Tibet’s Power Goes to the People

The distribution of wealth in Tibet has changed dramatically since democratic reforms were introduced in 1959 to end a feudal land system established in the 13th Century that left 95 percent of Tibetans bound in serfdom to the five percent of landowners who owned most all the property in Tibet.

Some social scientists have described the serf system in Tibet as having been something between slavery and feudalism, a system that considered serfs were property of the feudal landowners, along with the land.

The bondage between serf and landowner was destroyed with the redistribution of land: Serfs won new lives after some 190,000 hecatres (some 469,500 acres) of land were distributed to 80,000 former serfs.

With this restructuring of society, the central government also provided support for the development of Tibet in money amounts of over 500 billion yuan (about US$60 billion).

The gross domestic product (GDP) in Tibet has increased some 10.7% annually over the past seven years, last year reaching 117 billion yuan (US$14 billion). Agriculture has done well over the past 13 years, and Tibet today is self-sufficient in its production of grain, oil and meat. The fixed assests per person amounted to nearly 10,000 yuan, with per capita income at 1,300 yuan.

Statistics provided by the local government in Tibet show that for every 100 people there are nine cars, six tractors and three engine-run threshers. In 1950 with 95 percent of the people living in serfdom, home ownership was rare. Today housing space is 20 square meters (about 24 square yards) per person for farmers and herdsman, and 14 square meters (about 17 square yards) for people living in the city.

In the 40 years since democratic reform, Tibet and Tibetans really have become their own people thanks to the rapid development of social and economic growth.

(CIIC translation from the Chinese article published by Xinhua News Agency)

In This Series

Tibet Rally Celebrates Peaceful Liberation

50th Anniversary of Tibet Peaceful Liberation Hailed

Women in Tibet Enjoy Equal Rights

Official: Progress in Tibet Impressive

Modern Technologies Transform Tibetan Lifestyle

Tibetans Hail Progress in 50 Years

Tibetans Enjoy Better Rights in All Areas



China's Tibet

50 Years in Tibet

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