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Plea for Ancient Chinese Archives

January 5, 1998

BEIJING (AP) _ Two Chinese lawmakers are urging the government to preserve 700-year-old Tibetan archives holding some 3 million documents, an official news report said Monday.

Nie Dajiang and Xu Jing saw the archives, which span the period from the 1271-1368 Yuan Dynasty to 1959, while touring Tibet in September, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

``They are of profound political importance and of high historical value,″ Nie was quoted as saying. ``There is no time to lose in trying every means to rescue these records.″

Nie and Xu appealed to fellow National People’s Congress delegates to raise money to preserve and restore the archives, the report said.

The records provide rare information on the remote Himalayan region’s political, economic, military, cultural and religious history. Much of the collection is already rotten or in perilous condition, Nie said.

He said some of the records buttress China’s claims that it has controlled Tibet since ancient times.

China sent its army to Tibet in 1950 to assert its historical claim to sovereignty over the plateau. Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, went into exile following a failed anti-Chinese uprising in 1959.

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