Scientific and Cultural Undertakings  

Scientific Research

From the 1950s to the 1980s, the State organized scientists to conduct scientific surveys of the Tibet Plateau. In the period from 1980 to 1986, the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted comprehensive and specific surveys of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Tibet Plateau in particular, studying its geological structure, its characteristics and evolution, and deposits of mineral ores. These surveys resulted in lifting the veil on some of the mysteries of the plateau, the establishment of a theory on the formation and evolution of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and revelation of the enormous potential and prospects for development of natural resources. Such a theoretical system is in the forefront in the world.

In the research into applied technology, special efforts were made to study technology and techniques related to highways, agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry, meteorology, hydraulic power generation, construction and energy, as well as traditional textiles, silver ware and other handicrafts.

Efforts have been made to join hands with Nepal, Japan, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Iceland, the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands in the development of solar, wind and geothermal energy and salt lake resources, and in the study of such subjects as agriculture, animal husbandry, astronomy, geology, meteorology, glacier formation, mud-stone flows, landslides, and technological transformation of enterprises.

In August 1994, an international academic symposium on cosmic rays was held in Lhasa. Established and supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Science Commission of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet University and Tokyo University of Japan jointly founded the Tibet Yangbajain Cosmic Rays Observing Station, which went into operation in 1990 and has since gained close to 2 billion pieces of data.

Ancient Classics and Historical Documents

Tibet pays close attention to the careful preservation of ancient classics and historical documents, all created before the advent of the 1960s. After the Democratic Reform that took place in 1959-60 in the region, efforts were made to locate, collate, publish and study these, whether in Tibetan or Chinese.

In 1985, the Tibet Autonomous Regional Academy of Social Sciences set up the Tibetan Classics Publishing House and the Tibetology and Han Chinese Documents Compilation Office to handle the task. Thus far, they have published some 200 kinds of classical works and historical documents, totaling more than 1 million words. Many of these were rare books, or the only copies extant. Major ones include Historical Records of Tibetan Kings and China Tripitaka: Dangyur (collated edition).

Protection of Cultural Relics

In the Tibet Autonomous Region, archaeologists have discovered five sites dating back to the Old Stone Age, 28 sites from the Middle Stone Age, and over 20 sites of the New Stone Age. In addition, they have uncovered more than 2,000 tombs in 20 groups of the Tubo period.

Also in the region, archaeologists have gathered tens of thousands of cultural relics. They include pattra-leaf sutras that are rare in the world; a pearl tangka painting now preserved in the Qamzhub Monastery; imperial edicts, gold or jade sheets of appointment and seals of authority, horizontal inscribed boards and gems which the Central Government of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and ensuing generations in China granted to Tibetan officials; memorials, documents and letters the local government of Tibet presented to succeeding Central Governments after the Yuan Dynasty, plus seals, frescoes and memorial tablets.

There are 18 cultural relics units subject to national protection in Tibet. They are partly ancient architecture, ancient ruins and ancient tombs of a period from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to the early days of the 20th century. The first group of cultural relics units subject to State special protection, approved by the State Council, include the Jokhang Monastery, the Potala Palace, Tibetan Kings?Tombs, the Samye Monastery, the Gandain Monastery, the Sagya Monastery, the Tashilhungpo Monastery, the Changzhub Monastery, the ruins of the Guge Kingdom, and the ruins of the Gyangze Zongshan Hill where the Tibetans fought invading British troops. In 2000, the UNESCO listed the Potala Palace into the List of World Heritage. In the following year, the Jokhang Monastery and the Norbu Lingka entered the List of World Heritage as an extension of the Potala Palace.

In May 1990, the Tibet Autonomous Region issued the Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Protection of Cultural Relics. In October 1997, the Methods for Protection and Management of the Potala Palace was issued. They contributed to better protection of the cultural relics in the region.
Major cultural relics units and places of historical interest that have been renovated are open to domestic and international tourists. Cultural relics units belonging to the category of religious activities sites are open to Buddhist followers the year round. Tibetan departments in charge of cultural relics protection are invited to stage exhibitions in Europe, Asia and the United States.


More than 50 organs in China are engaged in Tibetan studies. They are located mainly in Beijing, Tibet, and the Tibetan-inhabited areas in Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan Provinces.

These research institutes come under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, schools of higher learning, and government departments. They include the China National Center for Tibetan Studies, set up in May 1986 with an investment of 60 million Yuan from the Central Government.

In addition, with the approval of the Ministry of Education of the PeopleÕs Republic of China, Sichuan University and Tibet University have set up the China Tibetan Studies Research Institute, the first of its kind ever established by schools of higher learning in China.

Professional publishing houses engaged in the publication of books and journals on Tibetan studies include the China Tibetology Publishing House, the Tibet Tibetan Classics Publishing House, and six others.

Journals on Tibetan studies include China Tibetology, Tibetan Education, Science and Technology in Tibet, and Geology in Tibet.

In the 50 years from 1949 to 1999, some 3,200 printed works on Tibetan studies were published throughout China. Of these, some 700 were published from 1992 to 1995, and more than 1,000 were published from 1996 to 1999.

Literature and Art

In the past 10 years or more, the Central Government has striven to rescue and compile folk cultural works, including King Gesar, a heroic epic passed down orally from one generation to the next. For this purpose, special organs have been set up to undertake the national project.

King Gesar: The epic relates stories of Gesar that have long circulated in the Chinese regions, including the Tibetan-inhabited areas, the Mongolian-inhabited areas, and areas inhabited by peoples of the Tu and Yugu ethnic groups. It is told and sung by balladeers.

In the Tibet Autonomous Region, there are organs specialized in studying the epic. Since 1979, more than 180 singing editions and 55 kinds of woodblock printed and mimeographed editions of the epic have been gathered; 70 volumes of the epic sung by folk balladeers were recorded on some 5,000 tapes, which could be compiled into 80 volumes of the epic, running to 1 million lines or 15 million words. Thus far, more than 30 volumes of the epic have been published including The Birth of the Hero, Becoming King by Winning the Horse Race, and Battle Between the Moin and Ling States.

The Chinese Government department concerned has submitted an application to the UNESCO for the designation of an ÒInternational Gesar YearÕÕ. To mark the 50th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet in May 2001, a full-length TV series entitled On King Gesar has been produced. The 30-part play lasts 900 minutes and it describes the birth of the epic, the methods used to keep it alive through history, its artistic charm, and its contribution to the mankind. The TV play introduced famous Tibetan balladeers, the system of totem worship, divination, sacrifices, Buddhist rituals, Tibetan medicines, and the unity between the Han and the Tibetans.

Foreign Cultural Exchange

Since the 1980s, the Tibet Autonomous Region has managed to increase its contacts with the outside world through exchanges of visits, books and data, and by conducting academic seminars and giving art performances. It has strengthened cooperation with overseas cultural circles, scientific research institutions, and international organizations.

The Tibet Autonomous Regional Association for Cultural Exchange With Foreign Countries has organized song and dance ensemble troupes and Tibetan opera troupes for performance tours to the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Nepal and Singapore, as well as in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. It has also organized shows of cultural relics, films, photos and art works in South Africa, Japan, Italy and Southeast Asia.

Experts and scholars from religious and cultural circles in the Tibet Autonomous Region have been repeatedly invited to lecture and conduct academic exchanges in Austria, France, Thailand, Norway and Sri Lanka.

The Tibet Autonomous Region has also signed agreements for cooperation in Tibetan studies with Hungry, Canada, Germany, Italy and Austria. It has received more than 230 scholars from 34 countries and regions for academic inspection or to negotiate projects related to academic cooperation.

In 1987, when an International Seminar on Tibetan Studies was held in Hungary, the Tibet Autonomous Region sent six of its scholars to attend. In July 1999, when an International Seminar on Tibetan Studies was held in Barcelona, Spain,the Tibet Autonomous Region sent two scholars to attend.

Cultural Relics Unites Subject to State Special Protection
Scientific and Technical Personnel
Basic Statistics on Scientific and Technological Activities of Tibet Associations for Science and Technology
Number of Institutions and Personnel in Culture, Art cultural Relics, News and Publishing Undertakings
Number of Books and Magazines Published



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