11/30/2021 01:58:27 pm

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Tibet's Sky Burial Sites Get US$75M Repair Fund


A nun views scenery on a hill at the Serthar Wuming Buddhist Study Institute in the Tibetan autonomous region of China. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

Tibet's sky burial sites will soon be repaired, restored and protected through a Rmb490 million (US$75 million) fund over the next five years.

Local authorities said a total of 156 sky burial sites will be receive the funding for repair, restoration and protection to ensure the the tradition is preserved.

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Sky burial is an ancient practice popular in Tibet and Mongolia where the dead are brought to a higher ground to be fed to predatory birds.

Tibetian and Mongolian traditions said the dead are fed to predatory birds so that their spirits will ascend to heaven.

Due to the lack of funding, several sky burial sites in Tibet are now occupied by wild dogs, with others filled with burial waste, have dilapidated roads, and lack facilities for mourners.

In response to the sad plight of the sky burial sites, the regional government of Tibet will invest Rmb165 million on 47 sky burial sites this year, most of them close to a lamasery.

Each of the sky burial site will be allocated Rmb3 million to Rmb5 million for protection and repair work, according to local authorities.

The financial allocation was made after authorities checked 60 sky burial sites during their preliminary investigation.

Xu Jiali, deputy head of the regional civil affairs department, told the official Xinhua news agency that the Rmb450 million fund will be used for construction of fences, new roads, reception rooms, mortuaries, and furnaces to burn waste.

The funding also came after Tibet announced that it will make appropriate laws that will better protect sky burials.

"It will be the first time for Tibet to regulate sky burials using legislation, which shows respect and offers protection to the millennium-old tradition," said Samdrup, an official with the standing committee of the regional People's Congress.

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