Tibet Moves towards a Better Tomorrow

From: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2011-09-19 18:25
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 It was one year ago that March 28 was set up as Tibetan Serf Emancipation Day. Fifty-one years ago on that date the one million serfs in Tibet were completely emancipated and began a new life under the wise leadership of the Communist Party of China with the thorough suppression of a full-out armed rebellion launched by the reactionary clique of the upper class in Tibet and the collapse of the system of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule. This date is an important milestone marking the beginning of new Tibet and a great day worthy of remembering forever.

 Tibet had been a society of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule, a society that was even darker, more barbarous, more brutal and more backward than medieval society in Europe. The Dalai Lama clique, as the general spokespersons for the class of feudal serf owners in old Tibet, has always distorted history, turned black into white and done their best to make this criminal social system sound benign and painted the feudal serfdom that exploited and oppressed the one million Tibetan serfs as a “self contained” society. They described the inhuman draconian laws as “advanced” and “civilized” rule of law. They visualized the temples and monasteries under theocracy as a model of traditional moral life and described old Tibet as “a more civilized society” than the new Tibet of today. This is a great distortion of historical facts and common international consensus as well as a flagrant departure from human civilization and progress. History has always been the truest record and reflection of human society. No matter what the Dalai clique tries to deny this, nothing changes the most basic facts of old Tibet.

 The emancipation of the one million serfs of Tibet under the leadership of the CPC was a major event and a milestone in the history of human civilization and world human rights. It marked the final victory for the one million serfs in Tibet and a complete failure of the feudal serf-owning class and predicted the arrival of a new era in history. The emancipation of the one million serfs fundamentally destroyed the dark rule of the feudal serf-owning class that had lasted several hundred years and abolished the serf bondage system of Tibetan feudal society. The one million serfs, no longer the bottom of society, were given the chance for a new life, laying a solid political foundation for the people of all ethnic groups of Tibet to smoothly march on the broad road of socialism. The emancipation of the one million serfs fundamentally abolished the Tibetan slave system and economic exploitation of the many serfs on the part of the three major estate-holders, the administrative officials, aristocrats, and upper-ranking lamas in the monasteries. The change in the status of the former serfs of Tibet to become masters of the means of production has laid a solid economic foundation for liberating and developing social productive forces. The emancipation of the one million serfs has fundamentally abolished feudal privileges, providing a full guarantee for their right to exist and the right to develop and protecting their right of religious belief and their right to receive an education as stipulated in the Constitution and the laws of the state. Moreover, they have become masters of their own destiny and their spiritual life, paving the way for their full personal development.

 History has eloquently shown that emancipation of the Tibetan serfs under the leadership of the CPC was a just human rights cause that promotes human civilization and the advancement of humankind. It was a great historical event comparable to the abolitionist movement of the United States and Europe and the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and represents an eternal monument in the hearts of all Chinese people, including the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet. Time marches on and societies progress, making it impossible for the remaining forces supporting the ownership of serfs to stage a comeback and turn back the wheels of history. The secessionist attempts and disruptive activities of the Dalai Lama clique are doomed to failure because no reactionary forces can stop the mighty tide of history and progress.

 It has been a glorious 51 years since the system of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule was abolished and the Tibetan serfs were liberated. Over the past 51 years the former serfs and their offspring have truly stood up under the correct leadership of the CPC and are fully exercising their power as masters of the country as part of the great family of the Chinese nation. Their living environment has greatly improved, their level of material and cultural life has been greatly enhanced and they are now enjoying a range of public services and treatment that they never before experienced and are living a new life of harmony, happiness and abundance. 

 Tibetans now enjoy full guarantees for their political rights. Since the democratic reform, the former serfs and slaves are no longer subjected to dominance, oppression and enslavement, have truly become masters of the country together with the people of all ethnic groups in the country and are fully exercising their right to participate in managing the affairs of the state and the affairs of all levels of local governments in Tibet. The establishment and continuous improvement of basic political systems such as the system of people’s congresses, the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC, the system of regional ethnic autonomy and the system of community autonomy fully guarantee the democratic rights of all the ethnic groups in Tibet. The number of local rules and regulations and separate regulations worked out by Tibet in line with the region’s right of autonomy and the power of decision-making granted by the Constitution and the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Regional National Autonomy now exceeds 250. A large number of the former serfs and slaves and their offspring have now become key personnel in Party and government organs at all levels and important figures in various industries and trades. Tibetans and members of other ethnic minority groups now account for 94% of the deputies to the people’s congresses and over 87% of the members of the political consultative conferences at all levels in Tibet respectively.

  Pupils of Lhasa No.1 Primary School of Tibet singing a song on March 24, 2010 to usher in the second anniversary of the Tibetan Serf Emancipation Day, which falls on March 28. March 28 was made the Emancipation Day through a decision made on January 19, 2009 at the Second Session of the Ninth People’s Congress of Tibet Autonomous Region.  / Photo by Xinhua reporter Jueguo 

 The living environment in Tibet has been greatly improved. The Party and government have made great efforts to develop infrastructure and build modern traffic, energy and communication networks since the launch of democratic reform, totally reversing the extremely backward conditions of old Tibet. Tibet was formerly almost inaccessible to and unaware of the outside world, and working and living conditions were extremely backward. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is now in operation, all counties are connected by roads and the basics of a comprehensive transportation system, consisting mainly of a road system supplemented by aviation, railways and pipelines, are now in place, greatly improving transportation conditions for local farmers and herders and making it easier for them to interact with the rest of the country and the world. The electric power industry in Tibet has developed rapidly, bringing electricity to more than 1,500,000 farmers and herders. Supplies of safe drinking water have developed for 1,222,000 people. Construction of methane generating pits has been completed for 114,000 households. Solar energy cookers have been distributed to 395,000 households. Over 85% of the administrative villages can be reached by telephone. Postal service has been extended to 80% of the towns and townships. Radio coverage has reached 89.2% and television 90.4% of the population. It has become significantly more convenient for the people of all ethnic groups of Tibet to obtain information and knowledge through more sources than ever before.

 The material and cultural life of people living in Tibet has become richer and more abundant. The CPC Central Committee has been greatly concerned about Tibet and devoted great efforts to supporting the development of Tibet since the introduction of democratic reform. The Central Committee has called five forums on work in Tibet and worked out a series of policies for promoting the development of Tibet, which promoted a historical leap in Tibet from a situation in which the people lived in extreme poverty and the economy and society were extremely backward to one in which the people have abundant food and clothing and overall have become moderately prosperous. Per capita annual net income of Tibetan farmers and herders in 2009 reached 3,589 yuan, an increase of 101-fold compared with the level of 1959. The ongoing project to build comfortable housing for Tibetan farmers and herders has already benefited 1.2 million people in 230,000 households and this year will complete housing for all Tibetan residents whose housing conditions are relatively poor. The urban residents of Tibet are all now living in affordable housing or low rent housing and their quality of life has been markedly improved. Their fine traditional culture has been handed down and developed. Their cultural relics and intangible cultural heritage have received effective protection. Their verbal and written language is being studied, used and developed and their written language has become the first of all minority ethnic languages in China with an international standard. Works of literature and art with novel subject matters, prominent ethnic characteristics and a strong spirit of the times have sprung up in large numbers, greatly enriching and enlivening the cultural life of the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet.

 Both urban and rural residents now have access to public services. The government has invested a great deal in Tibet to develop social programs since the introduction of democratic reform, continuously expanding the number of people with access to basic public services and laying a solid foundation for all-round human development. All counties, cities and city districts in the autonomous region have made nine-year compulsory education available to local children, increased subsidies for the boarding and education of the children of farmers and herders eight times, benefiting 270,000 students. Children of farmers and herders at secondary vocational schools are exempt from paying tuition and boarding fees. Students studying education, agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and mining do not have to pay for their education and the illiteracy rate of young and middle-aged people has dropped from the 95% of old Tibet to 1.8%. A medical system based on free medical care covering the farming and herding regions of Tibet is now being gradually established. Work focusing on promoting the health of farmers and herders has been accelerated and progress in expanding insurance coverage to all urban residents of Tibet is ahead of all other areas in the country, resulting in marked improvement in the overall health of all ethnic groups in Tibet. Work to develop a social safety net that covers both urban and rural areas in Tibet is making daily progress and work in developing the cost of living allowance system for farmers and herders is ahead of progress in other areas, and the number of people covered is continuing to expand.

 The great changes over the past 51 years has disclosed a great truth: without democratic reform there could be no emancipation of the serfs in Tibet, no development and progress of the human rights in Tibet and no better life for the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet today. These changes show that the CPC is the great emancipator of the people of all ethnic groups of Tibet. They show that socialism is a broad road leading the people of all ethnic groups of Tibet to a happy life and that regional ethnic autonomy is a system that guarantees that the people of all ethnic groups of Tibet can be masters of their own country. It also shows that taking a road of development with Chinese characteristics and Tibetan characteristics is the inevitable course for the people of all ethnic groups of Tibet to create a happier and better life.

 The CPC Central Committee and the State Council of China have always attached great importance to the work in Tibet and always taken the high ground in focusing on the overall strategy of the state in planning the economic and social development of Tibet and working to improve the lives of the people of all ethnic groups of Tibet. At the fifth forum on the work in Tibet called by the central government the achievements and lessons learned so far in the work in Tibet were thoroughly reviewed and the situation and tasks confronting development of Tibet were scientifically analyzed. The guiding ideology and policy to be used for some time to come for continuing work in Tibet was defined, strategic arrangements were made to promote leap-frog development and long-term peace and stability in Tibet, and an excellent map was formulated for the future development of Tibet. It was pointed out at the forum that we must adhere to a road of development with Chinese characteristics and Tibetan characteristics, focusing on economic development, the success of which must be ensured by the unity of all ethnic groups in Tibet. Improvement of the lives of the people should be the starting and ending points of efforts and we must pay attention to both development and stability to ensure both leap-frog economic and social development and national security and long-term peace and stability in Tibet and to ensure continuous improvement in the level of the material and cultural life of the people of all ethnic groups and an excellent ecological environment. We must concentrate our efforts on implementing the strategy of “ensuring that the people are safe and prosperous and Tibet is stable and prosperous” and continuously promote advancement of the great cause of building a new socialist Tibet that is united, democratic, prosperous, civilized and harmonious and strive to achieve economic growth, a comfortable life for the people, good ecological conditions and a civilized and progressive stable society. We need to devote a great deal of effort to economic development to make the economic structure of Tibet more rational, improve the quality of development and make better use of the special characteristics and resources of Tibet. We need to strongly promote stability to strengthen border defense, make the society of Tibet more stable and better unify the people of all ethnic groups. We need to work hard to guarantee the well-being of the people and improve their lives, and ensure that the people of all ethnic groups have more material benefits, a more comfortable life and better physical and mental health. We need to work hard to improve the local ecology and make efforts to ensure that the ecological safety facilities will be more scientific, more comprehensive and more effective.

(From Qiushi in Chinese, No. 7, 2010)

Note: Authors: Zhang Qingli, Secretary of the Party Committee of Tibet Autonomous Region, and Padma Choling, Chairman of the People’s Government of Tibet Autonomous Region


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