China spends big on protection of Tibet’s cultural relics

Liu Yuzhu, director of the Chinese State Administration of Cultural Heritage, said in Lhasa on July 28 that during the “13th Five-Year Plan” period(2016-2020), the state will provide a special subsidy of no less than 2 billion yuan (Renminbi) to support the protection of Tibet’s cultural relics, focusing its support for the declaration of Lhasa’s old city as a world culture heritage.

Liu Yuzhu said that during the “12th Five-Year Plan” (2011-2015), during the National Cultural Relics Aid Work Conference that day, the central government planned a total fund of 1.6 billion yuan, allocating 17 assistance funds of 153 hundred million yuan to provincial and municipal cultural relics departments for Tibetan cultural relic protection, and supporting Tibetan cultural relic protection construction and museums.

There are a total of 130 projects within the Tibet cultural relic protection and maintenance program, including conservation and restoration of the murals inside Drepung Monastery, the establishment of a Jokhang Temple protection plan and mural restoration, and the completion of mural rescue and reparation projects at Palkor Choede Monastery. The National Museum of China, the Dunhuang Research Institute, and six other key cultural relic protection research bases jointly established the “National Key Cultural Relic Research Base: Tibet Joint Research Station” in Lhasa and continue to initiate projects including thangka cultural protection, monitoring and controlling the environmental conditions around collection of cultural relics, and a number of projects on the science and technology of cultural relic protection and restoration. In addition, each involved province and municipality has assisted Lhasa in establishing a “digital cultural protection” system and a Shigatse Sakya Monastery cultural relic preservation project which have basically been completed.

Liu Yuzhu said that during the “13th Five-Year Plan”, the state will increase its efforts towards protecting Tibetan cultural relics. The state has already decided to double its investment into Tibetan cultural relic protection from the amount provided during the “12th Five-Year Plan”, investing no less than 2 billion yuan, with a focus on supporting the declaration of Lhasa’s old city as a world cultural heritage, repairing 77 important cultural relic sites, and renovating the Tibet Museum and nine other museums to either expand or improve their exhibitions and displays. 

According to survey statistics, the Tibet Autonomous Region currently has 4,277 unmovable cultural relics. Among these, there is one world cultural heritage item, three historical and cultural cities, and 55 national-level cultural relic protection items. The whole region houses nearly a million cultural relics.