An exhibition on the history and development of Tibet has drawn much public attention since it opened on Wednesday at the Cultural Palace of Nationalities in Beijing.
Some 160 exhibits and 400 pictures provide glimpses of the great changes that have taken place in Tibet over the decades. They left a deep impression on visitors over the May Day holiday.
Among the visitors taking careful notes, a boy named Ren Jiamu, about 10, kept muttering: "Horrible!" as he followed his grandma around at a gallery of old photos showing the lives of the serfs and the torture instruments prevalent at the time.
Many families chose to bring their children to the exhibition instead of recreational venues over the holiday.
Xue Qinglin, a teacher from Lankao city of Henan province, wrote in the visitors' book: "This exhibition is significant as it shows the truth about Tibet. Without the Party, the Tibetan people would still be suffering under the cruel rule of serf owners."
Loqu, an young guide who was narrating Tibet's history till the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), pointed at an old drum and a broken qin (an ancient Chinese instrument) and said they were just two of the precious cultural relics brought by Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty to Lhasa in AD 641. Her marriage with Songtsen Gampo, great ruler of the Tubo Kingdom, signified the alliance of Tibetan and Han people.
"The stories about Princess Wencheng are real. She has left lasting influences on Tibet," Loqu said, adding that biwang, a popular Tibetan string instrument, had originated from the pipa, another instrument brought by the Han princess.
Loqu comes from an ordinary Tibetan family in Lhasa and graduated last year from the Communication University of North China in Beijing. She has been working at the administrative office of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, from where all six guides at the show were picked.
Loqu's colleague Tenzin Drolkar said some visitors seem to know much about Tibet's history and asked interesting questions. She said all guests were deeply interested in the subject.
At the China Central Television's online coverage of this exhibition, a netizen who used the name "Pangguanzhe Qing" (sober observer), said "the phrase 'Tibetan independence' is groundless and even ridiculous".
"There's enough evidence that Tibet had become a formal part of China when Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty in 1271. The central government strengthened its control over Tibet and succeeding Tibetan religious rulers all actively sought the central government's recognition and support," said the netizen.