More than 20,000 people gathered at a grand rally in front of the ancient Potala Palace Thursday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet.
Vice-President Hu Jintao, currently heading a central government delegation participating in a series of celebrating activities, presented a gold-plated plaque bearing an inscription by President Jiang Zemin to Tibet and delivered a keynote speech on the occasion.
The city of Lhasa Thursday is in gala decorations with colorful flags and flowers and people in beautiful ethnic costumes thronged the Polala Square holding bunches of flowers and "hada", a local ceremonial silk scarf regarded as a token of respect.
At 10 am, Raidi, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress, announced the opening of the rally and Wang Zhongyu, deputy head of the central government delegation, read the congratulating message sent to Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the State Council, the National Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and the Central Military Commission.
In his speech, Hu extended warm congratulations and cordial greetings to Tibetan people of all walks of life on this special occasion.
He lauded the peaceful liberation of Tibet a major event in modern Chinese history and an epoch-making turning point in the course of development of the region. Over the past 50 years, Tibet has undergone unrivaled changes and worked unprecedented miracles on earth under the correct guidance of the three generations of central collective leadership of the Party with Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin at the core respectively during different historical periods of Tibet's development, he said.
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, Hu said.
He pointed out that Tibet's development, stability and security 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.
Guo Jinlong, secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of CPC, also pointed out in a following speech that without the leadership of the Communist Party of China, there would not have been today's Tibet.
China's central authorities sent Thursday a message of congratulation to the local authorities of Tibet Autonomous Region, marking the 50th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet.
"Tibet is an inalienable part of our great motherland," says the message, "closely united with all other ethnic groups in the country, our ethnic Tibetan compatriots, who are industrious, talented and courageous, have made indelible contributions to the historical process of creating the unified multi-ethnic state of ours."
On May 23, 1951, the plenipotentiary representative of the then Tibetan local government signed in Beijing an Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, declaring Tibet's peaceful liberation, the message recalls.
Over the past 50 years, the three generations of the central collective leadership with Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin at the core respectively have always shown great care for Tibet and devoted much attention and painstaking efforts to the building up of Tibet, and its reform and development, and to the liberation and well-being of people from all ethnic groups in Tibet, the message says.
Other provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities and all social sectors in the country have offered unreserved support and assistance to the reform and development of Tibet, says the message.
Hu Thursday also stressed the importance of building a high-quality contingent of cadres in Tibet, saying this is vital for the rapid development and long-term stability of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
He expressed the hope that all cadres in Tibet should conduct careful studies on both speeches made by President Jiang respectively at the conference marking the 80th anniversary of the founding of the CPC and the fourth central work conference on Tibet.
Hu Thursday also visited officers and soldiers of the military stationed in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Hu said that it is necessary for the soldiers and officers to learn about president Jiang's important speech delivered on July 1 and Jiang's well-known instructions of the "Three Represents."
Hu also visited representatives from the armed police and the law enforcement of the region.
Other officials with the delegation led by Hu such as Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai, Wang Zhongyu, Wang Zhaoguo and Xu Caihou participated in the visit.
(China Daily 07/20/2001)