A signed article in Tuesday's edition of the People's Daily said that China's reform and opening-up policy, a guiding principle that helped develop the economy since 1978, was the driving force for Tibet to achieve "leap-forward development."
Zang Xuanli, the contributor of the article, said Tibet has made great achievements in its economic, political, cultural, social and ecological spheres since China introduced the policy 30 years ago.
The implementation of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Regional Ethnic Autonomy in 1984, which stipulates that ethnic groups practice self-government in their regions, has provided a strong legal guarantee for Tibetans to exercise their right of regional autonomy, it said.
"The regional legislature, with the power granted by the Constitution, has in the past three decades passed 220 local laws and regulations based on local political, economic and cultural conditions."
These laws and regulations have promoted democracy in the Tibet Autonomous Region, added the article.
The People's Daily is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China.
The regional economy has grown at an unprecedented rate since 1978 and the annual output value reached more than 34 billion yuan (about 5 billion U.S. dollars) last year, nearly 16 times the figure in 1978, it said.
Per capita net incomes for farmers and herders soared to 2,788 yuan from 175 yuan in 1978, up 15 times, it said.
The government has also made unremitting efforts to develop the local culture by setting up institutions to save, collect and research Tibet's cultural heritage and increasing investment to protect it.
The high school enrollment rate reached 43 per cent, compared with 5.3 per cent in 1978, it said. More than 90 per cent of local school age children now have access to nine years' compulsory education, including six years in primary school and three years in middle school.
The environment is being protected, it said, noting that 40 natural reserves, covering nearly 408,300 sq km or 34.03 percent of the area of Tibet, have been established.
Tibet is challenged by new problems and conflicts in its development and "only by deepening the reform and expanding the scale of opening-up, can the deep-rooted problems be solved," it said.
Greater effort should be made to promote common prosperity so that more people could benefit from China's economic boom, the article said.
(Xinhua News Agency December 23, 2008)