Foreword I II III IV VVI VII Conclusion
Over the past four decades and more, Tibet has made much
headway in carrying forward the fine aspects of its traditional culture, while maintaining
Tibetan cultural traits, which is revealed prominently in the following aspects: First,
the main body of Tibetan culture, which was monopolized by a small handful of feudal
serf-owners in the past, has been changed completely, and the entire Tibetan people have
become the main body jointly carrying forward and developing Tibetan culture and sharing
its fruits; second, Tibetan culture has undergone deep changes-with social progress and
development, decadent and backward things inherent in feudal serfdom have been abandoned,
the religious beliefs of Tibetan religious followers enjoy full respect and protection,
and the fine aspects of traditional Tibetan culture have been carefully preserved and
carried forward. Improvement has been steadily made both in its contents and forms, adding
some topical contents to reflect the new life of the people and the new needs o f social
development; and third, a substantive shift has taken place in the development stance of
Tibetan culture, from the self-enclosed, stagnating and shrinking situation to a new
stance- the stance of opening-up and development oriented to modernization and the outside
world. While developing and promoting its traditional culture, Tibet is also developing
modern scientific and technological education and news dissemination at an unprecedented
It deserves careful reflection that, although Tibetan culture is developing continuously, the Dalai Lama clique is clamoring all over the world that "Tibetan culture has become extinct," and, on this pretext, is whipping up anti-China opinions with the backing of international antagonist forces. From the 40-odd years of history following the Democratic Reform in Tibet it can be clearly perceived that what the Dalai clique is aiming at is nothing but hampering the real development of Tibetan culture.
First, as a social ideology, culture varies with the changes in the other parts of the social economic foundation and superstructure. The formation and development of modern Western culture are inseparable from the modern European bourgeois revolution, in which the dictatorial system of feudal serfdom and theocracy in the Middle Ages was eliminated, along with the religious reforms and great changes in the ideological and cultural fields caused by it. The development of Tibetan culture in the last four decades and more has been achieved in the course of the same great social change marked by the elimination of feudal serfdom under theocracy that was even darker than the European system in the Middle Ages. With the elimination of feudal serfdom, the cultural characteristics under the old system, in which Tibetan culture was monopolized by a few serf-owners was bound to become "extinct," and so was the old cultural autocracy marked by theocracy and the domination of the entire spectrum of socio-political life e by religion, which was an inevitable outcome of both the historical and cultural development in Tibet.
Because without such "extinction," it would be impossible to emancipate and develop Tibetan society and culture, the ordinary Tibetan people would be unable to obtain the right of mastering and sharing the fruits of Tibet's cultural development, and it would be impossible for them to enjoy real freedom, for their religious beliefs would not be regarded as personal affairs.
However, such "extinction" was fatal to the Dalai Lama clique, the chief representatives of feudal serfdom, for it meant the extinction of their cultural rule. Therefore, it is not surprising at all that they clamor about the "extinction of traditional Tibetan culture."
Second, the development of a culture has never been achieved in isolation, and it is bound to acquire new contents and forms ceaselessly with the progress of the times and development of the society, and nourish and enrich itself while adapting to and absorbing other cultures. The development of Tibetan culture in the last four decades and more has been achieved while Tibetan society is gradually putting an end to ignorance and backwardness, and heading for reform, opening-up and modernization, and while Tibetan culture and modern civilization, including modern Western civilization, are absorbing and blending with each other. The people's mode of thinking and concepts are bound to change with the changes of the modes of production and life in Tibet. During this process, some new aspects of culture which are not contained in the traditional Tibetan culture but are essential in modern civilization have been developed, such as modern scientific and technological education and news dissemination. The fine cult cultural traditions with Tibetan features are being carried forward and promoted in the new age, and the decayed and backward things in the traditional culture that are not adapted to social development and people's life are being gradually sifted out. It is a natural phenomenon in conformity with the law of cultural development, and a manifestation of the unceasing prosperity and development of Tibetan culture in the new situation. To prattle about the "extinction of Tibetan culture" due to its acquisition of the new contents of the new age and to its progress and development is in essence to demand that modern Tibetan people keep the life styles and cultural values of old Tibet's feudal serfdom wholly intact. This is completely ridiculous, for it goes against the tide of progress of the times and the fundamental interests of the Tibetan people.
At present, as mankind has marched into the new millennium, economic globalization and informationization in social life are developing rapidly, increasingly changing people's material and cultural lives. With the deepening development of China's reform and opening-up and the modernization drive, especially the practice of the strategy of large-scale development of the western region, Tibet is striding toward modernization and going global with a completely new shape, and new and still greater development will certainly be achieved in Tibetan culture in this process.