Vsevolod Ovchinnikov, a renowned Sinologist and chief reporter in China for former Soviet newspaper Pravda [Source: People's Daily]
"The Tibetan people were enjoying true freedom of religion after the abolishment of the feudal serfdom system." Vsevolod Ovchinnikov, a renowned Sinologist and chief reporter in China for former Soviet newspaper Pravda said in Moscow recently.
"As a Pravda correspondent based in China, I made a two-month long business trip to Tibet in 1955."
"I noticed, during my stay there, that the Central People's Government had stringently implemented the Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, and I, together with other foreign journalists, met Dalai Lama. When answering my questions, Dalai Lama expressed his gratitude to the Central People's Government for its protection of the freedom of religion in Tibet."
"At that time, Tibet has yet to carry out democratic reform. I witnessed with my own eyes that the feudal serfdom system was still in place, and the lamaseries and the lords owned all the land people had labored on as well as all the pastures. What struck me most on the trip was a scene of serf owners torturing the serfs on the streets of Lhasa. It was even harder to see some serfs had their ears or fingers chopped off."
"I visited Tibet for the second time in 1990. I found drastic changes had taken place in the life of the Tibetan people. The Tibetan people were enjoying true freedom of religion after the abolishment of the feudal serfdom system. The population in Tibet was growing at a fast pace and the average life expectancy was much longer. At that time, some Tibetans had traveled to cities like Beijing to begin their private business. In addition, Tibetan medicine was well-protected and passed down. Young Tibetans could even attend universities in big cities in the interior regions."
(People's Daily March 23, 2009)