The following is the full text of the speech made by Chinese vice president Hu Jintao Thursday at the rally in celebration of the 50th anniversary of peaceful liberation of Tibet.
Speech by Vice-President Hu Jintao at the Rally in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet
(19 July 2001)
Comrades and Friends,
Today, the ancient city of Lhasa is covered in gala decorations with red flags flying in the Potala Square and the Yarlung Zangbo River gurgling delightfully. We members of the delegation from the Central Government, together with cadres and people of all ethnic groups in Tibet, are holding this grand celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet with joy and elation. First of all, I wish to extend, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee, the NPC Standing Committee, the State Council, the CPPCC National Committee and the Central Military Commission, our warm congratulations and cordial greetings to workers, farmers and herdsmen, intellectuals, cadres and people from all walks of life of all ethnic groups in Tibet and to officers and men of the PLA Garrison and of units of the People's Armed Police Force (PAPF) and public security officers in Tibet. Our high tribute goes to all the comrades and friends who have contributed to the peaceful liberation, prosperity and development of Tibet, and our heartfelt thanks to the foreign friends who have cared for and supported the development and progress of Tibet.
Fifty years ago, the CPC Central Committee and Comrade Mao Zedong, having correctly assessed the situation, made a far- sighted, resolute and significant policy decision to liberate Tibet peacefully. The Central People's Government and the former local government of Tibet signed the Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, thus bringing about the peaceful liberation of Tibet. The peaceful liberation of Tibet was a major event in modern Chinese history and an epoch-making turning point in the course of development in Tibet. It symbolized that Tibet once and for all cast off the yoke of imperialist aggression and that the great unity of the Chinese nation and its great reunification cause have entered a new period of development. It ushered in a new era in which Tibet would turn from darkness to light, from backwardness to progress, from poverty to affluence and from seclusion to openness.
Over the past 50 years, which is just a wink of the eye in the long history of human progress, the ancient and fascinating land of Tibet has undergone unrivaled changes and worked unprecedented miracles on earth.
Over the past 50 years, Tibet has achieved a leap forward in the historical development of social systems and embarked on a socialist road. With the abolition of feudal serfdom, under which the Tibetan people had long been suppressed and exploited, millions of erstwhile serfs who did not even have the minimum of human rights have now stood up and become masters of their own fate. Today people of all ethnic groups are fully enjoying political, economic, cultural and other rights and having complete control of their destiny.
Over the past 50 years, Tibet has made substantial headway in its economic development, and the living standards of its people have improved markedly. Through democratic reform, socialist transformation and reform and opening-up, the social productive forces of Tibet have been emancipated and developed in an unprecedented manner. Last year, the GDP of Tibet was more than fifty times that of 1959 when democratic reform started. The Autonomous Region has built up its infrastructure from scratch. The income of urban and rural residents has increased steadily, with the overwhelming majority of people out of poverty and some people leading comfortable lives. This stands in stark contrast to the plight of the destitute people in the old Tibet.
Over the past 50 years, the socialist spiritual civilization in Tibet has been steadily enhanced and society has moved forward in an all-round way. Educational, scientific and technological, cultural, public health and other social undertakings have been developing vigorously. People of all ethnic groups in Tibet have generally had enhanced political awareness, higher ethical standards and scientific and educational levels. The fine traditional culture in Tibet has not only been protected, inherited and carried forward, but also substantiated to reflect people's new lives and meet the new requirements of social development called for by the times.
Over the past 50 years, solidarity among all ethnic groups in Tibet has been constantly strengthened and social stability there has been maintained on the whole. With the execution of the Party' s policies on ethnic and religious affairs and the all-round implementation of the system of regional autonomy of ethnic minorities, the socialist ethnic relationship, which features equality, solidarity and mutual assistance, has been growing in strength. People's freedom of religious belief has been fully respected and protected. People of all ethnic groups have worked in unity and succeeded in foiling the separatist and disruptive activities of the Dalai clique and anti-China forces in the world time and again, and thus safeguarded stability in Tibet and national unity and state security.
With the passage of 50 extraordinary years, Tibet of today presents a scene of vitality and prosperity with economic growth, social progress and stability, ethnic solidarity and solid border defense. The people here are living and working in peace and contentment.
The credit for the remarkable achievements of Tibet in the past 50 years goes to the wise decision-making and correct leadership of the three generations of central collective leadership of the Party with comrades Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin at the core respectively during different historical periods in Tibet 's development. The achievements are also attributable to the all- out support of the state to Tibet and the continual aid of the people across the country. The achievements are also the result of the concerted efforts by the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet, who have displayed the extraordinary spirit of fortitude, hard work, endurance, solidarity and utter devotion.
Reflecting on the past in light of the present, one should bear in mind where his/her happiness comes from. At this moment, we deeply cherish the memory of proletarian revolutionaries of the older generation such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping who initiated and laid the foundation for the development and progress of Tibet. We also deeply cherish the memory of the martyrs and heroes who dedicated their youth, wisdom, strength and even invaluable lives to the revolution, construction and reform in Tibet and to the defense of the frontier of the motherland. Their heroic names and meritorious deeds will be eulogized through the ages and go down in history!
The course of 50 years of storms and vicissitudes has brought to light a great truth: It is only under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, only in the embrace of the big family of the motherland and only by firmly taking the socialist road with Chinese characteristics that Tibet can enjoy today's prosperity and progress and an even better tomorrow. This is the most important conclusion that we have drawn from the 50 years of Tibet 's development and also the fundamental principle that must be followed in building and developing Tibet in the days to come.
Comrades and Friends,
Tibet is in the southwestern frontier of the motherland, with a vast stretch of land and a most important strategic position. The development, stability and security of Tibet have a direct bearing on the fundamental interests of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet as well as ethnic solidarity, national unity and state security. It is the common aspiration and mission of people of all ethnic groups in China, the Tibetan people included, to build on the prosperity and progress and maintain stability and solidarity in Tibet.
At present, China has entered a new stage of development in which it will build a well-to-do society in an all-round manner and accelerate the socialist modernization drive. Tibet has also entered an important period for faster development and maintenance of stability. Recently, Comrade Jiang Zemin made an important speech at a rally in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. He systematically summarized the achievements and basic experience of the 80-year- long struggle of our Party, profoundly expounded the scientific connotation of the important concept of the "Three Represent's", correctly answered major questions that need to be studied and resolved for Party building in the new historical period and further identified the objectives and tasks of the Party in the new century. This important speech is a Marxist programmatic document which will guide our efforts to advance the great cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and the new and great project of Party building. It also provides a strong ideological weapon for accelerated development of Tibet in the new century. Not long ago, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council held the fourth working conference on Tibet, at which a magnificent blueprint for Tibet's development for the first few years of the new century was mapped out and the guiding principles of vital importance for the work of Tibet were formulated. According to the plan of the conference, the Central Government and all localities throughout the country will intensify their support to Tibet and help create even more favorable conditions for its development. As one of the priority regions in the development of China's west, Tibet is faced with unprecedented opportunities for development.
The Central Government ardently hopes that the vast number of cadres and people of Tibet will earnestly study and implement the essential points of President Jiang Zemin's important speech on 1 July and the spirit of the fourth working conference on Tibet, seize the opportunities and make good use of them, and forge ahead in a pioneering spirit in an earnest effort to move the Tibetan economy from step-by-step development to leapfrog development and Tibetan society from relative stability to lasting peace and stability.
Rapid economic development is the fundamental condition for realizing the interests of all ethnic groups in Tibet and also the basic guarantee for greater ethnic unity and continued stability there. Cadres and people of all ethnic groups in Tibet should further emancipate their minds, update their concepts and press ahead with the reform and opening-up so as to create a sound social and institutional environment for economic development. It is essential to work hard, practice economy, make careful plans and calculations, and cherish and make good use of Government investment and financial assistance by other regions of the country to ensure full economic and social returns for aid projects. It is essential to rely on your own efforts, work assiduously, truly depend on your own enthusiasm, initiative and creativity, and bring them into full play. It is essential to vigorously develop an economy with distinctive local characteristics by making full use of abundant local resources and speed up strategic readjustment to your economic structure in a bid to turn your rich natural resources into actual economic strength. It is essential to implement the strategy of revitalizing Tibet through science and education in a comprehensive manner, advocate a social environment of respect for knowledge and talented people, and work hard to advance science, technology and education so that you may truly depend on scientific and technical progress and improved quality of the work force for economic growth. It is essential to pay great attention to the environment, step up the protection and improvement of the eco-system so as to achieve a sustainable economic and social development in Tibet.
Greater ethnic unity and lasting social stability are where the fundamental interests of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet lie. Without ethnic unity and social stability, its economy cannot develop smoothly and its people cannot enjoy their work and lives. Cadres and people of all ethnic groups in Tibet should always hold high the banners of patriotism and ethnic unity, bear in mind that "the Han people and ethnic minorities are inseparable from each other, so are ethnic minorities themselves" and that people of all ethnic groups should truly share weal and woe. It is essential to stick to and improve the system of regional ethnic autonomy and further consolidate and develop the socialist ethnic relationship of equality, solidarity and mutual assistance. It is essential to correctly and comprehensively implement the Party's policy of freedom of religious belief so that people of all ethnic groups will unite and cooperate with each other politically, respect each other's beliefs, and throw all their weight behind faster development and continued stability in Tibet. It is essential to fight unequivocally against the separatist activities by the Dalai clique and anti-China forces in the world, vigorously develop a good situation of stability and unity in Tibet and firmly safeguard national unity and state security.
The PLA Garrison, PAPF units and the law enforcement departments in Tibet are the strong pillars and loyal guards in defending the frontier of the motherland and maintaining stability in Tibet. They are an important force in the building of both material and spiritual civilizations. They should carry forward the fine traditions and work style, improve and stiffen themselves, strengthen unity between the government and the army, between civilians and the armed forces, and between the police and the people, and make new contributions to the stability and development of Tibet.
Comrades and Friends,
Tibet is a beautiful and richly endowed region of our great motherland. The industrious and talented people of all ethnic groups in Tibet have, in a long historical development, made outstanding contributions to the creation of a glorious culture of the Chinese nation and creation of a unified multi-ethnic country. In the last half a century in particular, the Tibetan people have written brilliant chapters in the development and progress of Tibet and added new glory to the big family of our socialist motherland. We feel profoundly proud of the past and immensely confident about the future. Let us rally around the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Jiang Zemin at the core, hold high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory, take the important thinking of the "Three Represent's" as the guide, work together unremittingly with one heart for a new socialist Tibet of unity, prosperity and civilization, and for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation!
(People's Daily 07/19/2001)