The anti-serfdom campaign in Tibet in the 1950s is part of the worldwide anti-slavery movement, as well as one of the greatest events in the anti-slavery history, a research fellow of the China Tibetology Research Center (CTRC) says in an article published by the Beijing-based Guangming Daily on Saturday.
The signed article by the research fellow Zhang Yun is entitled "Serf Emancipation Movement from the Perspective of the World -- A Talk on the Serfdom Abolition in China's Tibet and the Slavery Abolition Movement in Europe and America."
In Russia, the serf owners had the rights to intervene the properties and marriage of their serfs, while in Tibet, the serfs belonged to their owners once they were born and the owners own the serfs' children, as well. Tibetan serf owners had the rights to deprive the serfs of their properties and punish the serfs at the owners' will.
European countries were the first to fight and abolish slavery and serfdom, while Russia and the United States were late in doing so.
Between 13th-16th centuries, French serfs held a series of anti-serfdom movements. While Russia witnessed 86, 90 and 108 peasant uprisings in 1858, 1859 and 1860. In the 1860s, the Emancipation Proclamation and the American Civil War ended the slavery in the United States.
Serfdom was abolished in Tibet in 1959, around 100 years later than the United Kingdom (1833), Russia (1861), and the United States (1865).
While slavery and serfdom were abolished in Europe and America through wars or violent revolutions, the Tibetan serfdom was abolished in a peaceful and democratic way, the article says.
Moreover, Tibetans have witnessed great spiritual changes as the spiritual rule of the Tibetan Buddhism has gone with the serfdom. Tibetans have enjoyed a real freedom of belief, thanks to the perdition of serfdom in Tibet, the article says.
In recent years, many countries have moved to commemorate the abolition of slavery or serfdom.
In 2005, the United States announced it will set up its first slavery museum in the State of Virginia. On May 10, 2006, France marked the abolition of slavery and set the May 10 as the country's slavery abolition day. On August 23, 2007, Liverpool celebrated the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery. On July 29, 2008, the U.S. Congress issued its first official apology for its approval of slavery in the history.
Serfdom is a dark page for the human history and it should never make a comeback in the future, says the article. It criticizes the Dalai Lama and his supporters for praising hierarchical and feudalist serfdom in the old Tibet.
(Xinhua News Agency January 25, 2009)