July 28, 2004
Champa Phuntsok told reporters here that recently a foreign pro-Tibet organization released a report, making irresponsible and slanderous remarks that China is launching a "second Cultural Revolution" to crack down on Buddhism.
"I was exasperated upon reading the report, which is full of lies and totally groundless," he said.
"In today's Tibet, religion and the freedom of religious belief are fully respected and protected through the sound implementation of the religious policy of the government," he said.
Champa Phuntsok said the government gives equal treatment and equal status to all religions, all religious sects, and to believers and non-believers.
"At present, we have in our region more than 1,700 places of various kinds for religious services and more than 46,000 Buddhistmonks and nuns. Religious believers can independently choose to goto monasteries or stay at home for Buddhist activities completely free from government intervention," he said.
The central government disbursed 310 million yuan (37.8 millionUS dollars) for the renovation and protection of the monasteries in Tibet. In 2001, another 300 million yuan (36.6 million US dollars) was allocated for the renovation of the cultural relics such as the Potala Palace, Norbuglinkha and Skaya Monasteries, according to Champa Phuntsok.
Meanwhile, he said, the government sorted out and published the Kangyur, Tibetan canonical collection of Buddhist scriptures, and is proceeding with a 6-year wood block itching project of the Tangyur, explanation of the Buddhist Sutras and Commandments. The project will produce more than 250 volumes, of which more than 100volumes have been completed.
He warned that in China, a country under the rule of law, anyone seeking to endanger state security or split the motherland will be brought to justice.
Asked whether a Canadian parliament delegation will be welcome to visit Tibet, Champa Phuntsok said the government of the Autonomous Region will welcome such a delegation.
Noting that only those who have been to Tibet are "in a position" to speak about what is going on there, he said: "We encourage you to come to Tibet to see for yourselves as we believe that after your visit."
The government delegation of the Tibetan Autonomous Region completed a 13-day visit to Canada and will leave for home Tuesday.