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Special> China's Tibet: Facts & Figures> Background
UPDATED: April 23, 2008  
Tibet -- Its Ownership And Human Rights Situation

art, and post and telecommunications; 63 middle schools and 2,474 primary schools. The total enrollment hit 196,000, with most being Tibetan students. Of the 16,000 faculty members, two-thirds were Tibetan teachers. The buildings of primary and secondary schools and institutes of higher learning covered nearly 1.5 million square meters, and audio-visual teaching had become an important means of instruction. In the last four decades and more in Tibet, 18,000 students graduated from universities and colleges; 510,000 from primary and secondary schools, including more than 40,000 from secondary vocational schools, senior middle schools and secondary technical schools; more than 15,000 cadres were trained in rotation; and nearly 7,000 people received certificates from secondary vocational and college-level self-study programs. A large number of professionals for all undertakings have thus been trained.

The development of education in Tibet has enhanced the cultural level of citizens, creating conditions for the Tibetan people to better exercise their right of regional autonomy as an ethnic minority and attain overall development. However, since the foundations of education in old Tibet were very weak and the population sparsely scattered, illiterates and semi-illiterates still make up a considerable proportion in Tibet's population, although they are now in the minority rather than in the majority, as they were in the past. Further development of education remains a strenuous and pressing task in Tibet.

Tibet has a rich traditional culture which covers language, literature, art, philosophy, religion, medicine and the celestial almanac. The Chinese government has always attached importance to protecting and developing the excellent traditional culture of the Tibetan ethnic group. It has adopted a series of policies and measures to honor, protect and ensure the flourishing of Tibet's traditional culture, enabling the legacy of Tibetan culture to be inherited and developed.

The Tibetan language is the common language for the whole autonomous region. In July 1987, the autonomous regional People's Congress adopted the Regulations on Study, Use and Development of the Tibetan Language in the Tibet Autonomous Region (for trial implementation), which clearly stipulates that both Tibetan and Chinese languages should be used in the Tibet Autonomous Region while first place is given to the Tibetan language. Today, all the resolutions, regulations and rules, the decrees adopted by the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region and all the formal documents and notices issued by the autonomous regional people's government are in both Tibetan and Chinese. Newspapers, radio and television stations also use both languages. Of the books edited and published in the autonomous region, those in the Tibetan language make up 70 percent. Speakers of different languages are treated equally in the recruitment of workers, cadres and students, with priority always given to Tibetan speakers. Tibetan is used in large meetings attended by the masses. All work units, streets, roads and public facilities are marked in both Tibetan and Chinese script. The Tibetan language is the main subject of all schools at different levels.

The Tibetan people's traditional customs and practices have received wide respect. In the cities, towns and agricultural and pastoral areas in Tibet, most Tibetans still retain their traditional clothing, diet and housing. Each year, the Tibetan people celebrate the Tibetan New Year, the Sour Milk Drinking Festival, the Butter Lamp Festival, the Bathing Festival, the Ongkor (Bumper Harvest) Festival and the Damar Festival in their time-honored ways. The government has introduced preferential policies to encourage the production of necessities for minority nationalities.

Cultural relics in Tibet are put under full protection. The Potala Palace, the Jokhang Monastery and some other monasteries and temples have become national or regional key cultural preservation centers. Since the mid-1970s, systematic plateau archeological studies have been carried out and several dozen cultural sites of the Stone Age excavated. All the unearthed cultural relics are carefully kept by the regional cultural relics management department, and these discoveries provide valuable materials for the study of primitive and traditional Tibetan culture.

The traditional cultural heritage of Tibetans has been systematically investigated, collected, collated, published and studied. The Tibetan Ancient Books Publishing House has collected more than 200 rare ancient books in Tibetan and collated and published a number of them. The Tibet People's Publishing House has pooled efforts to collate and publish a number of classics and booklets of historical archives. By the end of 1990, more than 1 million copies of 200 ancient Tibetan books had been distributed. Tibetan classics, which only existed in hand-written and engraved forms and were neglected for several hundred years, now, for the first time, have been printed in copies with exquisite binding.

Marked achievements have also been made in the collection and collation of Tibetan folk literature, drama, music and choreography. More than 20 writings and books on Tibetan folk culture have been published. King Gesar, the world's longest epic created by the Tibetan people, existed only in oral memory among the Tibetan people and was performed using dialogue and singing. Today, the retrieval, collation and study of this epic has been included in the state's key social science research projects, and a special institution has been founded to take charge of the project. Up to now, more than 3,000 cassette tapes recording the epic have been made, and 62 volumes in the Tibetan language published with a total circulation exceeding 3 million copies. The 600,000-word History of Chinese Dramas: Tibetan Volume has been compiled, filling in a blank in theoretical writings and monographic studies on drama in Tibetan history. Materials are being garnered on the basis of surveys for the compilation of books about Tibetan dance, folk rhymes, music in Tibetan opera and folk art, instrumental music, folk art history, folk songs, folklore and proverbs.

Tibetology is a comprehensive branch of learning which embraces all areas, including Tibetan history, religion, culture, economics, politics and sociology. More than 50 Tibetan studies institutions have been founded in Tibet and other places, and the China Tibetan Studies Center was inaugurated in 1986 in Beijing. These research institutions have taken up numerous research projects, such as the strategy for socio-economic development in Tibet, a concise history of Tibet, the collation and study of Pattra in Sanskrit, and the study of the origin of Tibetan religions and religious sects. They have also launched nearly 30 journals in the Tibetan, Chinese or English languages, including Tibet Research, Tibetan Buddhism, Tibetan Social Development Study, Tibetan Art Study, Snowy Land Culture, China's Tibetan Studies, and China's Tibet. Since the 1980s, with the expansion of international academic exchange concerning the study of Tibet, 130-plus scholars from a dozen of countries and regions and Tibetan scholars residing abroad have visited Tibet, made academic surveys and conducted negotiations on joint scientific research projects. Some Tibetan experts and scholars were invited to go on tours, give lectures and participate in academic meetings abroad.

Tibet's traditional culture and art, which only entertained high officials and noble lords in the past, now serve all Tibetan people, enriching their cultural life. The autonomous region has ten professional art and dance ensembles and Tibetan opera troupes, 20 county-level art troupes and more than 350 amateur performing troupes. There are six multi-purpose people's art centers equipped with modern facilities and 25 county-level cultural centers. Tibet now boasts a contingent of nearly 5,000 professional cultural workers, with Tibetans accounting for 90 percent of the total. They have created a number of literary and artistic works and programs which have a strong national flavor and reflect the features of our age, and some of their works have won international prizes. Over the past decade and more, 14 Tibetan art troupes composed of close to 300 artists were invited to give performances abroad. Cultural activities are very much in evidence during each traditional festival in Tibet. The Sour Milk Drinking Festival has expanded from performances of Tibetan operas to the largest annual art festival featuring all kinds of cultural and artistic activities. Traditional sports have been held extensively in Tibet too. Since the 1980s, more than ten traditional sports have been tapped and included in formal competitions. Tibetan athletes captured quite a few prizes at the National Sports Meet for Ethnic Groups. During traditional festivals, time-honored games and performances are held in all parts of Tibet. The modern athletic level in Tibet has been enhanced constantly and mountaineering, in particular, has attained internationally known achievements.

While traditional cultural activities are flourishing in Tibet, modern cultural facilities have also made their way there. At present, Tibet has 137 television and TV video relay stations and television transposer stations, 297 ground satellite stations, 26 radio broadcasting, relay and transmitting stations, and 74 wire broadcasting stations at prefectural and county levels. A broadcasting and television network which covers the whole region and combines satellite and wireless transmission with wire broadcasting has initially taken shape in Tibet. The region now has 82 film distribution and projection agencies and 553 film projection teams. Nearly 200 new films are shown each year, and residents in agricultural and pastoral areas enjoy free film shows. Many modern recreational facilities have been built in Tibet to prosper both traditional and modern cultural activities.

X. People's Health and Demographic Growth

Old Tibet, under the feudal serf system, had only three officially operated, small traditional Tibetan medical establishments, having simple and rough medical equipment, and a few private clinics. There were close to 100 practitioners. Even adding folk doctors of Tibetan medicine, the number totalled only about 400, averaging less than 0.4 per 1,000 people. These medical establishments and medical workers chiefly served the nobility and officials. Absolutely no medical treatment was given to the broad masses of serfs and slaves when they fell ill. Deadly infectious diseases such as smallpox and the plague occurred frequently and even ran rampant. According to records, in the 150 years before the peaceful liberation of Tibet in 1951, smallpox raged four times, and the contagion in 1925 caused 7,000 deaths in the Lhasa area alone. Epidemic typhoid fever in 1934 and 1937 took more than 5,000 lives in Lhasa. When some infectious diseases spun out of control, the former Tibetan local government did not take measures to save the afflicted but, on the contrary, drove them into high mountains or deep valleys, whose exits were guarded by troops. This resulted in the death of the expelled sufferers. Historical records show that in old Tibet, the average life span was 36 years, and the growth of the Tibetan population stagnated for a long time.

The primary task facing Tibet in the development of public health care has been to gain control over the most deadly infectious diseases. The Chinese government conscientiously carries out the principle of "taking prevention as the main task," with the result that no case of smallpox has been reported in Tibet since the early 1960s. The incidence of various infectious and endemic diseases has gone down by a substantial margin, and some serious diseases that threaten the lives of people have been wiped out or brought under basic control. In order to assure the healthy growth of Tibetan children, a planned immunization program has been widely implemented in Tibet since 1986. Over 85 percent of children have been inoculated.

After the Democratic Reform in 1959, the autonomous region gradually established a medical and health network throughout Tibet. In 1991, the region boasted 1,197 medical establishments, 401 times as many as in 1951. There were no hospital beds in 1951 but 5,077 in 1991. Professional medical workers numbered 9,740, or 98 times higher than in 1951. Among them 7,749 were health technicians, with Tibetans accounting for 80 percent of the total. Now, 88 percent of Tibetans are living in rural and pastoral areas, where there were 850 health establishments containing a total of 2,300 beds and 3,700 medical workers in 1991. A further 3,500 local rural doctors and health workers directly serve the masses of farmers and herdsmen. In Tibet, on average, there are 2.3 beds and 2.1 doctors per 1,000 people, figures equal to and above the national average respectively, and also higher than that of middle-income countries.

Traditional Tibetan medical science, comprising Tibetan medicine and pharmacology, has been handed down and developed. The government invested 20 million yuan in building a new inpatient department of the region's Hospital of Traditional Tibetan Medicine, as well as five local hospitals of this kind. In 1991, there were 1,015 Tibetan medicine doctors and pharmacists in the whole region. In order to meet the needs for the development of Tibetan medicine, the autonomous region founded the Tibetan Medical College and the Tibetan Medicine Research Institute, and encouraged and supported famous veteran Tibetan medicine doctors to write scholarly books. A chronology of valuable medical expertise was compiled by a group of aged specialists. The Four-Volume Medical Code, a famous book on Tibetan medical knowledge, was published and distributed. Efforts have also been made in the compiling and publishing of A Complete Collection of Wall Charts of the Four-Volume Medical Code and Medical Science Encyclopedia: Tibetan Medicine, plus dozens of teaching materials and special books about Tibetan medicine, including Physiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Dietetics, and Newly Compiled Tibetan Medicine. Pharmaceuticals production is developing quickly too. Now, there are three Tibetan medicine factories.

Scientific research institutes of Tibetan medicine have put more efforts into the study of plateau sickness and other diseases which endanger the lives of Tibetan people, and have achieved important research results. Tibetan medical workers are both domestic and international leaders in rescue and the treatment of plateau pneumochysis, mountain coma and chronic plateau sickness.

To train more health workers, the Tibet Institute for Nationalities has opened a medical department. In addition, the Health School for the Tibet Autonomous Region has been established and another two in Xigaze and Qamdo. These schools have trained more than 6,000 high- and middle-ranking health workers. Since 1980, more than 5,000 health workers in the region have received on-the-job training, which has helped raise their professional and administrative levels.

The government provides free medical care for all Tibetans. This, plus considerable improvements in medical and health conditions, has greatly raised the average life span and health level of the Tibetan people. Average life expectancy has risen from 36 years before liberation to 65 years at present. When compared with 1965, the average height and weight of young Tibetans in the Lhasa area increased by 8.8 cm and 5.2 kg respectively.

The government has special policies on birth control in Tibet. Family planning is not practiced for the farmers and herds people who constitute 88 percent of the region's entire population. The government only conducts publicity campaigns to inform them about rational births and ways to have healthy babies. Tibet has a vast expanse of territory, but few land resources which can be developed. In 1991, the average amount of cultivated land per person was only 1.54 mu. As Tibet's population has been increasing at a fast rate, population control is necessary. Since 1984, the regional government has advocated and carried out the policy of two children per couple among Tibetan cadres, workers and the staff of enterprises and residents in cities and towns. However, among the Han cadres, workers and staff members in Tibet, the policy of one child per couple has been advocated and enforced. Only 12 percent of the people in Tibet are covered by the family planning policy. In the process of carrying out family planning, the government always persists in the principle of "mainly publicity, volunteering, and service," and prohibits any form of forced abortion.

Over the past 40 years, the population of Tibet has rapidly mounted. Between 1950 and 1990, there was a net increase of 1.196 million people in Tibet, with the number of Tibetans climbing to more than 2 million, more than double the figure of 1 million in 1950. In 1951, when Tibet was peacefully liberated, there were no accurate population statistics provided by Tibetan local government. When China conducted the first national census in 1953, the Tibetan local government headed by the Dalai Lama reported that there were 1 million people in Tibet. The second national census in 1964 showed that the population in Tibet was 1.251 million, of which 1.209 million were Tibetans, making up 96.63 percent of the total. The third national census in 1982 said there were 1.892 million people in Tibet, of whom 1.786 million were Tibetans, accounting for 94.4 percent. The fourth national census in 1990 showed that there were 2.196 million people in Tibet, of whom 2.096 million, or 95.46 percent, were Tibetans. People of the Han and other non-Tibetan nationalities have always made up around 5 percent of the total population in Tibet. Since 1970, the birth rate and natural population growth have both been above the average national level. Between 1982 and 1990, there was an increase of 309,800 ethnic Tibetans in Tibet, and the rate of natural population increase was 17.34 per thousand, 2.64 perthousand points higher than that of the national level in the same period. For Tibet, it is impossible to reach such relatively high levels in terms of birth rates and the natural growth rates of population in so short a period of time without the abolition of the feudal serf system, and economic growth plus the obvious improvement of people's living standards and medical and health conditions.

On the question of the size of the Tibetan population, the Dalai clique has spread many rumors. The most sensational was that more than 1.2 million people were killed after the peaceful liberation of Tibet. In 1953, the Tibetan local government under the Dalai Lama reported the population stood at 1 million people. If 1.2 million inhabitants had been massacred, it would have been a case of genocide and certainly the population in Tibet could not have increased to the present 2 million.

The Dalai Lama clique has also contended that geographically Tibet extends far beyond the boundaries of today, including areas inhabited by the Tibetans in Sichuan, Qinghai and other places, making a total population of 6 million. This so-called Tibet Major is merely a conspiracy hatched by imperialists in an attempt to carve up China. As a result of long historical changes, ethnic Tibetans have settled not only in Tibet but also in areas in Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan provinces. But these areas were not under the jurisdiction of Tibet in the past, and the former Tibetan local government never administered any Tibetan-inhabited areas beyond Tibet. From the 13th century on, the central governments of the Yuan and Ming dynasties placed Tibet and other areas with Tibetan populations under separate administrations. The Qing Dynasty further defined administrative divisions in Tibetan-inhabited areas. During the period of the Republic of China, Tibetan-inhabited areas beyond Tibet remained under the jurisdiction of the provinces where they were located. These administrative divisions basically remained after the founding of the People's Republic of China. In the Tibetan-inhabited areas of the four provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan, ten Tibetan autonomous prefectures and two Tibetan autonomous counties were set up. The Tibetan population, including Tibetans in Tibet and Tibetan-inhabited areas of other provinces, fell short of 6 million. When China conducted the first national census in 1953, the overall Tibetan population, including those residing in Tibet, totalled 2.77 million. The 1990 national census gave a count of 4.59 million people. As in Tibet, the numbers of Tibetans in other areas had grown considerably over the period between the two censuses.

Another lie is the claim that a large number of Hans have migrated to Tibet, turning the ethnic Tibetans into a minority. It is very easy to confuse and poison the minds of people who are not aware of the truth. In Tibet, the natural conditions are harsh, the air is oxygen-poor and the climate is bitterly cold. Most of the land consists of mountains, wilderness, and permafrost and snow zones. Customs there are so different from those in the heartland of the country that people from the interior can hardly adapt to them. Tibet is not like the western part of the United States, where large numbers of people moved in for development. The figures from various national censuses have thoroughly exploded the lie that the Han population in Tibet has already surpassed that of the Tibetans.

XI. Protection of Living Environment

While vigorously developing Tibetan economy, the people's government attaches great importance to environmental protection in Tibet. Conscientiously carrying out the state's basic policy on environmental protection, the Tibet Autonomous Region perseveres in its strategy of synchronized planning and undertaking of economic, urban, rural and environmental construction. It has implemented the three policies of making preventive measures a priority, assigning responsibility to those who created pollution to clearing it up and intensifying environmental control. The Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region and the people's government of the autonomous region have published a series of local laws and regulations, as well as administrative rules and systems, covering the protection of environment and natural resources in line with actual local conditions. Examples are the Regulations for the Protection of Forests in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Provisional Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region on Administration of Grasslands and the Notice of the People's Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Protection of Aquatic Resources. In the field of wildlife protection alone, there are more than 20 documents on related regulations and systems. In 1975, the autonomous region set up an environmental protection institution to beef up unified supervision and administration over environmental protection work. In 1990, the Environmental Protection Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region was established to take charge of such undertakings in the whole region.

The region has also made considerable headway in improving ecological environment. It has seen the building of over 13,000 major and minor irrigation channels, some 5,200 large and small reservoirs able to hold more than 270 million cubic meters of water, and 18 river embarkment projects, with a total length of about 250 km. For many years, chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been employed on a sound basis. Many measures have been taken to protect grasslands, such as enclosure with fences for livestock breeding and irrigation. Efforts have also been made to develop river banks and plant trees and grass. A rational system of rotation of herds has been enforced, and efforts have been made to prevent the blind reclamation of wasteland at the expense of grassland. By the end of 1990, the total area of fenced grassland had reached 183,000 hectares, while 161,000 hectares were under irrigation. Rats, pests and virulent plants have been kept under control over 1.187 million hectares of grassland. The region's ecological environment has improved steadily.

Work has simultaneously proceeded on tree planting, the safeguarding of forests and the prevention of forest fires. Hillsides have been closed off for forest conservation and the destructive lumbering of forests banned. From the early 1960s to the present, the region has planted 70 million trees and hillsides closed off for forest conservation reached 140,000 hectares a year. Tibet now has 6.32 million hectares of forests, of which 22,000 hectares have been planted by people in the region. Forested areas have been expanding every year, with the increase in standing timber greater than that of felled lumber. The region has set up seven nature reserves, while another five are under construction or in the planning stage. Reserves are to reach 325,300 square km, accounting for 26.5 percent of the region's total area, effectively protecting rare wildlife and plants.

In accordance with local conditions, Tibet has steadfastly pressed ahead with construction of hydropower stations and worked hard to exploit geothermal energy resources and popularize the use of solar and wind energy. The region has since liberation built 424 hydropower stations with a total installed generating capacity of 109,700 kw, and two geothermal power stations. The use of solar energy stoves has been introduced throughout the region, with the figure reaching 17,750. Over 105,000 square meters of solar energy housing have been built and 19,000 square meters of solar energy heating devices have been installed. In addition, the region has introduced some 700 wind-driven generators. The use of these pollution-free energy resources plays an important role in the protection of the environment.

While bolstering the ecological environment, Tibet is strengthening environmental administration. For all construction projects that might affect the environment, the region follows the "environmental impact appraisal" system and the system of designing, building and putting into operation pollution treatment facilities and construction projects at the same time. Some sources of pollution have been curbed. Industrial waste gas disposal has reached 80 percent. Meanwhile, efforts have been made to investigate the origins of industrial pollution in Tibet, investigate and study the background value of soil environment, investigate and study the natural radioactive level in the environment, and investigate wild plant and animal resources. These provide a scientific basis for environmental protection, rational use of natural resources and economic development in Tibet. In the field of urban and rural construction, the region has coupled rational planning and distribution with construction of basic supportive projects. Urban infrastructure facilities have increased in the region. In Lhasa, green areas make up 17.6 percent of the city's total area, with an average per-person share of 12 square meters. In order to have timely information on the quality of the region's environment, the Tibet Autonomous Region has established the Environmental Monitoring Station in Lhasa. Two more are under construction in Xigaze and Qamdo.

According to the monitoring station, environmental conditions are good in Tibet. Generally speaking, there is no pollution of the atmosphere or water. No acid rain has fallen in the region. The annual level of suspended particulate matter in the urban atmosphere averages 340 microgram/cubic meter a day, well within state standards. Apart from slight pollution in several sections of rivers, the water quality of the region's rivers and lakes is good. Radioactive elements are at the normal background level, causing no deleterious pollution. The Dalai Lama clique's accusations that China has stored its nuclear wastes in Tibet are therefore purely fiction.

Of course, some undesirable environmental problems do sometimes arise. For example, the quality of grassland tends to deteriorate, and the habitat of some rare animals is gradually shrinking. The people's government of the Tibet Autonomous Region has taken counter-measures by strengthening administration, publicity and education. Serious penalties are meted out to those who violate the laws and regulations on environmental protection. As a result, the numbers of some animals on the verge of extinction, such as black-necked cranes, takins and tigers, have increased in recent years.

XII. Special State Aid for Tibet's Development

Known as the "Roof of the World," Tibet has quite harsh natural conditions. The region is more than 4,000 metres above sea level on the average. The air there is thin, cold and oxygen deficient and its barometric pressure and oxygen content are less than two-thirds of those at lower altitude plains. The duration of time with a temperature of above ten degrees Centigrade is less than half that in Heilongjiang Province in northernmost China. Only 0.2-0.3 percent of it is arable. Local economic development is slowed down by the plateau climate and geographic conditions. To change this backward situation and promote the common prosperity of all ethnic groups, the central government and the people of the whole country have offered great support to Tibet in terms of labor, materials, finances and technology as well as in policies, demonstrating their special concern.

Over the last four decades, state financial subsidies to the region reached 15.7 billion yuan and investment in key capital construction projects stood at 4.27 billion yuan, for a total investment of close to 20 billion yuan. Apart from state financial subsidies and capital construction investment, the region has received a multitude of special subsidies granted by ministries and commissions under the State Council in accordance with Tibet's need to develop various undertakings. Such special subsidies amounted to 5.9 billion yuan in the period of 1979-86. State financial input in the region has increased by a substantial margin in the last few years and reached 1.7 billion yuan in 1991. At present, the state financial subsidies to the region average 1 billion yuan a year, the nation's top per-capita figure. State investment has brought initial changes to the backward situations in agriculture, livestock breeding, energy, communications, post and telecommunications and other basic industries and infrastructures as well as education and culture, laying a sound material foundation for rapid economic and cultural development in Tibet.

To meet the Tibetan people's needs for production and subsistence, the central government sends large quantities of materials there every year, despite the long distance and poor transport conditions. From 1959 to 1991, a total of 1.388 million tons of grain, 2.815 million tons of refined oil and 4.58 billion yuan worth of manufactured goods, weighing over 10 million tons in total, were hauled in from the hinterland.

To aid economic and cultural construction in Tibet, the central government and other provinces and municipalities have pooled efforts together to build the Sichuan-Tibet, Qinghai-Tibet and other trunk highways that cross mountains 5,000-6,000 metres above sea level, a finished oil transmission pipeline from Golmud to Lhasa, the Yangbajain Geothermal Power Station and other large and medium-sized infrastructure facilities. To speed up construction in the region, the central government in February 1984 organized manpower and materials from nine provinces and municipalities in the interior to aid 43 construction projects in Tibet, the task taking more than one year. These projects, involving energy, communications, building materials, trade, culture, sports, education, public health, tourism and municipal works, covered a construction area of 236,000 square metres, involved a total investment of 480 million yuan and consumed more than 200,000 tons of cement, rolled steel and other building materials.

Tibet is in short supply of scientific and technical personnel. To solve this problem, relevant government departments and other provinces and municipalities have been asked to aid their counterparts in the region. Large numbers of technicians including scientists, engineers, managerial personnel, teachers and medical workers have been encouraged to take their skills to Tibet. For key construction projects, experts, scholars, engineers and technicians have been organized to conduct investigation and study, planning, prospecting, designing and construction. From 1973 to 1991, medical teams composed of more than 3,000 medical workers from a dozen provinces and municipalities were sent to the region to train Tibetan medical workers and prevent and cure diseases for factory workers, farmers and herdsmen. Medical colleges and schools in the hinterland have started training classes to improve the skills of Tibetan medical workers. Thus far, about 70 percent of the Tibetan medical workers have received such training. From 1974 to 1988, a total of 2,969 teachers were sent to Tibet to teach. Many colleges and universities in many provinces and municipalities have trained teachers and managerial personnel for various kinds of schools in the region. Each year a certain number of teachers' college graduates, including some post-graduates, are assigned teaching jobs in Tibet. Since 1985, Tibetan middle schools and Tibetan classes have been established in 24 interior provinces and municipalities to offer education to Tibetan students, who also enjoy special care in study and life. In 1991 some 9,800 Tibetan students were studying in these schools or classes in the hinterland.

All those who go from the hinterland to Tibet experience many difficulties. They have to make a major effort to overcome mountain sickness and extremely different customs and habits in order to adjust to life in Tibet. By responding to the central government's call to aid the Tibetan people, they show they are willing to work in the region and do not hesitate to make personal sacrifices. They go there for a fixed period of time on rotation in accordance with the stipulation of the central government.

The central government has introduced a series of more preferential economic policies and more flexible measures compared to those enjoyed by the interior provinces and municipalities in order to reinvigorate Tibet's economy and speed up economic construction there. Since 1980 agricultural and pastoral areas in Tibet have introduced diversified economic reforms focussing on household production. The policy is for farmers to cultivate land independently and for herdsmen to own the domestic animals they raise and conduct their own management, a policy which will remain unchanged for quite a long period of time. Farm and livestock products are sold mainly through the market. Farmers and herdsmen are exempt from agricultural and livestock taxes; collective and private industrial and commercial enterprises which produce and sell national necessities are exempt from industrial and commercial taxes. Farmers and herdsmen, individually or collectively, need pay no taxes for selling or exchanging their farm produce, livestock products or handicrafts. In opening up, the region implements a more preferential policy than other areas. It can retain all foreign exchange it earns from overseas trade and sell general imported products in the hinterland. Recently, the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region decided to set up foreign economic and technological development zones in accordance with the state policy on opening wider to the outside world; increase the number of open border ports; allow the foreign business people to lease land; and expand border trade with neighboring countries and entrepot trade.

Tibet started to implement the Eighth Five-Year Plan and the Ten-Year Program in 1991. To further accelerate Tibet's economic and cultural construction and attain the target of a comfortable lifestyle for most Tibetans, the central government will continue to offer great support to Tibet. State-invested projects in Tibet have been established and written into a development program. The construction projects include the following:

-- A project started in 1991 with a total investment of 1 billion yuan for the comprehensive development of the drainage area of the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo, Lhasa and Nyang Qu rivers. The project is designed to turn the area into bases for producing commodity grain, non-staple food, light industrial goods, textiles, handicrafts and processed food as well as for popularizing scientific and technological research achievements.

-- A project with an investment of 800 million yuan to build the Yamzhog Yumco Pump-Storage Power Station, one of the state's key energy construction projects during the Eighth Five-Year Plan (1991-95). Upon completion in 1997, the station will help ease the power shortage in Lhasa and the surrounding area.

-- A project to rebuild the Qinghai-Tibet, Sichuan-Tibet, Nagqu-Qamdo and China-Nepal highways with an investment of over 1 billion yuan. The reconstruction of these four trunk highways designed to ensure smooth highway transportation began last year.

-- The expansion of the Gonggar Airport in Lhasa. The runway which was completed in September 1991 can be used by Boeing 747s and other jumbo passenger aircraft.

-- The construction of the Lhasa Post and Telecommunications Center, that entails the addition of 11,000-channel program-controlled telephone exchanges and 54 ground satellite stations in 47 counties, and other facilities.

The realities in Tibet fully show that the Tibetan people, who have shaken off the yoke of feudal serfdom, now enjoy extensive human rights which they have never been able to enjoy before. But their human rights are not yet complete because of Tibet's backward economy and culture and its harsh geographic conditions. Continuous and sustained efforts should be made to improve the human rights situation. The Chinese government and people are trying their best to accomplish this. However, the human rights the Tibetan people enjoy today are poles apart from those under feudal serfdom. The Dalai clique and international anti-China forces, who flaunt the banner of "champions of human rights," do not denounce the dark, savage and cruel feudal serfdom at all, under which the Tibetan people were deprived of all human rights by the serf-owners. But they continue to tell lies even after lies they told previously have been exploded, alleging that the Tibetan people, who have become masters of the country, have lost their human rights. Their purpose is to mislead the public and create confusion in an attempt to realize their dream of dis-membering China, seizing Tibet and finally subverting socialist China. Here lies the essence of the issue of so-called human rights in Tibet.

No plot to split China will ever succeed. The close relations between the Tibetan people and other ethnic groups in China have lasted for several thousand years. And Tibet has been unified with other provinces and autonomous regions to make up a unitary country for seven centuries. In such a long period of time, Tibet's relations with other provinces and autonomous regions have become closer and closer, and there has never been separation. This is by no means fortuitous. The fundamental reason is that unity or separation has a decisive bearing on the prospering or decline of the Tibetan, the Han and all the other ethnic groups of China. Unity spells common prosperity, and separation would mean peril to both parties. The long-lasting unification of Tibet with other parts of China is the inevitable outcome of a long history. So the Han people and other ethnic groups absolutely will not accept separation of Tibet from China, nor will the Tibetan people themselves.

Information Office of the State Council of The People's Republic of China
September 1992, Beijing, China

(From china.org.cn)



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