BEIJING, April 11 (China Tibet Online) Tibetologists with China Tibetology Research Center said Tibet has been in the best era of social development.
Lian Xiangmin, director and Tibetologist of the Contemporary Institute of China Tibetology Centre (CTC), and Tsering Yangzom, a Tibetologist specialized in Tibetan culture and society research also with the CTC, attended the Press Salon themed "Contemporary life of Tibetans" held by the All-China Journalist Association in Beijing yesterday and answered questions raised by domestic and overseas journalists.
In the beginning of the press salon, the two Tibetologists made a general introduction of people's life at present Tibet.
"Judging from the annual GDP growth rate of 12.5 percent with about 10 billion yuan (1.6 billion US dollars) annual increase from 2009 to 2014, Tibet ranks top in China, trumping the rest provinces in China," said Lian, according to data released on the two session of Tibet Autonomous Region in January this year, "Tibet has stepped into a good time of social development".
Journalists from Ghana and China's Hong Kong asked about the protection of Tibetan folk culture and Tibetan language, questioning if modern developments in Tibet caused damage to the preserving of traditional features.
Both Lian Xiangmin and Tsering Yangzom said that people in Tibet have the right to develop social economy and receive modern civilizations, and they are most eligible to judge the outcome of modern development in Tibet.
Tsering Yangzom's hometown is Lhasa and she goes back to Tibet every year for at least two months. "During my field study to, Lhoka Prefecture for example, traditional elements still remain in sight and local Tibetan people speak highly of these renovations and reconstructions of decayed buildings and the resettlement programs for nomads. People are happy particularly with clean water, central heating during winter, and the drainage system."
She also explained that at the beginning of some reconstruction projects, there were indeed some Tibetan people worried about the changes, fearing they'd lose control over their own life. "Contradiction between modern development and traditional cultural protection is not unique to Tibet but exists in almost every corner of the world. Judging from the outcome, local people give very good comments eventually," Tsering Yangzom said.
Lian Xiangmin also introduced that cultural protection in Tibet was conducted at both government and non-government levels. "Government investment on protecting and repairing cultural relics is not news any more. Besides, non-governmental organizations, such as Tibetan Cultural Development and Protection Association, have been keen on protecting Tibetan culture as well. And CTC has also been involved in this work. For example, the central government invests over 40 million yuan (more than 6 million US dollars) for us (CTC) to emendate the Tibetan version of Chinese Tripitaka, which may last for 20 years."
Tsering Yangzom further added that Tibet does better in cultural protection and development than other parts of China, and such awareness of cultural protection was beyond expectation in Old Tibet.
It is said that researchers and Tibetologists from CTC go to Tibet for field studies every year for first-hand information so as to ensure the authenticity and liability of their research. And many of the research staffs are actually Tibetans from Tibet and Tibetan inhabited areas of China.
As for Tibetan language, Tsering Yangzom stressed that bilingual education has been carried out since she was a child. "Teaching in Tibetan, Mandarin, and bilingual languages with Tibetan textbooks of all subjects has been carried out from kindergarten to college education. In many inland universities, majors like Tibetan medicine and Tibetan culture studies even require the students to master Tibetan language." She also suggested to foreign journalists to conduct more investigations before drawing conclusions.
Lian Xiangmin added, "According to related laws in China, Mandarin Chinese is the national lingua franca, and ethnic languages in autonomous regions and prefectures have equal status with Mandarin Chinese, which means in Tibet public documents and educational materials are bilingual. That is also what we see in Tibet. Tibetans' learning Mandarin doesn't mean a giving up of their mother tongue, but is more like the phenomena of many people's learning English for overseas education and employment."
On Mar. 7, Tsemonling Tenzin Trinley Rinpoche, a member of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, also said to reporters in Beijing that, "Tibet is having its best period of development." He and other religious deputies and members of the national two session from Tibet all praised China's policy on cultural protection, religious freedom and people's social welfare and insurance system in Tibet. The 11th Panchen Lama also called on the religious circle to play positive roles in building harmonious society and promoting social development as a return to the country.