Around 10 o'clock Wednesday morning, incense smoke enveloped the Drepung Temple in the holy city of Lhasa. Pilgrims, most in traditional Tibetan costumes and with prayer wheels, kowtowed along the streets outside.
Inside the temple, lamas were chanting scriptures while pilgrims kowtowed in front of the statue of Buddha. One pilgrim sat in front of a lama, receiving blessings.
Some Tibetan construction workers were also there, busy renovating a major hall in the temple.
Around the Potala Palace and the Jokhang Temple, there were streams of pilgrims, chanting scriptures and kowtowing to make long prayers.
In the same morning, the Dalai Lama blamed the Central Government for intending to "deliberately annihilate Buddhism" in his speech to mark the 51th anniversary of his exile.
In the speech delivered in the northern Indian hill town Dharamshala, the seat of his "government in exile", the Dalai Lama said that the Chinese government is "putting the monks and nuns in prison-like conditions."
"Dalai Lama's remarks confound black with white," said Sun Yong, vice director and research fellow with Tibetan Autonomous Region's Academy of Social Sciences.
Kelzang Yeshe, research fellow with China Academy of Social Sciences, said to better protect Buddhism, the country has invested more than 700 million yuan for maintaining monasteries in Tibet Autonomous Region since its reform and opening-up drive.
"In monasteries, monks freely conduct religious practice and learn scriptures. But monks are Chinese citizens as well. That's why they need to receive patriotic education. It is a normal practice," he said.
Zhang Yun, research fellow with the China Tibetology Research Center, said people could easily tell that Dalai Lama's accusation was unfounded if they visited the monasteries in Tibet.
"The Dalai Lama has his own ulterior political motives by saying so," he added.
Pasang Wangdu, research fellow with International Association of Tibetan Studies, said there are more than 1,700 monasteries and 46,000 monks in Tibetan Autonomous Region. "We have plenty of religious venues and people enjoy full religious belief freedom."
"It is the Dalai Lama who always makes use of monasteries to conduct separatist activities. It is a worldwide tradition that religion should not interfere in a country's judiciary and administrative system," Sun Yong said.
No countries in the world would tolerate separatists, no matter who they are, being monks or laymen, he added.
"The Dalai Lama should admit Tibet is an inalienable part of China and the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing China. The talks between the central government and the private envoys of the Dalai Lama, in essence, are the talks among Chinese people. Foreigner's interference is unacceptable," said Sun.
In his speech, the Dalai Lama expressed his worries about the "damage" of Tibetan culture, language and the natural environment of the Tibet plateau.
In the past eight years, the central and regional governments have invested more than 6 billion yuan in ecological conservation and environmental protection in Tibet, while the other environmental protection program with total investment of 9.8 billion yuan has been approved, announced by the Tibetan regional government on Sunday.
Nine-year compulsory education has been widely implemented in Tibet. Local illiteracy rate has dropped from 98 percent 50 years ago to current 2.4 percent. Local schools teach both Tibetan and mandarin.
From December 2006 to 2009, Tibet regional government launched a comprehensive survey on intangible cultural heritage and discovered 406 items of intangible cultural heritages. The Central Government and regional government have earmarked 24 million yuan on the protection of intangible cultural heritages.
"The worries of the Dalai Lama are really unnecessary," said Zhang Yun.