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Special> China's Tibet: Facts & Figures> Culture/Customs
UPDATED: October 14, 2008 NO. 42 OCT. 16, 2008
Protection and Development of Tibetan Culture
Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
September 2008, Beijing

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 ray 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published hundreds of Tibetology monographs, including A Comprehensive History of Tibet, A Historically Produced Unity, Historical Documents of Tubo Kept in Dunhuang, and Artistic Exchanges between Tibetans and Han Chinese in the Yuan Dynasty; edited and published over 400 Chinese-language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 2002-07 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 55.5 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 6 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.


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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