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Cultural Heritage Protection in Tibet


Tibet boasts a wealth of cultural relics. Archaeologists have discovered many cultural relics in Tibet in recent years. According to Shan Jixiang, Director of State Administration of Cultural Heritage, currently more than 2,300 unmovable historical sites have been registered in Tibet. According to statistics, there are a total 329 cultural protection sites in Tibet, 35 of them being nationally protected. Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka Palace are listed as World Cultural Heritage. Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse have been listed among Historic and Cultural Cities in China. In addition, there are also a large number of movable relics in Tibet, including kinds of official certificates and documents suggesting that Tibet has been under the jurisdiction of China ever since the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

They are more than cultural heritage with extraordinary artistic value. They witnessed the historical transformation of Tibet over the past years and serve as solid evidence that Tibet has been part of China.

Searching cultural relics in Tibet

Since the mid-1970s, systematic plateau archeological studies have been carried out and several dozen cultural sites of the Stone Age excavated. All the unearthed cultural relics are carefully kept by the regional cultural relic management department, and these discoveries provide valuable materials for the study of primitive and traditional Tibetan culture.

The government launched two massive relic censuses across the whole country in 1956 and 1981, hoping to make it clear how many cultural relics China has. After unremitting efforts, this work paid off. Yet, it’s urgent to have another round of national relic survey as more than 20 years passed since the Second National Relic Census in 1981 and China has undergone enormous changes. In order to keep up with time, the State Administration of Culture Heritage initiated the Third National Relic Census in April 2007. The Third National Relic Census will last for five years till the end of 2011 and be undertaken in three stages. Preparation work including establishing specialized departments, initiating plans and staff training will be finished during the first stage. The second stage features field research and data collection. All the collected data will be gathered together, a data base will be built and the survey results will be released during the third stage.

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