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Full Text: Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet
Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China March 2009, Beijing
Summary
·Tibet in Best Period of Development 50 Years After Democratic Reform
·Abolishment of Serfdom in Tibet as Progressive as U.S. Anti-slavery Movement
·Tibetan People Suffered From Feudal Serfdom, Darker Than Medieval Europe
·Tibetans' Fate Changed Profoundly Since Democratic Reform in 1959
·China Publishes White Paper to Mark 50th Anniversary of Reform in Tibet
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Old Tibet more
Medieval theocratic society
the Tibetan people had been living in dire misery and suffering from the harshness of life, and their society had sunk into a grave state of poverty, backwardness, isolation and decline, verging on total collapse
Means of production mostly monopolized by the three major estate-holders
The three major estate-holders, that is, local administrative officials, nobles and upper-ranking lamas in the monasteries, and their agents, accounted for less than 5 percent of Tibet's population, but owned all of Tibet's farmland, pastures, forests, mountains, rivers and beaches, as well as most livestock
Serfs owned by the three major estate-holders
The serf-owners literally possessed the living bodies of their serfs. Since serfs were their private property, they could trade and transfer them, present them as gifts, make them gambling stakes or mortgages for debt or exchange them
Rigid hierarchy
The bodies of people of the highest rank of the upper class, such as a prince or Living Buddha, were literally worth their weight in gold. The lives of people of the lowest rank of the lower class, such as women, butchers, hunters and craftsmen, were only worth a straw rope
Sakya Shines On
Restoration of one of Tibet's most important monasteries is good news for Buddhists the world over.The restoration is part of a multimillion-dollar commitment from the Chinese Government that began in 2002. The launch of the "Three Cultural Relic" repair campaign at that time saw 380 million yuan ($56 million) pumped into conserving and maintaining the three major cultural relics in Tibet--the Potala Palace, Norbulingka Park and Sakya Monastery
Momentous Democratic Reform in Tibet more
Democratic Reform
Carrying out democratic reform and abolishing the feudal serfdom of theocracy was an inevitable requirement for social progress. It was a major task of the people's democratic revolution led by the Communist Party of China, and was the only solution for social development in Tibet
Abolishing the feudal serfdom system
The million serfs and slaves in Tibet were emancipated. They became the masters of their state and society. Their lives and personal freedom are now protected and safeguarded by the Chinese Constitution and law
Land reform
Tibet's one million serfs and slaves became masters of the land and other means of production for the first time, making them full of enthusiasm for production and life, and giving rise to a rapid change in Tibet's social situation and living conditions
Abolishing theocracy, and implementing the separation of state and religion, and the freedom of religious belief
The democratic reform enabled the true features of religion to emerge, effectively safeguarding the Tibetan people’s freedom of religious belief, and laying a foundation for the introduction of the political system of people’s democracy in Tibet
Traveling in Tibet
The biggest problem in travelling in Tibet is altitude sickness-rapid heartbeat and headache or nausea. Take a good rest after you land on the plateau, walk slowly and drink plenty of water. Wear more layers of clothing to combat the cold weather. Take cash if you are going to places other than Lhasa, and if you are not on a tour, and it is wise to hire a jeep or car from Lhasa to venture into the distant mountainous areas of Tibet
Tremendous Historic Changes Over the Past Half Century more
People becoming their own masters
Tibet has experienced historic changes in its social system, which provides an institutional guarantee of the people's right to be their own masters
Economy leaps forward
Thanks to the care of the Central Authorities and the support of the whole nation, Tibet has witnessed remarkable progress in economic and social development
People's living standards have been greatly enhanced
A social security system has been basically put in place to cover both cities and countryside in Tibet
Traditional ethnic culture is protected and developed
The freedom of religious belief and normal religious activities of the Tibetan people are protected. Today, there are more than 1,700 religious venues in Tibet, with more than 46,000 resident monks and nuns, which can fully meet the needs of religious believers in Tibet
Serious About Preservation
Respect and protection of the freedom of religious belief is one of China's fundamental state policies and this can be evidenced by the way it has been put into practice in Tibet in the past decades
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