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24-hour Tibetan-language TV Channel launched
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The Tibet Television Station launched a 24- hour Tibetan-language channel on Monday -- the 58th National Day of China, as the country's first TV channel broadcasting around the clock in minority languages.

The new service was upgraded from the previous Tibetan-language channel which broadcast 21 hours a day, said Gongbu Suolang, deputy editor-in-chief with the Tibet TV Station, adding that the channel only broadcast 11 hours a day when it was opened in 1999.

"It was first launched as a means to better serve the Tibetan people and preserve the Tibetan language," he said.

The channel mainly targets local peasants and herdsmen, accounting for about 80 percent of the 2.8 million Tibetan population in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, as well as overseas Tibetans in India and Nepal, according to Gongbu.

Programs on the channel cover local news reporting, shows of traditional Tibetan dancing and singing, and TV series translated into the Tibetan language.

"The reason why we decided to lengthen the broadcasting time is that we want to offer better service to the viewers, especially for those living in Nepal and India. You know, there is a time difference," Gongbu said.

"The Tibetan-language TV channel is the only one I watch everyday," said Nima Cangjue, a 68-year-old Tibetan from Xigaze Prefecture in southern Tibet.

Like the majority of Tibetans, Nima does not speak or understand mandarin Chinese which is used in most other TV channels.

Nima's affection for the TV channel is also shared with Yangla who visited Dharamsala of India. Yangla told Xinhua that she took the Tibetan-language channel as a major way to follow the development of her hometown.

"I'm glad to see those great changes taking place in Tibet. My hearts beats faster whenever I see the Potala Palace on television," she said.

(Xihua News Agency October 1, 2007)

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