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China Celebrates Millennial Anniversary for World's Longest Epic

China kicked off activities Monday in its southwest Sichuan Province to celebrate the millennial anniversary of the world's longest epic on King Gesser, a Tibetan legendary hero.

Scholars convened in Gesser's hometown, the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, for symposiums and research.

Yang Enhong, deputy director of the Chinese Gesser Society, said that the epic was widely known in Garze, where numerous relics and sites still commemorated King Gesser.

King Gesser is acclaimed as the oriental Iliad, after the Greek epic by poet Homer in the eighth century BC. The epic "Gesser" has more than 1 million lines and over 10 million words which have been passed down through singing and talking by folk artists in China's minority areas.

Yang said that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated year 2002 and 2003 as the years to celebrate the millennial anniversary of the epic.

(Peoples Daily June 17, 2002)

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