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Tibet's development does not impair culture
Updated: 2009-10-29 10:08

A Spanish Tibetologist said on Thursday that the development in China's Tibet did not impair the local culture, refuting lies spread by the Dalai Lama.

Speaking at the second forum on the development of China's Tibet, Juan Ignacio Preciado Idoeta said that Tibet has achieved "very rapid and astonishing economic progress in modernization" and has scored "remarkable achievements" since the 1950s, especially in the past few years.

Some people who accepted the Dalai Lama's propaganda of a so-called "culture genocide" in Tibet blindly believe that the development and modernization "is to assimilate and Hanize the Tibetan people" and that the Tibetan culture will "be impaired and finally be destroyed," said Preciado Idoeta.

In fact, in many other places in the world, even in the United States and West Europe, such phenomenon can be seen -- an ancient ethnic group and culture died out or will perish in a short or medium term, he noted.

However, "we don't need to worry about the extermination of the Tibetan culture, because the modernization of Tibet is totally different from that in many other countries and regions," said the Spanish Tibetologist, who in the past 14 years often resided in areas inhabited by the Tibetan people, and traveled to most parts of Tibet to see "the great changes in Tibet" with his own eyes.

"On the contrary, the Tibetan culture has got great benefits from Tibet's development," said Preciado Idoeta.

"In addition, the Chinese government has made great efforts to protect the Tibetan culture and religion, such as the renovation of the monasteries and ethnic architecture in Tibet and the popularization of the Tibetan language," he added.

He said that language and religion, "the two basic pillars of a culture," "are much firmer than ever before" after the region has taken on the road of modernization.

He noted that over the past years, many new schools have been set up in the rural areas; all the old schools have been renovated and enlarged; and free education in primary and middle schools has been popularized in Tibet.

Now every renovated school in the rural areas has several young teachers with much higher educational level, and most of them are Tibetans, he added.

"Now after finishing their six-year study at a primary school, the Tibetan children can read and write the Tibetan language fluently and can also use the Chinese language," said the Tibetologist.

He called the Chinese government campaign to eliminate illiteracy in Tibet a success, adding that "the present situation of the Tibetan language is much better than the situation 50 years ago, when 90 percent of the Tibetan people were illiterate."

As for religion, he said the modernization of Tibet is totally different from that in the West, citing the example of Spain, where modernization in the 1970s had resulted in a great reduction in the number of monks and temples.

"On the contrary, the number of monks in Tibet keeps increasing," he said. "The Garze and Yumzhublhum monasteries of the Bon religion recruited six new monks this year, and they are all teenagers."

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The two-day forum on the development of Tibet, the second of its kind, has attracted more than 400 participants from China, Italy, Austria, the United States, India, Australia, Spain and Belgium.

More than 20 Chinese and foreign government officials, experts, scholars and entrepreneurs will address the forum on the development of Tibet and how to explore opportunities for cooperation in the economic, social and cultural sectors.

Wang Chen, minister in charge of the State Council Information Office of China, and Italian ministers of culture and tourism were among the speakers.

The multilateral international academic forum is jointly sponsored by the State Council Information Office of China, the Italy-China Foundation of Italy and the Chinese Embassy in Italy.

The first forum was held in Vienna in November 2007.

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