Democratic Reform in Tibet – Sixty Years On

(March 2019)

Democratic Reform in Tibet – Sixty Years On

I. Feudal Serfdom: A Dark History

For centuries Tibet was ruled by feudal serfdom under theocracy. Millions of serfs were subjected to cruel exploitation and oppression until democratic reform in 1959.

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II. Irresistible Historical Trend

Serfdom is the most brutal form of slavery in feudal society. It is a barbaric and backward social system in terms of economic development, political democracy or human rights protection. By the 1950s, the very existence of feudal serfdom had violated the development trend of human history. Such a system was a stain on civilization and was destined to be eradicated by history.

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III. Abolishing Feudal Serfdom

In March 1959, reactionaries from the upper class working in the government of Tibet tore up the 17-Article Agreement and staged an all-out armed rebellion in Lhasa. The rebellion ran counter to the will of the people of Tibet and the current of history. In response, the central government decided to dissolve the government of Tibet and quell the rebellion, and at the same time, mobilized the people of Tibet to begin democratic reform.

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IV. The People Have Become Masters of Their Own Affairs

Through democratic reform, feudal serfdom under theocracy in Tibet was abolished completely, bringing fundamental changes to the Tibetan social system. It was a historic leap. Due to democratic reform, about one million serfs were liberated. They gained personal freedom and became masters of the new society. The completion of the reform laid a solid foundation for the establishment of socialism in Tibet.

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V. Liberating and Developing the Productive Forces

Democratic reform in Tibet abolished the feudal bondage of individual serfs to serf owners, and enabled the people to be masters of their own affairs. It replaced serf owners' land ownership with peasants' land ownership, which allowed serfs to own means of production and significantly liberated and developed productive forces.

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VI. Promoting a Range of Undertakings

Tibet's democratic reform enabled it to make a historic leap from feudal serfdom to socialism. The establishment of socialism served to liberate and develop its productive forces and lift its economic growth from one level to another, and promote significant social progress.

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VII. Enhancing Ecological Progress

Situated at the heart of the Earth's "Third Pole", Tibet plays a strategic role in maintaining the global ecological balance by protecting its plateau ecology. Over the years the central and regional governments have always given top priority to protecting the eco-environment on the plateau, promoting a series of plans and programs.

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VIII. Protecting the Freedom of Religious Belief

After democratic reform, Tibet put an end to theocracy, separating government from religion and so restoring the latter's true significance. The freedom of religious belief of all ethnic groups is protected by the Constitution and the laws, with all religions and religious sects being equally respected and protected. This equates to true religious harmony.

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IX. Strengthening Ethnic Equality and Unity

Over the past 60 years, Tibet has fully implemented the ethnic policy of the CPC to enhance the awareness of ethnic solidarity and the sense of community of the Chinese nation, strengthen ethnic communication and integration, and build a new type of socialist ethnic relationship featuring equality, solidarity, mutual assistance and harmony.

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X. Development of Tibet in the New Era

To develop Tibet in a new era, the Central Authority is committed to the philosophy of people-centered development and the concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and inclusive development. It strives to promote economic and social development, safeguard and improve people's wellbeing, promote exchanges and integration among ethnic groups, and strengthen environmental protection. These efforts will give vitality and vigor to Tibet.

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