China / Society

Tibet to make law on traditional "sky burial"

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-01-23 18:04

Tibet to make law on traditional
A lama prays in front of the tower of silence after a sky burial in Sertar county, Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Southwestern China's Sichuan Province, 7 July 2013. [Photo/IC]
LHASA - Tibet autonomous region will make a law to better protect sky burials, a traditional ritual that has drawn controversy after guides began leading tour groups to view the ceremony.

Sky burial is a Tibetan and Mongolian tradition in which bodies are fed to vultures and other predatory birds. It is regarded an act of generosity and a ritual that allows the soul to ascend to heaven.

The Regional People's Congress of Tibet, the local legislature that concluded its annual session on Friday, passed a bill to better regulate sky burials, covering issues like management of the site, environmental protection and qualification of ritual hosts.

"It will be the first time for Tibet to regulate sky burials using legislation, which shows respect and offers protection to the millennium-old tradition," said Samdrup, an official with the standing committee of the regional People's Congress.

The law will address complaints that some travel agents have shown disrespect to the tradition by organizing tours to sky burial sites.

In 2005, the Tibetan government issued a provisional rule that banned sightseeing, photographing and video recording at such burial sites, or publishing reports and pictures describing the rituals.

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