Tibet. Key protection and repair measures have been adopted for the Jokhang Temple, the monasteries of Tashilhunpo, Sakya, Samye, Champa Ling, Shalu and Palkhor Chode, Mount Dzong (Dzongri) Anti-British Monument in Gyangze County, and the Norbulingka. In particular, from 1989 to 1994 the Central People's Government allocated 55 million yuan and a great amount of gold, silver and other precious materials for the renovation of the Potala Palace. In 2001, a special fund of 330 million yuan was apportioned to repair the Potala Palace, the Norbulingka and the Sakya Monastery. During 2006-2010, the central government will allocate 570 million Yuan for the repair and protection of 22 key cultural relics sites in Tibet. Such a colossal investment and large-scale renovation were unprecedented in China's history of cultural relics protection. In recent years, the China Association for the Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture and other non-governmental organizations have come into being in a succession, and they are playing a vigorous role in promoting the protection of Tibetan culture as well as its development.

Effective protection, inheritance and development of the intangible Tibetan cultural heritage. Since the 1970s, a group of institutions have been set up at the regional and prefectural (city) levels to rescue, sort out and research on the Tibetan cultural heritage. They have conducted extensive surveys on Tibetan folk literature and art, collected, sorted out and studiedliterature and art materials widely spread among Tibetans in aspects of drama, dance, music, ballads, folk songs, proverbs and folk tales. These efforts have resulted in the collection and collation of about 30 million words of written materials in the Tibetan and Han languages, over 1,000 academic papers on traditional Tibetan culture, and more than 30 research works on literature and art. Since 2003, the Central People's Government and the People's Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region have launched and implemented a project for intangible cultural heritage protection. Leading groups and special offices for this purpose have been set up at regional and prefectural (city) levels to conduct more extensive and thorough investigations throughout the region, to effectively save and preserve endangered cultural heritage items. A total of 19 townships have been named by the region as "homes of folk arts"; 120 items listed as representative works of region-level intangible cultural heritage, with 61 on the national intangible cultural heritage list; and 31 people placed on the list of representatives for national intangible cultural heritage. A large number of ancient Tibetan books and records have been saved from oblivion. The completion of the Tibetan volumes in the 10-tome series, including the Annals of Chinese Operas, A Collection of Chinese Folk Ballads, A Collection of Folk Dances of China's Ethnic Groups, A Collection of Chinese Proverbs, A Collection of Folk Performing Art Genres, A Collection of Folk Songs of China's Ethnic Groups, A Collection of Traditional Operas and Music and A Collection of Folk Tales, has put an end to the history of scanty records of Tibetan culture and art, and enabled a large number of major items of the Tibetan cultural heritage to be saved and protected in an effective way. The Life of King Gesar, a lengthy epic, had been passed down orally until the state placed it on the key scientific research project list. The state has set up a special body and earmarked special funds for the collection, collation and publishing of the masterpiece. So far, 5,000 hours of audiotapes have been recorded, over 300 volumes collected, with the publication of 120 volumes in the Tibetan language, 25 volumes in Mongolian, over 20 volumes in Han Chinese translation, and 20 monographs; and many volumes have been translated into English, Japanese and French.

The most favorable time for literary and art creation in Tibet. Traditional Tibetan art has been continuously updated and developed in combination with modern art. After the peaceful liberation of Tibet, literature and art workers from different ethnic groups went into the thick of life in Tibet to explore and inherit the fine aspects of the ethnic literature and art tradition. They created a lot of poems, novels, songs, dances, music and fine art works, films and photos, enriching Tibetan artistic forms and varieties while improving the overall artistic levels. In recent years, a large group of literary and art works made their debuts on the stage, such as the grand dance opera Mount Qomolangma; the song-and-dance performances Golden Years, Colorful Hada, Tibet in Paradise and Odes to Harmony; the drama Across the Summit; the new Tibetan opera Spring for Dokshung; and the new historical play Princess Wencheng which integrates Peking and Tibetan opera techniques. With refreshing themes and new contents, distinctive ethnic features and a strong feel of the times, these works have upgraded the overall level of the Tibetan performing arts, and greatly enriched and enlivened the cultural life of the local people of different ethnic groups. Princess Wencheng, in particular, has been honored as one of the ten recommended operas of the National Best Stage Art Project. In the last five years, the three region-level professional troupes created 34 new performing art works, and the seven prefecture-level professional troupes added over 300 new performing art works and other performances to their repertoires. They gave more than 3,000 shows for audiences totaling five million persons, winning over 40 national and 270 regional awards. There are also vigorous cultural exchanges between Tibet and the rest of the world. In the past three decades, 360 Tibetan cultural and performing art delegations totaling 4,320 people visited the United States, Canada, Russia and some 50 other countries and regions. Over 200 performing artists from some 30 countries and regions visited Tibet for cultural exchange and gave performances.

In old Tibet, there were no cultural establishments for the ordinary people. Today, however, a fairly complete network of public cultural facilities has taken shape in Tibet. There are now12 large modern libraries, two museums, six multi-functional public art centers, 37 county-level cultural activity centers, 22 satellite stations for sharing cultural resources, 175 township-level cultural centers, and 550 village-level culture rooms/halls. With the rapid development of the culture industry, there are now 2,596 cultural and recreational venues in Tibet, employing 18,350 people, and over 3,000 cultural travel agencies, artistic advertisement and decoration services, art galleries, holiday resorts and parks. The establishment of these public cultural facilities and the development of the culture industry are playing an increasingly important role in improving the local people's cultural life and promoting Tibetan culture.

Accelerated development of Tibetan medicine and pharmacology. With distinctive Tibetan characteristics, Tibetan medicine and pharmacology forms a unique part of traditional Tibetan culture. Yet in old Tibet there were only three small official medical organs - the "Mantsikhang" (Institute of Tibetan Medicine and Astrology), the "Chakpori Zhopanling" (Medicine King Hill Institute for Saving All Living Beings) in Lhasa, and the Hall of Gathering Immortals in Xigaze - with fewer than 100 medical staff in total and serving mainly high officials, nobles and senior monks. They were not accessible to the ordinary people. Since the Democratic Reform in 1959, the state has input a huge amount of funds to develop Tibetan medical and healthcare services for everyone. By the end of 2007, there were 18 hospitals of Tibetan medicine, and all county hospitals had set up Tibetan medicine clinics. At present, there are 650 beds for Tibetan medicine treatment, 1,484 staff members working in Tibetan medicine hospitals and clinics, and 678 rural and folk medicine doctors. In2007, Tibetan medicine institutions provided treatment to 489,000 patients, including treatment to 7,340 in-patients. The production of Tibetan medicine has also developed from workshop manual labor to modern industry, being brought into the orbit of standardization, regulation, mass production and scientific management. There are now 18 Tibetan medicine production enterprises, turning out over 360 types of Tibetan medicines, all of which have been included in the list of medicines covered by medical insurance. In 2007, the output value of Tibetan medicines reached 660 million yuan, with a sales revenue of 450 million yuan. Some Tibetan medicines are sold in other Chinese regions and even abroad.

Great achievements have been made in scientific research and education concerning Tibetan medicine. The Tibetan Medicine Research Institute of the Tibet Autonomous Region and other Tibetan medicine institutions at all levels are actively carrying out scientific research into Tibetan medicine, and have collected, collated, edited and published a number of medical works of high academic value, including the Chinese Medical Encyclopedia: Tibetan Volume, A Complete Collection of Tibetan Astronomy and Calendar, Ganlu Materia Medica, The Four Medical Tantras (Tibetan-Chinese bilingual edition), A Complete Collection of the Eighty Colored Tibetan Medical Thangkhas of the Four Medical Tantras, Mirror of Crystal Tantra, Diagnostics of Tibetan Medicine and Complete Prescriptions of Tibetan Medicine. The establishment of the College of Tibetan Medicine in 1989 has enabled the teaching of Tibetan medicine to be transformed from traditional methods to modern medical education. By 2007, some 1,200 students had graduated from the college (including two-year students), and 56 graduates had received doctoral or master's degrees. Now the college has an enrollment of 1,194 students, with 54 postgraduates. The old science of Tibetan medicine and pharmacology is now full of vigor and vitality, playing an important role in improving the health conditions of the Tibetan people and bringing benefits to mankind as a whole.

 

 

 

III. Religious Beliefs and Native Customs Respected

Tibetan Buddhism is the faith of the majority of the residents of the Tibet Autonomous Region. It is an important component of Tibetan tradition and culture. Over a long course of historical development, the Tibetans have developed their unique customs and lifestyle. Since the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951, the Chinese government has set great store by respecting the freedom of religious beliefs and customs of the various ethnic groups living in Tibet.

Old Tibet practiced theocracy, like that in the Middle Ages of Europe. The upper class, represented by the Dalai Lama, dominated the politics, economy and culture of Tibet, and controlled the "admission" of the followers of Tibetan Buddhism to paradise. Under the system of theocracy and religious autocracy, the ordinary people had no freedom of religious belief at all. Such a system proved to be a tight fetter on people's minds and social functions. The Democratic Reform toppled the decadent and outdated theocracy and the religious regime controlled by the Dalai Lama and other living Buddhas, and separated religion from politics. The monasteries were put under democratic management, thus providing an institutional guarantee for the freedom of religious belief.

The state has placed Tibetan Buddhism under effective protection as part of traditional Tibetan culture. To satisfy the needs of religious believers, great endeavors have been made by the state for the preservation of monasteries, cultural relics and sites of historical significance. The Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, and the Drepung, Sera, Ganden, Tashilhunpo, Sakya and many other monasteries are placed under the protection of the state or the autonomous region, which allocate a large amount of funds annually for their repairs. Since the 1980s, more than 700 million Yuan and a large quantity of gold and silver have been appropriated from the central and local revenues for repairing a large number of religious sites. Today, there are more than 1,700 religious venues in Tibet, accommodating over 46,000 monks and nuns. The murals, sculptures, statues, Thangkas, sutras, ritual implements, and Buddhist shrines have been well repaired and protected.

A large quantity of religious documents and classics have been collected, collated and published. Traditional sutra printing shops of monasteries still operate and are developing well. There are nearly 60 large printing shops, including those of the Meru Monastery and the Potala Palace, producing 63,000 titles of sutras a year, available at 20 non-government-funded sales outlets. In 1984, the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region presented the Lhasa version of the Tibetan-language Kangyur to the Tibet branch of the Buddhist Association of China, and gave funds to the Lhasa Sutra Printing Shop to produce more woodblocks for the monasteries in and outside Tibet. In 1990, the government allocated 500,000 yuan to Lhasa's Meru Monastery to engrave a new woodblock edition of Tengyur, and the 160 volumes so far engraved are now being printed. This is the first time that Tengyur has been engraved and printed in Lhasa.

The state has appropriated 40 million yuan and organized more than 100 Tibetan-language experts to finish collating Tibetan versions of Tengyur and Kangyur within two decades. Now all 124 volumes of Kangyur are available, and 108 volumes of Tengyur are to be published by the end of 2008. So far, 1,490 volumes of Kangyur have been printed; Tibetan Buddhist classics on rituals, biographies and treatises have also been printed and distributed. In 1998, The Kangyur of Bon Religion was compiled and published by the Tibetan-language Classics Press of Tibet, and The Tengyur of Bon Religion, by the Tibet People's Publishing House. A large quantity of other Buddhist works, such as On Pattra-leaf Scriptures and History of Bon Monasteries in Tibet are also available in bookstores.

Normal religious activities and beliefs protected by law. The Buddhist associations have been set up in the Tibet Autonomous Region as well as its seven prefectures (cities). The Tibet branch of the Buddhist Association of China runs the Tibetan Buddhism Academy, Tibetan-language sutra printing shop and Tibetan-language journal Tibetan Buddhism. The state has established the China Tibetan-Language Academy of Buddhism to train senior Tibetan Buddhist personnel. More than 100 living Buddhas and eminent monks from Tibet have studied there. Various traditional Buddhist activities are carried out in a normal way - from sutra studies and debates to the conferring of academic degrees and ordination. As a unique way to pass on Tibetan Buddhism, the living Buddha reincarnation system has received respect from the state, and 40-odd living Buddhas have been approved in line with religious rituals and historical practice.

Religious activities in Tibet are rich in content and diverse in form. Since the 1980s, more than 40 religious festivals have been resumed. Believers are free to take part in the Sakadawa Festival, Shoton (Yogurt) Festival and other religious activities. Everywhere in Tibet, sutra streamers, Mani mounds and masses of believers engaging in religious activities can be seen. Many believers have sutra rooms or shrines in their homes, and they often circumambulate monasteries and sacred places, go on pilgrimages, or invite monks or nuns to conduct Buddhist services.

Tibetan customs and lifestyle respected and protected. Since Tibet's peaceful liberation, the Chinese government has respected and protected the customs and lifestyle of the Tibetan and other ethnic groups in the Tibet Autonomous Region, including respect for and guarantee of their freedom to conduct religious and folk activities.

Over the past 50 years or so, the Tibetan and other ethnic minorities living in Tibet have preserved their traditional garments and ornaments, diet and housing styles, and are free to celebrate their traditional festivals. Some decadent, backward practices related to feudal serfdom and despising laboring people have been discarded and replaced with modern, civilized and healthy fashions. In Tibet, people celebrate national and international festivals, such as National Day, March 8 Women's Dayand May Day, in addition to traditional and religious festivals, such as Tibetan New Year, Bathing Festival, Ongkor (Bumper Harvest) Festival, Butter Lamp Festival, Dharma Festival, Burning Offerings Festival, Garchachen Festival and horse race fairs. They have also brought into being such modern events as the Yarlung ArtFestival in Shannan, Khampa Art Festival at Qamdo, Mount Qomolangma Art Festival at Xigaze and Azalea Festival at Nyingchi. With the fine Tibetan traditions integrating with modern ideas and cultures, Tibetan folk culture has adopted a new character.

 

 

 

IV. All-round Development of Modern Science, Education and the Media

Since its peaceful liberation in 1951, along with the drive for modernization, in Tibet not only the fine traditional Tibetan culture has been inherited, protected and promoted, but modern scientific, educational, journalistic and cultural undertakings have also been developing in an all-round way.

A historical leap has been achieved in education. In old Tibet, there was not a single school in the modern sense. Access to education was restricted to members of the aristocracy, the broad masses of laboring people were robbed of any opportunity for education. Since the peaceful liberation, the state has adopted vigorous measures to develop education in Tibet. Between 1952 and 2007, the state's investment in Tibet totaled 22.562 billion yuan,of which 13.989 billion yuan was invested from 2002 to 2007. In addition, various other provinces and municipalities also rendered energetic support to the development of education in Tibet in terms of manpower, materials and finance. So far, more than 7,000 teachers have been selected to aid Tibet in this respect. Since 1985, the state has adopted the measure to cover all tuition as well as food and boarding expenses for students in the stage of compulsory education from Tibet's agricultural and pastoral families. In 2007, the state again decided to exempt all primary and junior high school students of all tuition and other fees, thus making Tibet the first place in China to enjoy free compulsory education. In recent years, the state has increased its investment in improving school facilities and learning conditions, spending 1.85 billion yuan between 2000 and 2006 on new school buildings and their expansion, totaling 1.5 million sq m in floor space. From 2004 to 2007, 133 classrooms equipped with computers were built, in addition to 983 distance-education locations served by satellites and 1,763 educational resource systems. As a result, most of Tibet's primary and high schools possess hi-tech teaching facilities. Tibet has already formed a relatively comprehensive education system ranging from preschool education, nine-year compulsory education to secondary education, higher education, vocational education, distance education, correspondence education and special education.

The educational and cultural levels have been noticeably improved. Now in Tibet, there are 884 primary schools, 94 high schools and 1,237 teaching stations, with a total enrolment of 547,000. The illiteracy rate has fallen from more than 95 percent in old Tibet to the present 4.76 percent. The enrollment rate for school-age children has risen from 2 percent in old Tibet to the present 98.2 percent, and the enrollment rate for junior high schools has reached 90.97 percent, basically ensuring free nine-year compulsory education. At present, there are 14 senior high schools and nine schools with both junior and senior high school education, with the enrollment rate for senior high schools hitting 42.96 percent; seven secondary vocational schools, with students totaling 19,000 in 2007; and six colleges and universities, with students numbering 27,000 and an enrollment rate of 17.4 percent. There are 30,652 teachers in primary and high schools, colleges and universities, among whom teachers of the Tibetan or other ethnic minority groups account for more than 80 percent. Throughout the country, 33 schools have classes specially for Tibetan students, including 19 junior high schools, 12 senior high schools and two teacher-training schools. In addition, 53 key senior high schools in inland China enroll students from Tibet. By the end of June 2008, a total of 34,650 Tibetan students had been admitted to these schools, and at present the number of Tibetan students has reached 17,100. The higher education admission rate of these Tibetan classes in inland China has exceeded 90 percent. Meanwhile, over 90 inland colleges and universities have admitted students from Tibet, with a total of 5,200 students still studying, and 15,000 having already graduated. Large numbers of highly educated Tibetans, including some with Ph.Ds and MAs, as well as scientists and engineers, have become a major force in promoting Tibet's development.

Modern science and technology in Tibet started from scratch, and developed rapidly. The state has adopted a number of policies, laws and regulations, and invested a large amount of money to promote the development of science and technology in Tibet. At present, Tibet has 42 scientific research institutions, 56 academic groups of various kinds, 140 institutions at different levels popularizing agricultural and animal husbandry skills, 37 science and technology demonstration bases and locations, five key laboratories and three research centers of engineering technology. There are 42,525 professionals of various kinds, with Tibetans and people of other ethnic minorities accounting for 74.04 percent. From 2000 to 2007, Tibet completed 613 key scientific research projects, including 148 key national ones. Tibet has made remarkable achievements in science and technology, especially in the fields of cosmic rays observation, plateau atmosphere, deep geophysical exploration for the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, prevention of geological hazards such as mudslides, development and utility of clean energy including geothermal and solar energy, plateau medicine, etc. Certain achievements have taken the lead nationwide and even worldwide. By 2007, the rate of contribution from science and technology to Tibet's growth in the agricultural and pastoral sectors had reached 36 percent, with the farmers and herders being the greatest beneficiaries.

An unprecedented advance has been made in Tibetology research. In old Tibet, Tibetology research was confined mainly in the "greater five aspects of knowledge" (skill, medicine, philology, logic and religion) and the "lesser five aspects of knowledge" (poetry, rhetoric, rhythm, opera and calendar), focusing primarily on religion and serving the interests of the aristocrats and senior monks, an extremely small proportion of the Tibetan population. Nowadays, Tibetology has become an important discipline of China's social sciences and an important undertaking serving the country as well as the Tibetan people. There are now more than 50 Tibetology research institutions in the country, including the China Tibetology Research Center, with nearly 3,000 Tibetology experts and scholars. Tibetology is now a fairly complete research discipline in China and enjoys high reputation among the Tibetology circles throughout the world. China has compiled and published hundreds of Tibetology monographs, including A Comprehensive History of Tibet, A Historically Produced Unity, Historical Documents of Tubo Kept in Dunhuang, and Artistic Exchanges between Tibetans and Han Chinese in the Yuan Dynasty; edited and published over 400 Chinese-language collections of historical documents on Tibet, such as Old and New Tang Books - Historical Materials in Tibetan, The Ming-dynasty Records - Historical Materials in Tibetan, and The Qing-dynasty Records - Historical Materials in Tibetan, more than 70 collections of ancient Tibetan documents, including The Collected Works of Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen and The Collected Works of Tonpa Sherab, as well as more than 24,000 papers on Tibetology published in various newspapers and magazines.

The press and publishing industry in Tibet is flourishing. Old Tibet had no publishing houses in the modern sense, apart from a few workshops for printing Buddhist sutras using printing blocks. Now, Tibet has two publishing houses for books, and two for audio-visual products. Some 250 million volumes of over 11,300 titles, written in the Tibetan or Chinese language, have been published, including 3,000 Tibetan-language titles, of which 200 titles, such as Annotations of the Four Medical Tantras, A New Edition of Tibetan Medicine and Encyclopedia of Tibet, have won national awards. There has been a 20-percent annual increase in the production of Tibetan-language books for five consecutive years. Since its establishment in 1989, the Tibet Audio-Visual Publishing House has put out more than 100 audio-visual and electronic publications, including Tibet Today, Nangma and Thoeshey, Tibetan Light Music and The Ngari Area of Tibet, and distributed over 330,000 audio and visual products. There has been a 13-percent annual increase in the production of audio-visual products for five consecutive years. Currently, Tibet has 35 printing houses of various types, widely applying such new technologies as electronic typesetting, off-set lithography, electronic color separation and multi-color printing. A book distribution network has covered the entire region. In 2002-2007 alone, 10.08 million yuan had been invested in building or expanding 35 Xinhua Bookstores, bringing the total number of these shops to 67. There are now 272 distribution units that distribute more than 40 million books of over 200,000 titles every year. Moreover, the region has invested over 18 million yuan to build a new logistics distribution center, each day distributing 560,000 copies (discs) of books, newspapers, audio-visual and electronic publications of 50,000 titles.

Old Tibet had only one lithographically printed newspaper in the Tibetan language in the last years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), titled The Tibet Vernacular Newspaper, and its print-run was fewer than 100 copies a day. Now, Tibet has 57 openly distributed newspapers and periodicals - 23 newspapers and 34 periodicals. Each of Tibet's seven prefectures and cities has a Tibetan newspaper and Han Chinese newspaper. In 2007, Tibet published 55.50 million copies of newspapers and 2.67 million copies of periodicals, both boasting a double-digit growth for five years in a run. Magazines such as Tibetan Studies and Tibet Travels have won national magazine award nominations and key social science magazine awards.

No radio, film or TV industry existed in old Tibet. Over the 50-odd years since the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the central and regional finance together allocated 1.2 billion yuan for the development of Tibet's radio, film and TV industry. Relevant departments in the central government as well as other provinces have also rendered great support to Tibet in technology, personnel, materials and equipment, helping to train a large number of professionals for it. In 2007, Tibet had nine broadcast and radio stations, 39 medium-wave transmitting stations, 76 FM radio transmitting and relay stations of 100 watts or above, 80 TV transmitting stations of 50 watts or above, 76 cable TV transmitting stations above the county level, and 9,111 radio and TV stations at the township and village levels. All these have made radio and TV coverage rates in Tibet reach 87.8 percent and 88.9 percent, respectively, achieving the target of extending broadcast and TV coverage to each administrative village. Currently, the Tibet People's Radio Station provides four programs, broadcasting 79 hours and 55 minutes a day, while the Tibet TV Station operates three channels, airing programs 59 hours and 30 minutes a day. The Tibet Cable TV Network Transmission Center can receive and transmit 50 analog cable TV programs and 90 digital TV programs as well as 11 radio programs a day. Besides, all the prefectures (cities) and some counties have set up their own cable TV networks, marking the initial formation of a radio and TV network covering the whole region. In addition, there are 559 movie-projection agencies, 82 movie-projection management agencies,472 projection teams and 7,918 projection locations in Tibet's farming and pastoral areas, covering 98 percent of the region's administrative villages, with each person watching 1.6 movies per month for the region's farmers and herders.

New media forms, such as the Internet and mobile phones, have quickly developed as a new force in terms of their popularization and applications. Tibet started its Internet construction in 1997,achieved broadband Internet access in 1999, and created its first website - "Window on Tibet" - in 2000. At the end of 2007, Tibet had 760 websites, 82,858 Internet subscribers and some 200,000 netizens, accounting for six percent of the total population of Tibet. Mobile phone services were launched in Tibet in August 1993,with a switchboard capacity for only 4,500 mobile subscribers, as well as only one base station. Now, Tibet has over 8,300 base stations and 800,000 mobile phone subscribers. New media have become major channels enabling the Tibetan people to keep up with current events, and have rapid access to information as well as leisure and amusement. These media have enriched the local people's spiritual and cultural lives and brought Tibet closer to the rest of the world.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

Facts show that there has been no "cultural genocide" in Tibet at all over the past half century and more. On the contrary, the traditional culture of Tibet has been appropriately inherited, effectively protected and vigorously promoted, while modern Tibetan culture, oriented toward modernization, the future and the rest of the world, has opened up to the outside world and achieved rapid and all-round development propelled by Tibet's economic and social development. Tibetan culture is blooming with new vigor and energy in the new age and profoundly influencing the life of Tibetans and the development of Tibet's modernization through its diverse content and innovative forms. Moreover, with its unique charm, Tibetan culture is attracting worldwide attention, enriching the diverse cultural heritage of the Chinese nation and influencing that of the world as a whole. It is safe to say that the situation concerning the protection, prosperity and development of Tibetan culture in any historical period of old Tibet bears no comparison with the situation in Tibet today, and the achievements in this regard are undeniable to anyone who respects facts.

It deserves the utmost notice that the 14th Dalai Lama and his clique have spread the rumor about the "cultural genocide" in Tibet to the world in defiance of objective facts. It is known to all that the 14th Dalai Lama and his clique are the chief representatives of the backward feudal serfdom system and culture of theocratic rule and religious despotism that used to prevail in Tibet, as well as the vested-interest monopolists of the political, economic and cultural resources of old Tibet. The Democratic Reform in 1959 abolished the feudal serfdom system and overturned the unfair ownership and distribution system of Tibetan cultural resources, which had been monopolized by a small number of feudal serf owners. Furthermore, the reform removed theocratic rule and religious despotism over social and political life, cleared away the decadent and backward cultural scum which had been obstructing social progress and development, accomplished the democratization and modernization of Tibetan culture, and freed the productive forces of Tibetan culture, enabling Tibetan culture, protected and carried forward as a common spiritual wealth of all Tibetans, to keep up with the times and develop prosperously. Facts prove that the 14th Dalai Lama and his clique are the representative and guardian of the backward culture of old Tibet, and that China's Central People's Government and the local people's government of the Tibet Autonomous Region are the ones that truly protect and develop Tibetan culture.

The 14th Dalai Lama and his clique fled abroad nearly half a century ago, and have never made any efforts for or contributions to the protection and development of Tibetan culture. However, they absurdly claim themselves to be "protectors of Tibetan culture." They have clamored about the "cultural genocide" in Tibet for the sole reason that their cultural despotism and cultural system along with their cultural privileges and vested interests have been irretrievably destroyed due to the irresistible development of Tibetan culture. The 14th Dalai Lama and his clique's clamor for "cultural autonomy of Tibet" is essentially a political conspiracy to restore theocratic rule over the culture of Tibet and other Tibetan-inhabited regions, and thus realize the "independence of Greater Tibet." Such a scheme of historical retrogression is bound to fail.

It is an overwhelming historical trend for the times to move forward, society to progress and culture to develop. The world is in an age of intensified globalization and informationization. People who conform to the mighty trend of modernization will prosper, while those who do not will perish. Any people or culture can only retain its characteristics and life force by conforming to the trend of modernization, keeping up with the times, and following the path of inheritance and innovation, protection and promotion, and opening-up and development. The 14th Dalai Lama and his clique and the anti-China forces in the West conspire to force the Tibetan ethnic group and its culture to stagnate and remain in a state similar to the Middle Ages, in effect to become living fossils, while they themselves enjoy the fruits of modern civilization and culture. Such an attempt must have ulterior motives. The people of Tibet and other ethnic groups in China will absolutely not fall for such a scheme. 

 

 

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