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Thai Princess records Qinghai-Tibet trip in new book
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A Thai Princess has released a pictorial album in Bangkok today. The album records the Princess' train journey in her own words along China's Qinghai and Tibet. A launch ceremony was held to mark this occasion because it symbolizes an ongoing and intimate bilateral relationship mutually enjoyed by the nations of Thailand and China.

The pictorial album, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's Visit to Qinghai and Tibet, was conceived and published by the Beijing-based China International Publishing Group (CIPG). The volume honors the goodwill and good deeds of Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and specifically memorializes her 2007 journey to Tibet – her 24th visit to China.

In attendance at the launch ceremony, the Princess recounted some of the highlights of her visit, including traversing the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau via the recently completed Qinghai-Tibet Railway (QTR) – now one year in operation.

Principal attendees also included Cai Mingzhao, Vice Minister of China's State Council Information Office and CIPG President; Zhang Jiuhuan, the Chinese Ambassador to Thailand; diplomatic envoys from other countries to Thailand; well-known personages from the world of Thai culture and religion; and high-profile Chinese nationals residing in Thailand. 

The ceremony was jointly sponsored by China's State Council Information Office, the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Kingdom of Thailand, CIPG, and the Thailand-based Nan Mee Co., Ltd.

Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn (R) and Cai Mingzhao, Vice Minister of China's State Council Information Office and CIPG President, visit the book booth to see her new pictorial album on display during the cermony,  Bangkok, November 14, 2007.

During the Princess's April 2007 travels through Qinghai and Tibet, a reporter and a photographer with the CIPG's subsidiary magazine publication, China Pictorial, accompanied the official entourage. For posterity, recording in word and image the goodwill tour and personable cultural exchange, production of the high-quality volume was timed to complete upon occasion of the 32nd anniversary of the formal establishment of Sino-Thai diplomatic relations, and upon the first anniversary of the QTR commencing operations.

In following the Princess's journey via the QTR, the colorful pages also offer a vivid view into Tibet's fascinating history, colorful culture, unique customs and remarkable scenery. Further described are particulars of the remarkable feat of engineering and development necessary to create the 1,956-kilometer railway, now known to many as the "Road to Heaven".

Cai Mingzhao, Vice Minister of China's State Council Information Office and CIPG President, gives speech at the book launch ceremony, Bangkok, November 14, 2007.

It is the world highest railway. Beginning in Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, the railed pathway leads to Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The line reaches its highest point at the Tanggula Mountains, at 5,072 meters, higher than any other line in the world.

Perhaps the most sentimentally rich scene shared within the volume is the Princess's happily emotional meeting in Tibet's capital of Lhasa with a group of Tibetan students, whom she sponsors and supports. 

Also exhibited at the ceremony were photographs the Princess personally shot during her visit to Qinghai and Tibet. 

During the ceremonial proceedings, upon presenting the Princess with the volume and additional souvenirs of her trip, Vice Minister Cai Mingzhao said: "Also intended as a token of friendship between China and Thailand, this album is symbolic of the real and ever stronger friendship that exists between our two nations."

Vice Minister Cai Mingzhao presents the Princess with the volume and additional souvenirs of her trip during the ceremonial proceedings, Bangkok, November 14, 2007.

Since 1981 to this date, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has experienced 24 separate journeys through China, traveling to many regions, provinces and municipalities. By extensively recording in writing those travel experiences, including her personal insights into and impressions of the nation and the people, the Princess has become known as something of a Sinologue. Formally recognizing her well-known expertise in things Chinese, as well as her dedicated research on Chinese culture and history, in recent years the Chinese government presented the Princess with the "Chinese Language Culture Friendship Award," and the "Understanding and Friendship International Literature Award."

One of the largest publishing concerns in China, the CIPG acts as an administering umbrella organization for nine book publishing houses and five periodical publishing houses. Each year three thousand diverse volumes and 24 periodicals in 20 languages are published and distributed to more than 100 countries and regions. Nearly 30 websites in 10 languages are operated by the CIPG, and among these is, one of the best-known news portal sites in the world.

( November 14, 2007)

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