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High-level forum on Tibetan culture opens in Beijing
2006-10-10 18:11:16 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- A high-level forum on the preservation and development of Tibetan culture opened in Beijing on Tuesday.

Addressing the forum, Liu Yandong, head of the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, referred to Tibetan culture as "a bright pearl in the treasure house of Chinese culture and a rare blossom in the history of human civilization".

"Tibetan culture reflects the unique scenery and social history of Tibet and demonstrates how Tibet has been influenced by other ethnic groups in China," said Liu.

"It shows that since ancient times, Tibet has been an inalienable part of Chinese territory," she added.

The preservation and development of Tibetan culture, she said, is an important part of building an advanced socialist culture with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese government can not shirk from this responsibility.

Liu said the government has done a lot to protect and develop Tibetan culture, which conforms with the fundamental interests of all the ethnic groups in Tibet and the Chinese nation as a whole.

"We should respect history while researching Tibetan culture and we need to explore further the different ethnic groups in Tibet," Liu said.

China has invested about 700 million yuan (87.5 million U.S. dollars) since the 1980s to renovate Tibetan temples including the Potala Palace, Norbulingka, the Sakya Temple and the Jokhang Temple. More than 1,700 temples and monasteries have been restored and reopened since 1949.

Currently, Tibet has 1,787 religious sites, 46,000 monks and nuns and 358 living Buddhas. Six religious sites including the Potala Palace have been listed as key national or regional cultural protection relics which enjoy special government support.

China has paid great attention to the role of culture in Tibetan development and greatly enhanced the protection of Tibetan traditional arts and religious cultural entities, said Lai Shianglung, a former senior UN official for social and economic affairs.

The forum, which will run until October 19, has drawn about 120scholars, experts and celebrities from around the world. It will be held in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday before moving to Tibet. Enditem

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