II. The Tibetan People Enjoy Full Political Right of Autonomy
The Tibetan people enjoy, according to law, the equal right of participation in the administration of state affairs as well as the right of self-government to manage affairs of their own region and ethnic group.
The Tibetan people enjoy the democratic right to be masters according to law. The Chinese Constitution provides that all citizens of China who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election, regardless of ethnic status, race, sex, occupation, family background, religious belief, education, or length of residence. Since the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Tibetan people have actively exercised the right to vote and stand for election bestowed by the Constitution and law, participated in the election of deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) as well as the people's congresses at all levels in the Tibet Autonomous Region, and participated, through deputies to the people's congresses, in administration of state and local affairs. In 2002, when re-election at the regional, prefectural (city), county and township (town) levels took place in Tibet, 93.09 percent of electors in the autonomous region turned out to directly take part in the election at the county level. In certain places, the participation rate of local electors reached 100 percent. Among the elected people's deputies, the proportion of deputies of the Tibetan and other minority ethnic groups was more than 80 percent at both regional and city (prefectural) levels, and more than 90 percent at both county and township (town) levels.
The Tibetan and other ethnic-minority cadres make up the bulk of the cadres of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and fully exercise their right as the masters of society. The Constitution stipulates that among the chairman and vice-chairmen of the standing committee of the people's congress of an ethnic autonomous area there shall be one or more citizens of the ethnic group or ethnic groups exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned; the chairman of an autonomous region, the prefect of an autonomous prefecture or the head of an autonomous county shall be a citizen of the ethnic group exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned. Since the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, six terms (including the current one) of the Standing Committee of the Regional People's Congress and seven terms (including the current one) of the Regional People's Government have had Tibetans as the chairman. Since the establishment of the Tibet Committee of the CPPCC in 1959, five terms of the Regional Committee of the CPPCC have had Tibetans as the chairman. According to statistics, at present, of the chairman and vice-chairmen of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibetans and people of other ethnic minorities make up 87.5 percent; of the members of the Standing Committee of the Regional People's Congress, 69.23 percent; of the chairman and vice-chairmen of the Tibet Autonomous Region, 57 percent; and of the Standing Committee members and members of the CPPCC Tibet Committee, 90.42 percent and 89.4 percent, respectively. Of the functionaries of the state organs at the regional, prefectural (city) and county levels, Tibetans and citizens of other ethnic minorities make up 77.97 percent; of the people's courts and people's procuratorates at the regional, prefectural (city) and county levels, they make up 69.82 percent and 82.25 percent, respectively.
In addition, a number of Tibetan and other ethnic-minority citizens in Tibet directly participate in the administration of state affairs, and some serve in leading positions in state organs at the central level. Of the deputies to the National People's Congress, 19 are from Tibet, of whom, 12 are Tibetans. In the Standing Committee of the NPC of all previous terms, Tibetans such as the 14th Dalai Lama, the 10th Panchen Lama, Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme, Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai, and Raidi once served, or are serving, as vice-chairmen. At present, 29 Tibetans and persons of other ethnic-minority groups from Tibet serve as members of the CPPCC National Committee or members of its Standing Committee. Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme and Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai serve as vice-chairmen of the CPPCC National Committee.
The local organ of self-government in Tibet fully exercises the power of autonomy bestowed by the Constitution and law. According to the provisions of the Constitution, the organ of self-government of the Tibet Autonomous Region exercises the functions and powers of the local organ of state at the provincial level according to law as well as the power of autonomy according to law; and implements the laws and policies of the state in light of the existing local situation. The People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region has the power to enact local regulations enjoyed by an ordinary administrative region at the provincial level and the power to enact regulations on the exercise of autonomy as well as separate regulations in light of the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the ethnic group or ethnic groups in the region. According to statistics, since 1965, the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region and its Standing Committee have enacted 220 local or separate regulations, covering political, economic, cultural, educational and other aspects, including the "Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Protection and Management of Cultural Relics," "Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region on Environmental Protection," "Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Administration of Mountain Climbing in Tibet by Foreigners," "Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region on Correspondence and Visitation," "Resolutions on the Study, Use and Development of the Tibetan Language in the Tibet Autonomous Region," "Resolutions on Safeguarding Unification of the Motherland, Strengthening Ethnic Unity and Combating Separatist Activities," and "Decision on Severely Cracking Down on Illegal Imposition of 'Compensatory Damages for Lost Lives.'" The enactment and implementation of these local regulations have provided an important legal safeguard for protecting the special rights and interests of the Tibetan people and promoting the development of various undertakings in Tibet.
According to the "Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy," if a resolution,
decision, order or directive of a state organ at the higher level is not
suitable for the actual situation of the region, the Tibet Autonomous
Region has the right to flexibly implement or not to implement such a
resolution, decision, order or directive of the state organ at the higher
level, upon approval by the higher authorities. For instance, the organ
of self-government in Tibet has designated the Tibetan New Year, the Shoton
(Yogurt) Festival and other traditional Tibetan festivals as official
holidays in the region, apart from the official national holidays. In
addition, out of consideration for the special natural and geographical
factors of Tibet, the Tibet Autonomous Region has fixed the work week
at 35 hours, five hours fewer than the national statutory work week. Besides,
subject to authorization, the legislative body of the Tibet Autonomous
Region may also enact and implement flexible regulations and supplementary
provisions with regard to relevant state laws based on the actual local
situation. For instance, in 1981, in consideration of the historical customs
and other actual conditions in marriage of the ethnic minorities in Tibet,
the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous
Region adopted the "Accommodation Rules for the Implementation of
the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China," which lowers
by two years the statutory marriage ages for men and women provided in
the "Marriage Law," and stipulates that polyandrous and polygamous
marriages formed before the promulgation of the "Accommodation Rules"
shall be valid if none of the persons involved takes initiative to terminate
the marriage. The implementation of the state laws and policies in a flexible
manner as prescribed by law has effectively protected the special interests
of the Tibetan people.