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Tibetan herdsmen defy modernisation to maintain culture
By:CCTV.com
update:October 25,2016
Oct. 25, 2016 -- To China's Tibetan Plateau, traditional ways of living have been undergoing some dramatic changes in recent years. The government has been encouraging the nomads to settle down in fixed dwellings, while an influx of tourists is slowing opening up the region to the outside world. CCTV reporter travelled to the northeastern tip of the Tibetan Plateau. And as she finds out, despite everything the modern world is throwing at them, the local nomadic culture is showing remarkable resilience. 
 
A change of seasons, and time for these Tibetan herdsmen to drive their yaks to winter pasture.
 
“We stay here for two months, there for two months, and then another place for two months. That’s how we live.”
 
For centuries, these people lived as tribal nomads, until a government relocation policy, helping them build houses in village settlements. For now, most adults have held on to their nomadic tradition. While the elderly and children get modern education and medical care associated with a static life. Herdsman Luoxi has retired into his newly-built house.
 
“We used to not have televisions, sofa or beds. We used to sleep on goat skin. Now we have everything. My children can choose to follow our footsteps and herd animals , or they can go to school, or learn a craft and find a job. They are free to do anything. I like the this way of life," said herdsman Luo Xi. 
 
Some might pine for the old ways. But for better or for worse, the nomadic tradition is certainly undergoing change. Luoxi now works part time at a local stay, catering to tourists looking for a quintessential Tibet experience. Even as they flock here, bringing money and modern ideas, opinion is divided about the tourism-led development.
 
“The economy is developing. And our goal is to improve standard of living. Tourism should be a trend in the future.”
 
“I’m also from a Tibetan region. There, the Tibetan culture has all but disappeared. I think tourism has that effect on a culture.”
 
In a world where everything is constantly changing, perhaps it’s not fair, nor possible to expect any culture to stay the same. But up on these grassland, for these Tibetan herdsmen, their traditional way of live does seem largely unaffected by any influence of the modern world.
 
Winter is coming on the Tibetan plateau. Conditions are harsh, but these herdsmen know the ways of survival. But they know how to survive the harsh conditions. It's knowledge passed down through the generations, but for how many more to come?
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