Economic Development Vital to Protection of Tibetan Culture

A Tibetan Buddhism senior religious leader on Wednesday criticized those people who have tried to play down economic development in Tibet by using the excuses of "preserving national characteristics" and "protecting religious culture."

"The Tibetan cultural heritage can only be better preserved and the freedom of religious belief be better protected through developing the economy and improving people's life in the region," said Jamyang Losang Jigme Tubdain Qoigyi Nyima, vice-president of the China Buddhist Association. "If not so, Tibetan culture and traditional religion will become items on display and soon go into decline."

Jamyang, a living Buddha from the Labrang Temple of Tibetan Buddhism in northwest China's Gansu Province, made the remarks at a symposium on world peace attended by people from different Chinese religious circles in Beijing. He will go on to attend the United Nations' millennium conference on world peace as a member of the Chinese religious leaders' delegation in New York at the end of August.

He said since the 1950s, especially after the implementation of reform and opening-up policy in the 1980s, the economy has been developing rapidly in Tibet and the religious beliefs of Tibetan people have been fully protected.

At present, the Chinese government has started the development program for western regions, and will invest a lot of money to improve the basis for sustainable economic development, Jamyang said. This will further improve the living conditions of Tibetan people and create a better environment for inheriting, protecting and developing Tibetan religious and cultural traditions.

He noted that empty talks on inheriting, protecting and developing national cultural heritage and religious culture without the basis of economic development can never last long. He said it can not be tolerated for some people in foreign countries to spread the rumor of "Tibetan cultural traditions being seriously damaged."

Jamyang said that the protection and development of the national culture in Tibet can only be achieved through catching up with the progress of modern civilization and promoting local economic development and improving people's life.

(People’s Daily)

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