The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Special> China's Tibet: Facts & Figures> Background
UPDATED: April 23, 2008  
New Progress in Human Rights in the Tibet Autonomous Region


The state has also given large-scale additional assistance to key and special projects in Tibet in different economic and social development periods. In 1984 some 43 projects were built for Tibet by nine provinces and municipalities mobilized and directed by the Central Government, and in 1994 the Central Government decided to build gratis another 62 projects for Tibet within three or four years, also with the cooperation of other provinces and municipalities of the country, involving agriculture and water conservancy, energy, communications and telecommunications, industry, and social welfare and municipal engineering. Now almost all the projects have been completed and put into use. The actual total investment was 3.66 billion yuan, much more than the planned investment of 2.38 billion yuan. The comprehensive project for the development of the middle valleys of the Yarlungzangbo, Lhasa and Nyangqu rivers, in which the Central Government invested a fund to the tune of one billion yuan, was put into practice in 1991, and since then both the grain yield and the net per-capita income of the peasants and herdsmen in the development area have increased by a wide margin. The Yamzhoyum Lake pumped-storage power station, a project with state investments running to 2.014 billion yuan, was completed and put into operation in 1997. In recent years another 151 projects have been built or are being built in Tibet by 14 other provinces and municipalities, with a total investment of 490 million yuan. The completion of these projects will push the economic development of Tibet and the living standards of both its urban and rural residents a still bigger step forward.

The development of the economy has tangibly improved the lives of all people in Tibet. In 1996 the average annual per capita income that urban residents used for living expenses was 5,030 yuan, 2.4 times that of 1991, showing an average annual increase of 19 percent; the average per capita net income of peasants and herdsmen was 975 yuan, an increase of 48.3 percent compared to 1991 and an average annual increase of 8.2 percent. In 1997, income of the above two types was 5,130 yuan and 1,040 yuan respectively. By the end of 1997 the bank savings deposits of both urban and rural people in Tibet were 3.045 billion yuan, while in 1991 they had been only 510 million yuan. In 1996 the average amount of grain owned by each Tibetan was 372 kg, an increase of 28 percent over 1991. Though the population in 1996 was 2.5 times that in the early 1950s, the amount of grain per capita in Tibet was three times that in the early 1950s. In 1996, the average per capita consumption of meat in Tibet was 48.6 kilograms, an increase of 17.2 percent compared to 1991. In 1996 the average per capita consumption of vegetables by urban dwellers in Tibet had increased by 26 percent and that of edible oil by 14.5 percent over the 1991 figures. Other increases in that year were 2.1 times for eggs and 4.2 times for sweets and cakes. In tandem with the development of the economy, the household property owned by both urban and rural people in Tibet has increased steadily. The peasant and herdsman households own large amounts of means of production, and the average fixed assets for production purpose are worth more than 8,000 yuan per household. There are 9 motor vehicles, 6 big or small tractors, 3 threshing machines and 12 horse-carts per 100 households. The numbers of electrical household appliances and other durable goods are increasing each year in urban families; in 1996 there were 88 color TV sets, 6 black and white TV sets, 42 washing machines, 50 refrigerators, 46 cameras, 9 motorcycles and 222 bicycles per 100 urban families -- all these figures being huge increases compared to 1991. According to statistics of the old local government of Tibet, about 90 percent of the Tibetan population had no residential houses of their own in 1950, but now, except for people living in a small number of pastoral areas, all families have their own permanent houses. From 1990 to 1995 the living space of rural and urban people increased, respectively, from 18.9 sq m to 20 sq m and from 11 sq m to 14 sq m. According to surveys of the middle valleys of the Yarlungzangbo, Lhasa and Nyangqu rivers, some of the peasant families have enough surplus grain to last them for up to three years. Moreover, in some townships 90 percent of the peasant families have built new houses.

Some people in remote areas of the Tibet Autonomous Region still live fairly impoverished lives. The governments at all levels in the Region, according to the instructions and requirements of the Central Government, are implementing a help-the-poor plan to actively assist the local people to raise the level of production so as to get rid of poverty and become well-off. In 1996 alone, the autonomous region earmarked 114 million yuan for the help-the-poor drive. In September 1997, when blizzards rarely seen in local histories hit some of the areas, particularly northern Tibet, causing severe hardship to the peasants and herdsmen in productive work and daily lives, the State Council held a special meeting to discuss how to aid the disaster victims there. By January 1998 the Central Government had allocated a total of 42 million yuan in relief funds and transported a large amount of materials to the disaster areas. In addition, the State Council sent officials to the disaster areas to express sympathy and solicitude for the people, inspect the disaster areas and help solve difficulties. The governments at all levels in the Tibet Autonomous Region devoted a large amount of manpower, materials and capital to the disaster relief work. All this has gone a long way toward relieving the difficulties brought by the blizzards to the peasants and herdsmen in productive work and daily lives.

To ensure a favorable living environment for the people of all ethnic groups and improve their quality of life, the Tibet Autonomous Region strictly implements the state's laws and regulations concerning environmental protection. Since 1992 the autonomous region has formulated and promulgated more than 20 local laws and regulations, and administrative rules on eco-environmental protection, including the Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region on Environmental Protection. In 1990 the Region's first modern environmental monitoring station was set up in Lhasa, which was followed by the Xigaze Environmental Monitoring Station set up in 1993. Other monitoring stations are being constructed so as to gradually form a region-wide environmental monitoring network. Monitoring results show low discharge of the "three industrial wastes" (waste gas, waste water and industrial residue) in Tibet: The smoke and dust elimination rate of industrial waste gas has reached 88 percent, and more than 50 percent of industrial waste water has been effectively treated. The quality of the water in the Region's major rivers is up to the state's first-class standard for the environmental quality of surface water. Most lakes in Tibet are still in a pristine state, with the quality of water within the state's standards. In general, the quality of underground water is good. So far not a single environmental pollution accident has occurred in Tibet, and no acid rain has fallen in the Region, let alone any man-made radiation pollution. Moreover, the monitoring findings achieved by the environmental protection departments over the years have proved that the natural radiation level in Tibet is within the standards specified by the state's radiation protection regulations.

The fact that the Tibetan people fully enjoy the rights to existence and development presents a sharp contrast to the miserable conditions in old Tibet where poverty and backwardness prevailed and the people's right to existence was not guaranteed. The feudal serf system that mingled politics with religion in old Tibet seriously hindered the development of the social productive forces. Therefore, for a long time its economy was in a primitive and backward state. Wooden plows were used for agricultural production and yaks were used for threshing. In some places the slash-and-burn method of farming was common. In 1952 the average grain yield per mu (one ha equals 15 mu) was 80 kg and there were only 125 kg of grain per person. In the old days Tibet had almost no industry in the modern sense of the word, and in fact in 1950 it only had one bunthouse of a mint and one 125 kwh hydropower station that generated power only off and on. At that time there were only 120 workers in the whole of Tibet. Even so, more than 95 percent of the social wealth was concentrated in the hands of the three major categories of feudal lords -- government officials, nobles and senior monks, who accounted for less than five percent of the population of Tibet, and the common people, who accounted for 95 percent of the population were extremely poor. There was a saying in old Tibet: "Slaves can only take their shadows away with them and leave only their footprints behind." The broad masses of slaves and serfs did not have any personal freedom, and even their right to life was not guaranteed. Before the Democratic Reform in 1959 the population of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, was just over 20,000, of whom some 1,000 households were impoverished or begged their living in the streets. It often happened that homeless people died on the roadside because of hunger and cold. But this appalling situation will never appear again in Tibet.

III. The People Enjoy the Rights to Education, Culture and Health Protection

Since the beginning of the 1990s educational, cultural and health work in Tibet has been further improved, and this has further promoted the people's right to education, culture and health protection.

The Chinese Government has adopted many preferential policies to promote education in Tibet. Boarding schools have been introduced in rural and pastoral areas, where Tibetan primary and middle school students enjoy free food, clothing and accommodation. Stipend and scholarship systems have been put in place step by step in primary and middle schools above the town level. The principle of "giving priority to people of local ethnic groups" has been adopted by all schools while recruiting students in Tibet, and a flexible enrollment method adopted in dealing with examinees of Tibetan and other ethnic minorities origin, whereby "the pass marks for admission are appropriately lowered and students are chosen on the basis of their test results."

Currently, a fairly complete modern education system is being operated in the Tibet Autonomous Region, and education is being spread to wider areas in the Region. According to 1997 statistics, 4,251 regular and village-run primary schools had been established in Tibet, with a total enrollment of 300,453 students. In 1997, 78.2 percent of school-age children were in school, a 32.6 percentage point increase over 1991. There are 90 secondary schools in Tibet, with 17,155 more students enrolled than in 1991. There are also four institutions of higher learning and 16 special secondary schools in Tibet. The illiteracy rate among the young and middle-aged has dropped by 41 percentage points as compared with the figure before the peaceful liberation of Tibet.

   Previous   1   2   3   4   5   Next  

Top Story
-Protecting Ocean Rights
-Partners in Defense
-Fighting HIV+'s Stigma
-HIV: Privacy VS. Protection
-Setting the Tone
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved