Facts and figures of Tibet (as of 2009)
(Courtesy ofFifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibetpublished by the Information Office of the State Council of The People's Republic of China)
— Tibet has experienced historic changes in its social system, which provides an institutional guarantee of the people's right to be their own masters. In 1965, the Tibet Autonomous Region was founded, marking the establishment of regional ethnic autonomy in Tibet and a historic leap from theocratic feudal serfdom to socialism featured with people's democracy. From then on, Tibet entered a new era, with the people becoming their own masters. The former serfs and slaves have since enjoyed political rights to equal participation in the administration of state affairs and to independent administration of local and ethnic affairs. The people of Tibet, as other ethnic groups in China, enjoy all the rights guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution and other laws. They can directly elect, in accordance with the law, deputies to the people's congresses at county, district, township and town levels, and the latter elect deputies to the people's congresses at the national, autonomous regional and municipal levels. Through the people's congresses at various levels, the people of Tibet exercise their rights, in accordance with the law, to participation in the administration of state and local affairs.
In the elections for the people's congresses at the autonomous regional, prefectural (municipal), county and township (town) levels in 2007, the proportion of participating residents was 96.4 percent, and as high as 100 percent in some places. Of the more than 34,000 deputies, directly or indirectly elected, to the people's congresses at the above four levels, more than 94 percent were members of the Tibetans or other ethnic minorities. Of the deputies to the current NPC, 20 are from Tibet, including 12 Tibetans, one Monba and one Lhoba.
Tibetans' rights to independent administration of local and ethnic affairs are guaranteed. Since 1965, the posts of chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress and chairman of the People's Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region have all been held by Tibetans, and the chief leaders of the standing committees of people's congresses and the people's governments at various levels in the autonomous region are also Tibetans. So are the chief leaders of local courts and procuratorates at all levels. Tibetans and other ethnic-minority people compose 77.97 percent of the staff of current state organs at the autonomous regional, prefectural (municipal) and county levels.
The Tibet Autonomous Region not only has the right to formulate local regulations as a provincial-level state organ, it can also decide on local affairs, and formulate self-government regulations and separate regulations in line with local political, economic and cultural characteristics. Where the resolutions, decisions, orders and instructions by superior state organs do not apply to the conditions in Tibet, the Tibetan autonomous organs can request adjustment or suspension of the relevant documents.
Statistics show that since 1965 the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region has enacted 250 local regulations, resolutions and decisions with regulatory nature, which cover political power buildup, economic development, culture and education, spoken and written languages, justice, relics protection, protection of wild animals and plants, and protection of natural resources. They protect the special rights and interests of the Tibetan people in the spheres of politics, economy and social life, and promote the development of various local undertakings.