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Special> China's Tibet: Facts & Figures> Society
UPDATED: October 29, 2008  
Support From State Leaders for National Regional Autonomy

Soon after the founding of the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and Zhu De began discussing matters concerning the liberation of Tibet. With the signing of the 17-Article Agreement in 1951, Tibet won peaceful liberation. On the day the agreement was signed, Chairman Mao Zedong instructed the officers of the PLA troops to be stationed in Tibet: "While in Tibet, everything should be approached first and foremost from the ethnic and religious aspects. Everything should be done in a prudent way" In 1954, Chairman Mao proposed to the 10th Panchen Erdeni and the 14th Dalai Lama, who were in Beijing attending the First Session of the First National People's Congress: "I suggest the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region which follows the national regional autonomy. A Preparatory Committee may be set up first to make preparations for this matter." The Preparatory Committee for the Founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region was set up in 1956, and Central Government leaders including Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi and Zhou Enlai sent their cables of congratulation and Chen Yi, Vice-Premier, was sent to celebrate at the head of the Central Delegation. The State leaders all stressed the need to cultivate cadres of ethnic minority groups. When the Preparatory Committee had been set up, Premier Zhou Enlai told cadres of the Han ethnic group who worked in Tibet then: "You need to cultivate great number of Tibetan cadres. The Preparatory Committee could do a good job only by relying on cadres of the Tibetan ethnic group."

As the core of the second-generation Central leader of New China, Deng Xiaoping made many constructive suggestions with regard to work in Tibet as early as the early days of Tibet's peaceful liberation. He told leaders of the PLA troops in Tibet: "Tibet is an ethnic minority region with special political, economic and cultural features. Central Government policies should be followed to the letter so as to do a good job there, as many problems in the region could only be solved through faithful implementation of the policies."

During the reform and opening up period, Deng Xiaoping showed great loving care for the work in Tibet. In 1987 when he met with the former US President Carter, he explained the yardsticks used to measure the quality of work in Tibet: "The key lies in whether our work is done in the interest of the Tibetan people. Only when our work is done in that way could Tibet develop at a fast rate and march in the forefront of China in modernization drive." In 1980 and 1984, the CPC Central Committee and the Central Government held two national conferences on work in Tibet to discuss how to better implement the policy of national regional autonomy and speed up economic construction in Tibet, and how to further improve the quality of life of the Tibetans.

The third-generation leadership of New China, with Jiang Zemin as its core, did a lot for socio-economic development of Tibet. In October 1989, Jiang, who had just been elected General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over the meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Ten decisions were made for better implementation of the policies of national regional autonomy, freedom of religious belief, economic construction and construction of the border areas. In 1994 and 2001, Jiang chaired the 3rd and 4th national conferences on work in Tibet, which were attended by leaders of the CPC and the State Council who were in Beijing then. Work in Tibet was discussed from a strategic height and new guiding principles for work in Tibet were determined, and development goals of Tibet confirmed. The conferences called on other parts of China to provide aid to Tibet. And policies for this were worked out.

Hu Jintao, current President of the PRC, used to work in the Tibet Autonomous Region. In 1990, Hu, then Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region, put forth the principles for work in Tibet: With economic construction as the focus of our work, we will strive to maintain social stability and seek economic development in Tibet so that Tibet would enjoy social stability, coordinated economic development and an enhanced standard of living. At the third national conference on work in Tibet, this was taken as the principle used to guide work in the autonomous region. When Hu Jintao became President of the People's Republic of China, he stressed the importance of economic development and improved life for the people of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Talking about national aid and support for Tibet, President Hu once said: "Aid projects should be undertaken in Tibet to help improve the farming and livestock breeding conditions and better the life of the Tibetans….The Central Government offers energetic aid and support for the Tibet Autonomous Region and calls on various provinces and municipalities directly under the Central Government to provide aid to Tibet. This is actually a kind of macro-regulation and is also a political task."

Leaders of the Central Government and the CPC Central Committee advocate, encourage and support the implementation of the regional national autonomy in Tibet. This proves to be a boon for Tibet to enjoy vigorous socio-economic development and also social stability.

(China's Tibet Facts and Figures 2008)

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