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Thursday, July 13, 2000, updated at 16:58(GMT+8)

Development of Tibetan Culture: An Iron-clad Fact

The splendid ethnic culture of China's Tibet had long ago aroused the extensive concern and in-depth studies by Chinese and foreign experts in Tibetan studies. Recently, Our staff Reporter Zhao Chuandong had an interview with experts and scholars of the China Tibetan Studies Center in Beijing.

Reporter: What kind of discipline is Tibetan studies: What progress has been made in China's Tibetan studies?

Lian Xiangmin (deputy head of the Scientific Research Division of the China Tibetan Studies Center, who is a doctor): Tibetan Studies is a comprehensive discipline of all-round research on the Tibetan society; it covers multiple branches of learning, including politics, economics, history, religion, philosophy, written and spoken language, literature and art, law, Tibetan medicine and pharmaceuticals. Over the past 50 years, enormous achievements have been recorded in China's Tibetan Studies, the guiding position of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory has been established in China's Tibetan studies; and a systematic complete system for Tibetan studies, publishing and personnel training has been established. There are now more than 50 Tibetan studies institutions nationwide, with an excess of 2,000 people engaged in Tibetan studies. The saying "the Hometown of Tibetan Studies is in China" has become the common view of the Tibetan studies circles at home and abroad.

Reporter: What role has China's Tibetan studies played in promoting the development of Tibetan culture?

Lian: We can say with pride that whether in breadth or in depth, the level of China's Tibetan studies has surpassed traditional Tibetan studies, modern Tibetan studies and Foreign Tibetan studies. Take China Tibetan Studies Center for example, we have undertaken "the studies on the relationship between the Central Government and the Tibetan local authorities since the Yuan and Ming dynasties", a major subject as included in the "Seventh Five-year Plan" for national philosophical and social sciences, published a book composed of archives and historical materials running to 10 million words, which, with a great deal of conclusive historical evidence, fully proves that Tibet has, since ancient times, been an inalienable part of Chinese territory. Again for example, how did Tibet look like before the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951?Through achievements in the research subject regarding the social form of Tibet under the feudal serf system and with numerous irrefutable historical archives and social investigative materials, we reveal that the then Tibet was a "paradise" only for the upper-stratum monks and priests, nobles and serf-owning classes and was a hell for the serfs and slaves who made up 95 percent of Tibet's total population, and the Dalai Lama was precisely the chief representative of Tibet's feudal serf-owning classes, it was the serf-owning classes headed by him in those years that deprived the overwhelming majority of Tibetan people of their human rights, now he is prating noisily about safeguarding Tibet's "human rights", isn't this absurd to the utmost?!

Through studies, we have come to this conclusion: the Tibetan society must carry out the modernization drive, Tibetan culture must develop, and the Tibetan people have the right and are eager to enjoy the fruits of modern civilization. Facts have fully proved that since the founding of New China in 1949, Tibet's fine traditional culture have been properly protected and inherited and has been constantly carried forward and developed in the historical period.

Reporter: written and spoken language is an important carrier for the spread and inheritance of culture, how about the current situation regarding the study and use of Tibetan language in Tibet?

Soi'nam Doje (director of the Religion Research Institute under the China Tibetan Studies Center): currently, the Tibetan language is being widely studied and used in various aspects of Tibet's social life. Take several examples. Before liberation, Tibet did not have a single Tibetan newspaper, not a Tibetan broadcast station or television station, but now Tibet boasts 24 titles of newspapers and magazines. The Tibet Daily in Tibetan has a daily circulation of 16,000 copies. The Tibetan People's Broadcasting Station broadcasts in the Tibetan language for 14.5 hours a day, the Tibetan Television Station broadcasts Tibetan programs for 24 hours a day through special channels on satellite television. Judicial, posts and telecommunication and other departments generally use bilingual (Tibetan and Chinese) languages. Presently, Tibet comprehensively institutes a bilingual educational system under which the Tibetan is the main language used in teaching, all Tibetan teaching materials and teaching reference materials for students ranging from primary schools through senior high schools have been compiled and published. And large numbers of Tibetan language teaching software have been produced. Tibet University has, since 1989, trained nearly 1,000 Tibetan language teachers for junior middle schools. Tibetan code has met State standard and international standards.

Reporter: It is thus clear, if the Tibetan culture is already really "extinct" as asserted by the Dalai Lama, then its written and spoken language is bound to lose its vitality. But the actual condition is just the opposite. In Tibet, the Tibetan language not only has not disappeared, but also is full of vigor for development.

Soi' nam: Yes, from the example mentioned above we can see that acting on the relevant stipulations of the Constitution and the Law on National Regional Autonomy, the Party and government have always attached great importance to the use of the Tibetan language. When the Dalai clique is wantonly clamoring about the "extinction of Tibetan culture", it is telling a bare-faced lie., turning a blind eye to the fact about the development of Tibetan culture.

Lian Xiangmin: The central government has always paid high attention to the protection of traditional Tibetan religion and culture, and achievements gained in this respect is evident for all to see.. For example, the Central People's Government has allocated huge funds of 55 million yuan as well as large amounts of gold and silver to repair the Potala Palace, and allocated 66.2 million yuan and 650 kg of gold to build the 10th Baignqen Erdeni Stupa, it has organized more than 100 experts and scholars to collate the Tibetan edition of the Tripitaka of China and spent 36 million yuan in publishing this magnum opus of Dunhuang, these measures themselves represent protection of traditional Tibetan culture, how can it be described as destroying traditional culture?

Reporter: Fine traditional culture should be properly inherited and protected, but culture also faces the problem of moving toward modernization, so constant merger, exchange and development are necessary.

Soi'nam Doje: With regard to traditional Tibetan culture, on the one hand, it is necessary to inherit and carry it forward, absorb its essence and carry it forward and at the same time discard its dross; on the other hand, it is also necessary to absorb and draw on the advanced ideology, culture, science and technology of other nations, only in this way can there be prospect for the development of Tibetan culture. The feudal serf system brought to Tibet poverty, backwardness, ignorance and closure, while today, Tibet, in an opening stature, is greeting the new age. We must wage resolute struggle against the Dalai clique's activities to split up the motherland and unswervingly safeguard the unification of the motherland, strengthen national unity and constantly seek development. Tibet definitely will have a better future.

In This Section

The splendid ethnic culture of China's Tibet had long ago aroused the extensive concern and in-depth studies by Chinese and foreign experts in Tibetan studies. Recently, Our staff Reporter Zhao Chuandong had an interview with experts and scholars of the China Tibetan Studies Center in Beijing.

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