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Tibet Autonomous Region Celebrates Its 40th Birthday

Today (Thursday) marks the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which is otherwise known as the "Roof of the World." And a celebration has been held, to mark the region's achievements over the past four decades.

The celebration was held in front of the highest palace in the world, the Potala Palace. Thousands of people gathered in the newly-renovated Potala Palace Square for the event. With the best wishes of Chinese people of all nationalities, a central government delegation attended, on behalf of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and other Party and government organizations of the country.

Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), delivers a speech at the celebration. He said, "On behalf of the CPC Central Committee, the National People's Congress Standing Committee, the State Council, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the Central Military Commission, let me send our sincerest congratulations and warmest regards to the workers, farmers, herdsmen, intellectuals, civil servants, PLA soldiers, armed forces, police officers, people from all walks of life and all ethnic origins in the Tibet Autonomous Region."

Tibet has undergone great change in the past 40 years. In 1951, the central government peacefully liberated Tibet from imperialist invasion to achieve the Chinese nation's great unity. People's permanent freedom is now ensured, due to democratic reforms and the abolition of feudalist serfdom in the region.

Implementation of regional autonomy for ethnic minorities in the region gives more initiatives to local residents. The Tibetan people, comprising various ethnic groups, have actively participated in state affairs, and used their various autonomous rights given by the Constitution and laws, to manage the internal affairs of the region.

People of other ethnic groups have gathered in the region in the past four decades, to help local people develop the region.

Yang Chuantang, Secretary of CPC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee, said, "Those pioneers, who upheld the interests of the people above everything, who devoted their whole lives to the revolution and construction of Tibet, who through humble means conquered unimaginably daunting challenges, who have by the sweat of their brow created tremendous wealth, and who have won the respect and admiration of the people with their devotion and contribution, will always be remembered by Tibetan residents of all ethnic groups for their spirits, their characters, and their feats and achievements, which will stand as a moment for ever and ever."

It has become an accepted phenomenon that all nationalities are united and working together, for their common prosperity and development. The Tibetan people stand firm behind China's unification and national solidarity, and their relationship with other nationalities has been developing smoothly. National solidarity has been strengthening.

Economic development in the region is amazing, as it enjoyed 12 percent GDP annual increases for four years in a row. The GDP last year was more than 18 times over the figure, 40 years ago. The central government's infrastructure investment has paved the way for the economic development.

The once remote area is now linked by road, rail and air with other parts of the nation. Cars are no long rare in the region. In Lhasa, every one in 13 people own a car.

The region's rich natural resources, beautiful scenery and unique culture have been greatly developed, in part thanks to the state government's care.

Schools for Tibetan language learning have been set up. Cultural relics and construction sites are well protected. Some are even on the World Cultural Heritage list.

The central government has also been working to protect the unique Tibetan antelope, and plans to carry out a complete study of the species.

(CCTV September 1, 2005)


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