Home / 50th Anniversary of Democratic Reform in Tibet / Opinion Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Panchen Lama: Freedom and prosperity ring on liberated plateau
Adjust font size:

I, as a descendant of the suppressed serfs in the old Tibet and a legitimate heir to the Panchen Erdini, feel exceptionally excited while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of a million serfs in the region.

The 17-Article Agreement, signed by the central government and the local authority of Tibet upon the region's peaceful liberation in 1951, signaled the end of past imperialist aggression and slavery and a new step for the Chinese people toward national unity. The armed uprising that failed eight years later was aimed at opposing any progressive social reforms in the region and preserving feudal serfdom.

It served as a stark conspiracy by a handful of people to retain their long-maintained privileges and interests through "Tibetan independence".

On March 23, 1959, then Premier Zhou Enlai signed a State Council decree, announcing the immediate dismantlement of Tibet's local government and urging the establishment of an organizing committee to exercise the region's administrative power.

The premier also called on people to work for a new democratic and socialist Tibet and appointed the 10th Panchen Lama, my predecessor, director of the organizing committee. Under the wise leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the substantial support of patriotic religious figures in Tibet, including the 10th Panchen Lama, and the massive number of people across the country, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) suppressed the 1959 revolt and successfully safeguarded national unity.

The ensuing democratic reforms in Tibet helped liberate a million serfs in that sacred land and completely dismantle the politico-religious rule, opening a new era for the Himalayan region in which working people could really become the masters of their own destiny.

Tibet has since trod a modern development path. The dominance of the three major estate-holders in the old Tibet - local administrative officials, aristocrats and upper-class monastery lamas - and their economic foundation of feudal serfdom, were razed in that campaign.

So was the three major estate-holders' barbaric subjugation and economic exploitation of Tibetan farmers and herdsmen.

The liberated serfs and slaves thus gained personal freedom and the rights for subsistence and development they had long only dreamed of.

As a concomitant, people's organizations at various levels and grassroots regimes have been established. Meanwhile, the army of cadres and intellectuals of Tibetan ethnicity has been continuously expanded. These have all brought major changes to Tibet's political, economic and social landscapes. It turns out that the sweeping democratic reforms launched in Tibet helped people of all ethnic groups in the vast plateau region and brought them prosperity.

Facts speak louder than words on these matters.

The remarkable progress Tibet has achieved since the 1959 democratic reforms indicate that only the CPC could regain dignity and freedom for former Tibetan serfs.

The liberation of Tibetan serfs adheres to Buddhism's devotion to the deliverance of all living creatures from torment.

Party leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao have consistently paid great attention to Tibet and extended great care to the Tibetan people.

Since reform and opening-up in 1978, the CPC Central Committee has convened four conferences on Tibet and devised a series of preferential policies and flexible measures on its economic and social development.

A new and all-encompassing assistance program, featured as direct State investment, central government subsidies and nationwide region-to-region aid, has also been set up.

Over the past 50 years, the Tibet autonomous region, in compliance with the country's Law on the Autonomy of Ethnic Minorities, has exercised governance by itself and made outstanding achievements in preserving ethnic relics, developing local culture and safeguarding people's freedom of religious belief.

Under the leadership of the CPC, a new and booming Tibet is advancing fast along with the country's socialist modernization process.

Facts indicate today's development and prosperity in Tibet as well as its brighter prospects owe much to the leadership of the CPC.

All people of various circles and ethnic groups should value more than ever the region's hard-won achievements, uphold the leadership of the CPC and contribute more to national unity and the happiness of Tibetan people.

Just as the 10th Panchen Lama put it, in our big and unified family of multiple ethnicities, anyone committed to loving and working for his or her own ethnic group should really be a patriot devoted to pursuing the benefit of his or her ethnic group.

According to my understanding of the essence of Buddhist sutras, any monks and nuns should also love their own motherland while strictly abiding by religious disciplines.

As a religious figure, I will follow previous Panchen Lamas, devote myself to carrying forward the traditions of respecting the CPC and socialism, cherishing our motherland and our religion, and contribute to the harmonious development of Buddhism and socialism in the name of national unity and people's happiness.

The author is the 11th Panchen Lama.

(China Daily March 23, 2009)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Panchen Lama hails progress in Tibet
- 11th Panchen Lama visits exhibition on Tibet's democratic reform
- Panchen Lama promises to maintain stability