III-4 Question: Some have accused the Chinese Government of practicing a policy of "cultural genocide" in Tibet aimed at destruction of Tibetan cultural heritage. They claim that the Qinghai-Tibet Railway poses a threat to Tibetan and Buddhism culture, which will lead to eventual extinction of the unique way of life of Tibetan people. Do these accusations have any factual ground?
A: The Chinese Government has always attached importance to protecting and developing Tibetan culture. It has invested huge human, material and financial resources in the preservation and repair of sacred sites of Tibetan Buddhism, such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery and Samye Monastery. Great efforts have been made in collecting and collating folk cultural legacies of the Tibetan ethnic group, saving them from being lost. In Tibet, you may see with your own eyes all these efforts the Chinese Government has made in protecting Tibetan culture.
The protection of primitive and ethnic cultures is an issue of universal concern. How the Tibetan culture can be better protected and developed remains an issue open for debate: whether a closed or an open environment is good to its preservation. An open environment is more conducive to the spread, inheritance and development of the Tibetan culture. Open to traffic on July 1, 2006, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway not only brings convenience and economic benefits to the region but also increases human movement and information flow, resulting in a better understanding of the Tibetan culture by outsiders. Many visitors to Tibet are drawn by its rich cultural fascination and in front of the Potala Palace and Jokhang Monastery there are often many foreign visitors bathing in the religious atmosphere. The railway will not lead to withering away of the Tibetan culture, but instead will help it spread wider.