4. Ethnic culture in Tibet is enjoying unprecedented prosperity, and freedom of religious belief is respected and protected.
The central and regional governments always attach great importance to carrying on, protecting and developing the excellent traditional culture of the Tibetan ethnic group. The study, use and development of the Tibetan language are protected by law, and the Tibetan script has become the first ethnic-minority script in China that has international text coding standards for information exchange. The state has altogether apportioned 1.45 billion yuan to maintain and repair the Potala Palace, the Norbulingka and Sakya Monastery, and other cultural relics and historical sites. Tibet's 76 distinctive cultural items such as folk handicrafts, folk art and Tibetan opera have been listed among items of state-level intangible cultural heritage, and 53 people have been recognized as representatives of the state-level intangible cultural heritage. The Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery and Norbulingka have been listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. Tibetan opera and the famous Legend of King Gesar have been put upon the World Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Tibetan medicine, with unique local features, has entered the world market, and Tibetology research is flourishing as never before.
Tibet's radio, TV, press and publications are also growing rapidly. In 2010 the region had four radio stations, five TV stations, 27 medium-wave transmitting and relay stations, 68 radio and TV transmitting and relay stations at the county level, and 9,371 radio and TV receiving and transmitting stations at the township level. Tibet has built China's first ethnic-minority-language radio and TV program dubbing center - Tibetan Radio and TV Program Dubbing Center. More than 380,000 households can receive 55 digital radio and TV programs though the Direct Broadcasting Satellite. The radio and TV coverage rate has reached 90.28 percent and 91.4 percent, respectively. Tibet publishes 58 kinds of newspapers and periodicals, and has accumulatively published 12,000 titles of books in Chinese and Tibetan, totaling 250 million printed copies.
Tibet now has 10 professional art performing troupes, 500-odd amateur art performing and Tibetan opera teams, and 19 folk art performing groups at the county level. A large number of traditional festivals have been inherited and revived, such as the annual Shoton Festival in Lhasa, Qomolangma Cultural and Tourist Festival in Xigaze and Summer Horse Races in Nagqu. Tibet endeavors to extend radio and TV coverage to every village and household, share cultural information and resources and establish cultural centers at the county and township levels to enrich the cultural life of farmers and herdsmen. It also endeavors to realize the complete coverage of comprehensive cultural centers and county-level sharing of cultural information and resources. A number of literary and artistic works and programs have been created which have a strong local flavor and display the features of our times, and there have been great improvement in both their quantity and quality.
Freedom of religious belief of all ethnic groups is respected and protected in Tibet. All religions, all religious sects are equal in Tibet. The Living Buddha reincarnation system, unique to Tibetan Buddhism, is fully respected. People are free to learn and debate Buddhist doctrines, get ordained as monks and practice Buddhist rites. Academic degrees in Buddhism are also promoted. The central government has listed some famous sites for religious activities as cultural relics units subject to state or autonomous regional protection, including the Potala Palace, Jokhang Monastery, and Tashilhunpo, Drepung, Sera and Sakya monasteries. Tibet now has more than 1,700 venues for religious activities, and about 46,000 monks and nuns. Monks and laymen organize and take part in the Sakadawa Festival and other religious and traditional activities every year. More than one million worshipers make pilgrimage to Lhasa each year.