NEWS FROM KHAM
Conference on preserving cultural heritage held in Kangding
Three days' cultural preservation conference was held at the Gesar Hotel in Kangding, from July 25 to 27th, 2006. The conference was organized by the Tangla Tsewang Culture and Arts Research Association. TTCARA is a local organization that is closely affiliated with Green Kham, an environmental NGO. Conference attendees included eminent lamas from some Buddhist monasteries in Ganzi Prefecture, representatives from various government departments and bureaus, and staff of local NGOs including Winrock, Kham Aid, and TTCARA.
In the morning of July 25th, the first speaker, Dorzhu Tserin, director of the Ganzi Prefecture Archive Department, gave an introduction on Tibetan history, mentioning various dates, places, and scholars and leaders who affected Tibetan culture by either making it prosper or decline. He repeatedly mentioned that the true preservers of Tibetan cultural are the lamas and monks leading a monastic life. As the audience agreed that his remarks were quite reasonable, he proposed some of ideas for keeping Tibetan culture and relics. For example, he suggested that each monastery appoint two monks to keep an inventory of its cultural relics.
That afternoon, Kham Aid Foundation president Pam Logan gave a presentation on the conservation process and some technical methods for preserving ancient wall paintings.
The next day, speaker Puxin of the Cultural Relics Bureau explained in depth both international and national laws on the specific issues of preserving relics and monasteries. One regulation he mentioned that is significant for monasteries in Ganzi is that excessive display and use of relics is not allowed. Speaker Puxin explained the system in which places, relics, and monasteries are protected and supported at four different levels: international, national, provincial and county.
On the twenty seventh of July, speaker Wang Xiaoli from the provincial Cultural Relics Bureau talked about changes in Tibetan customs and life styles and their causes. For example, he mentioned that Tibetans have started to celebrate Western festivals instead of traditional Tibetan festivals. He led a discussion on various ways to support development of Tibetan culture development and, conversely, what may hinder it.