Tibet is a Tibetan autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. Since it was officially incorporated into the domain of China's Yuan Dynasty in the mid-13th century, Tibet has been under the jurisdiction of China's Central Government as an inalienable part of Chinese territory. Throughout history the diligent and honest Tibetan people -- a member of the big multi-ethnic family of China -- has made important contributions to the development of the splendid Chinese civilization as well as to the unity and unification of the motherland.

For long periods before 1959, however, Tibet had been a society of feudal serfdom characterized by the merging of politics and religion and the dictatorship of the clergy and nobility. The serfs and slaves, who accounted for over 95 percent of the total population in Tibet, had no personal freedom and were deprived of their basic human rights. The Democratic Reform carried out in Tibet in 1959 ended the history of a feudal serf system which merged religion with politics, and gave the more than one million serfs and slaves in Tibet, accounting for more than 95 percent of the total population, the right to be their own masters. Following the Democratic Reform, Tibet entered a new era of social development and progress in human rights.

In September 1992 the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China issued a white paper titled Tibet -- Its Ownership and Human Rights Situation. Drawing on a rich store of facts, the white paper introduced and expounded on the historical relations between Tibet and the big family of the motherland in a comprehensive way, as well as the progress in human rights in modern Tibet.

In recent years, thanks to the care and support of the Central Government, the unstinted assistance from other parts of China and the efforts of the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet, the Region's economic and social development has been remarkably speeded up, thus further promoting the development of the cause of human rights there. The development of the cause of human rights in the Tibet Autonomous Region is an important component of the new progress being made in human rights in China as a whole.

To understand and judge the human rights situation in Tibet, it is necessary to ascertain the relevant facts. Accordingly, we hereby present the facts about the new progress made in human rights in the Tibet Autonomous Region since 1992.