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Historical site to be restored as witness of China's sovereignty over Tibet
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13:13, March 08, 2009

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China is planning to restore a historical pavilion in Lhasa, which witnessed for centuries the central government's sovereignty over Tibet during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), a local cultural relics administrator said Friday.

The historical site is called "Kyitselodin" in Tibetan, which literally means reception pavilion for Amban, central-government-dispatched minister to Tibet. The reception pavilion is 4 km to the east of the Potala Palace, the landmark religious complex and famous tourist destination in the regional capital of Lhasa.

Since 1727, the pavilion had been the venue for Tibetan dignitaries to receive or see off every Amban for nearly 200 years, said Zhang Hui, head of the municipal cultural relics administration of Lhasa.

"It is a historical witness of relations between the central government and Tibet, and also a symbol of central government's sovereignty over the autonomous region," Zhang said.

After the Qing Dynasty, the Amban reception pavilion continued functioning to connect Tibet with the central government.

In 1940, Chiang Kai-shek, then head of the central government, dispatched Wu Zhongxin, then Chief of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs, to attend the enthronement ceremony of the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso. Wu was greeted by local Tibetan officials at the Amban reception pavilion.

In April 1956, the preparatory committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region was established in accordance with the central government's decision. Some 30,000 Tibetans, including the 14th Dalai Lama and 10th Panchen Lama, gathered at the Amban reception pavilion to welcome the then Vice Premier Chen Yi-led delegation from the central government.

"These two events were very remarkable, for you can see that the local Tibetan, even 14th Dalai Lama himself, recognized and observed the jurisdiction of the central government," said Sonam Dawa, an archaeologist in Lhasa.

Unfortunately, the Amban reception pavilion, which used to be a scenic spot integrating traditional Tibetan architectural with the gardening style of Chinese hinterland, wore off throughout the years. Only dilapidated walls and broken wooden pillars featuring exquisite carvings are left

The regional government has approved a restoration project for the historical site. It will likely start in the this summer at a cost of 2 million yuan (292,826 U.S. dollars).

Traditional building materials, construction techniques and structural layout will be employed for the project, which will help maximize efforts to restore the original appearance of the historical site, according to Zhang Hui.

Sonam Chosphel, a local senior building engineer, said, "Though the project is a small one in construction scale, it will recall memory about a history that tends to be in oblivion or be obscured by someone deliberately."


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