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Maintenance of Major Heritage Sites in Tibet Under Way
The facelift project on three major heritage sites in Tibet Autonomous Region, southwest China, has won warm support from local people from religious and other social circles.

The maintenance project on the Potala Palace and Norbulinka, the winter and summer palaces of the Dalai Lamas, and the Sagya Monastery which contains very rich relics, began Wednesday with a price tag of 330 million yuan (39.75 million U.S. dollars), and is scheduled to be completed within five years.

The Potala Palace and the Norbuglinka are now on UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage list.

Banhain Toinyu, director of the democratic management committee of the Sagya Monastery, said that restoration of the three major relics sites proves the central government pays close attention to, and cares about, the ethnic and religious affairs in Tibet, and supports the protection of historical heritage in the region.

Forty-four-year-old Soi'nam, a lama who has been living in the Potala Palace for 20 years, said he was very happy to see the palace being repaired for the second time. The first repair was carried out between 1989 and 1995 at a cost of 55 million yuan and funded by the central government.

Soi'nam said that the current project is of great significance in ensuring the permanency of the Potala Palace and leaving an intact Potala Palace for generations to come.

He expressed the hope that the restoration project would bring back the original look of the palace.

Nyi'ma Cering, deputy director of the democratic management committee of the Johkang Monastery, said he was very glad to see the three major sites being restored so soon with the support of the central government.

Jimzhong Gyaincain Puncog, vice-chairman of Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, recalled that in old Tibet, the Potala Palace was usually under threat during the rainy season, because it lacked drainage facilities.

"I feel very happy and thank the Central Government and the people of the whole nation from the bottom of my heart for their support in restoring the three relics sites," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 27, 2002)

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