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Tibetan Culture Forum and Exhibition Open
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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 CPC Central Committee's United Front Work Department, 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," adding that Tibetan culture reflected the unique scenery and social history of Tibet and demonstrated how Tibet had been influenced by other ethnic groups in China.

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

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 placed about 700 million yuan (US$87.5 million) since the 1980s towards renovating 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. Among these, six religious sites including the Potala Palace have been listed as key national or regional cultural protection relics which enjoy special government support. Currently, Tibet has 1,787 religious sites, 46,000 monks and nuns and 358 living Buddhas.

China has 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, running until October 19, has drawn about 120 scholars, experts and religious celebrities like Lama Gangchen from around the world. It will be held in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday before moving to Tibet. Meanwhile, a Tibetan culture exhibition opened yesterday at the Capital Museum in central Beijing, containing over 200 exhibits and 100 pictures. It will close on October 22.

(Xinhua News Agency October 11, 2006)

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