“Tibet: China’s policy paper on Tibet”. Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. May 2004 – “The fine aspects of traditional Tibetan culture are being carried on, protected and promoted. Specialized institutions for salvaging, editing and researching Tibetan cultural heritage have been established by governments at all levels in the region. These institutions have collected, edited and published the Records of Chinese Dramas “Tibetan Volume,” Collection of Chinese Folk Ballads “Tibetan Volume,” and other collections of folk dances, proverbs, quyi ballads, folk songs and folk tales, effectively salvaging and protecting the excellent parts of traditional Tibetan culture. Life of King Gesar has been called the “king of world epics,” as it is the longest of its kind in the world. The Tibetan people created it, and it has been transmitted orally for centuries. A special institution was founded in 1979 by the regional government to carry out all-round salvaging and editing of Life of King Gesar. The state has put it on the list of major scientific research projects, and organized the relevant research and publication work. After some 20 years of effort, more than 3,000 audio tapes have been recorded, almost 300 hand-copied and block-printed editions of the epic have been collected, and 62 volumes of the epic in Tibetan have been edited and published, with a distribution in excess of three million copies. Meanwhile, over 20 volumes of its Chinese edition have been published so far, and some of them have been translated into and published in English, Japanese and French.
Since the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region, a number of regulations on the protection of cultural relics have been promulgated and implemented. Altogether, some 300 million yuan has been used to renovate and open over 1,400 monasteries and to give timely repair to a large group of cultural relics. From 1989 to 1994 especially, the Central People’s Government allocated 55 million yuan and a large quantity of gold and silver for the first-phase maintenance project of the Potala Palace. From 2001, the state has also earmarked 330 million yuan for the second-phase maintenance project of the Potala Palace and the maintenance of the two other great cultural sites of Norbulingka and Sakya Monastery.
Traditional Tibetan customs and habits are respected and protected. Tibetans and all the other minority ethnic groups in China enjoy the right and freedom to keep their traditional lifestyles and to engage in social activities according to their own customs and habits. While maintaining their traditional styles of costume, diet, and housing, they have also absorbed some modern and new healthy customs in clothing, food, housing and transportation as well as weddings and funerals. Traditional festivals such as the Tibetan New Year, Sakadawa (Anniversary of Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Death) Festival, Ongkor (Bumper Harvest) Festival, and Shoton (Yogurt) Festival, and many religious celebrations in monasteries are observed, while accepting different kinds of national and international festivals that have been introduced in recent years.
Tibetans fully enjoy the freedom of religious belief. Most of the people of the Tibetan, Moinba, Lhoba and Naxi ethnic groups believe in Tibetan Buddhism, while others believe in Islam and Catholicism. At present, there are over 1,700 venues for Tibetan Buddhist activities, with some 46,000 resident monks and nuns; four mosques and about 3,000 Muslims; and one Catholic church and over 700 believers in the region. Religious activities of various kinds are held normally, with people’s religious needs fully satisfied and their freedom of religious belief fully respected.”