II. Sixty-years' Development since Peaceful Liberation


I. Realizing the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet

II. Sixty-years' Development since Peaceful Liberation 
III. Historic Achievements that Capture World Attention
Concluding Remarks

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Peaceful liberation was an important turning point in the historical development of Tibet. Over the 60 years since then Tibet has gone through several phases of development, such as the Democratic Reform, establishment of the autonomous region, building of socialism, and reform and opening up, scoring spectacular achievements.

1. Implementing the 17-Article Agreement, maintaining national unity and ethnic solidarity, and launching Tibet's drive towards modernization

- Sending troops to Tibet and consolidating border defense. As stipulated in the 17-Article Agreement and its Appendix I, the PLA troops with the 18th army as the major force marched into Tibet from September 1951 to June 1952, and were stationed in strongholds such as Gyamda, Gyangtse, Shigatse, Lhuntse Dzong, Dromo, Zayul and Gerze, bringing to an end the history of Tibet' s 4,000-km border being undefended.

- Handling Tibet's foreign-related affairs on a centralized basis. On September 6, 1952 the foreign affairs office of the central government representative stationed in Tibet was set up, responsible for all the foreign-related affairs of Tibet under the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Central People's Government. On April 29, 1954 the People's Republic of China and the Republic of India signed in Beijing the Agreement on Trade and Intercourse between the Tibet Region of China and India, abolishing the privileges India had inherited from the British invaders. In 1955 China established official diplomatic ties with Nepal, and signed the Agreement on Maintaining Friendly Relations between the People's Republic of China and the Kingdom of Nepal and on Trade and Intercourse between the Tibet Region of China and Nepalin 1956, which cancelled Nepal's privileges in Tibet, advancing and consolidating the Sino-Nepalese relationship to a new level. To this day, all the foreign-related affairs of Tibet are dealt with by the Central People's Government on a centralized basis.

- Attaining self-sufficiency and satisfying both military and civilian needs. The central government issued such instructions as "sending troops to Tibet but not depending on local people for grain supply" and "tightening the budget and attaining self-sufficiency," and put forward a series of financial policies such as "guaranteeing food supplies for the army and taking into consideration of civilian needs" and "unified procurement and economical practice." Soon after the PLA entered Tibet, it funded itself by selling local wool to the central government at prices higher than those of India. This move foiled the scheme of illegal hoarding and profiteering plotted by reactionaries of the Tibetan upper class with an aim to sow discord between Tibetans and Han people and greatly benefited many of the upper class, enabling them to acknowledge the central government's goal of safeguarding the interests of the Tibetan people. They thus gradually reduced their dependence on and connection with the imperialist forces and drew closer to the central government.

- Carrying out united front work, and promoting national unity and progress. Encouraged by the central government, the 10th Panchen Lama and his entourage returned to Lhasa from Qinghai Province to have a friendly meeting with the 14th Dalai Lama in April 1952. The CPC Working Committee of Tibet then made great efforts to help settle both the current practical problems and those left over from history between the Dalai and Panchen lamas, who in 1953 were elected as honorary presidents of the Buddhist Association of China, with Living Buddha Kundeling as vice president. In September 1956 the Tibetan branch of the Buddhist Association of China was set up. In September 1954 the 14th Dalai and 10th Panchen lamas went together to Beijing to attend the First Session of the First National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, which demonstrated that the Tibetan people enjoyed equal rights with other ethnic groups in participating in the administration of China' s state affairs. Concurrently, a total of 1,000 people in 13 groups were organized from 1952 to 1957 to visit the hinterland, including upper-class monks and lay officials to lamas and common people including women and youngsters, which strengthened connections between Tibet and the hinterland and promoted national unity.

- Actively undertaking the modernization program to promote Tibet's economic, social and cultural development. After the peaceful liberation, the PLA and people from other parts of China working in Tibet persisted in carrying out the 17-Article Agreement and the policies of the Central Authorities, built the Xikang-Tibet and Qinghai-Tibet highways, Damxung Airport, water conservancy projects, modern factories, banks, trading companies, post offices, farms and schools. They adopted a series of measures to help the farmers and herdsmen expand production, started social relief and disaster relief programs, and provided free medical service for the prevention and treatment of epidemic and other diseases. All this promoted the region's economic, social and cultural development, created a new social atmosphere of modern civilization and progress, produced a far-reaching influence among people of all walks of life in Tibet, ended the long-term isolation and stagnation of Tibetan society, paved the way for Tibet's march toward a modern society, opened up wide prospects for Tibet's further development and provided necessary conditions for the common progress of Tibet and the nation as a whole.

2. Implementing the Democratic Reform, abolishing feudal serfdom, and emancipating millions of serfs and the social productive forces, achieving the most profound social reform in the history of Tibet

Prior to the Democratic Reform, Tibet practiced a system of feudal serfdom under theocracy, which was darker and more backward than in Europe in the Middle Ages. The three major estate-holders - officials, nobles and upper-ranking monks in monasteries - accounted for less than five percent of Tibet's total population but owned all the farmland, pastures, forests, mountains and rivers, and the majority of the livestock. The serfs and slaves, accounting for more than 95 percent of the population, had no means of production or freedom of their own. They were not only subjected to the three-fold exploitation of corvee labor, taxes and high-interest loans, but also suffered cruel political oppression and punishment rarely seen in world history. Their lives were no more than struggles for existence. Thus, reforming the social system of Tibet was an inevitable requirement of social development and the fundamental aspiration of the Tibetan people. In consideration of the special conditions of Tibet, the 17-Article Agreement stipulated that "the Central Authorities will not alter the existing political system in Tibet;" "in matters related to various reforms in Tibet, there will be no compulsion on the part of the Central Authorities. The local government of Tibet shall carry out reforms of its own accord, and when the people raise demands for reform, they shall be settled by means of consultation with the leading personnel of Tibet." After Tibet was liberated peacefully, the Central People's Government adopted a very prudent and tolerant attitude toward the reform of its social system, hoping to persuade the people of the local ruling class of the need for reform and waiting patiently for them to take initiative to start the social reform. But the serf owners were totally opposed to any reform which would mean giving up their privileges, and sabotaged the 17-Article Agreement and plotted a series of activities to split Tibet from China, which ended in a full-scale insurrection in 1959.

In order to safeguard the unity of the nation and the fundamental interests of the Tibetan people, the Central People's Government, together with the Tibetan people, took decisive measures to suppress the rebellion, dissolved the local government and carried out the Democratic Reform in Tibet, which fundamentally uprooted the feudal serfdom. Through this reform, the theocratic system was annulled to separate religion from government; the feudal serf owners' right to own means of production was abolished and private ownership by farmers and herdsmen was established; the serfs and slaves' personal bondage to the officials, nobles and upper-ranking monks was cancelled, and they won their freedom of the person. The Democratic Reform constituted an epoch-making change in the social progress of Tibet and its development of human rights. It emancipated a million of serfs and slaves politically, economically and in other aspects of social life, effectively promoted the development of social productive forces in Tibet and opened up the road towards modernization. The former serfs and slaves got over 186,000 hectares of land in the Democratic Reform and, in 1960, when the Democratic Reform was basically completed, the total grain yield of Tibet was 12.6 percent higher than in 1959 and 17.7 percent higher than in 1958 prior to the Reform. In addition, the total number of livestock was 9.9 percent higher than in 1959.

3. Implementing regional ethnic autonomy, making Tibet embark on the road of socialism. The Democratic Reform in Tibet coincided with its construction of democratic politics. After the rebellion broke out in March 1959 the State Council issued an order to dissolve the Kashag and decided to make the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region exercise the local government's duties and power. Later, the Qamdo People's Liberation Committee and the Panchen Kampus Assembly were abolished, and a centralized people's democratic government was set up, thus ending the co-existence of several political powers of different nature. In 1961 a general election was held across Tibet. For the first time, the former serfs and slaves were able to enjoy democratic rights as their own masters, as they elected power organs and governments at all levels. Many emancipated serfs and slaves took up leading posts at various levels in the region. In September 1965 the First Session of the First People's Congress of Tibet was convened in Lhasa, at which the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Regional People's Government were officially proclaimed. Then, through the socialist transformation of agriculture and animal husbandry, Tibet embarked on the road of socialism. The founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region and adoption of the socialist system provided an institutional guarantee for the realization of ethnic equality, unity, mutual help and common prosperity. It also provided a guarantee for all ethnic groups in Tibet to enjoy equal rights to participate in the administration of state affairs and that of ethnic affairs. In this way, an institutional guarantee was put in place for Tibet to develop along with other parts of China, with special support and assistance by the state and according to its local conditions.

4. Implementing reform and opening up, promoting Tibetan economy to change from a closed one into an open one and from a planned one to a market one. The 1980s witnessed a great upsurge of the reform, opening-up and modernization drive in Tibet, as in all the other parts of China. In 1980 and 1984, respectively, the Central Authorities held the First and Second Tibet Work Forums, setting the guiding principles for work in the region - focusing on economic development, changing from a closed economy to an open one and from a planned economy to a market one. The central government also formulated a series of special policies for economic development in Tibet, such as "long-term right to use and independently operate land by individual households" and "long-term right to have, raise and manage livestock by individual households," to promote the reform of the region's economic system and its opening-up program. Since 1984, 43 projects have been launched in Tibet with state funds and aid from nine provinces and municipalities. The implementation of the policy of reform and opening up and the state aid have invigorated the Tibetan economy, raised the overall level of industries and the level of commercialization of economic activities in Tibet, and helped Tibet take another step forward in its economic and social development.

5. Exploring and formulating the basic policies for the work in Tibet in the new period as required by the new situation, constantly speeding up the development of Tibet and maintaining its stability.

Ever since the Dalai Lama and his clique fled abroad, they have stuck to their claims and efforts for "Tibet independence" and secessionist activities. With the support of the CIA of US, they proclaimed the setting up of an "independent Tibet" in India, and established bases for armed forces in India and Nepal, launching armed attacks on China's borders intermittently. In 1964, at the 151st Conference of the State Council, the Decision on the Removal of the Dalai Lama from His Official Positions was adopted, which stated, "After the Dalai Lama staged the treasonous armed rebellion in 1959, he fled abroad and organized a 'government-in-exile,' issued a bogus constitution, supported Indian reactionaries who invaded our country, and engaged in the organization and training of remnants of Tibet's armed forces who had fled abroad with the object of attacking our borders. All this proves that he has alienated himself from the country and the people, and been reduced to a traitor working for imperialists and reactionaries abroad." After the policies of reform and opening up were implemented in Tibet, the Dalai Lama clique pressed on with their infiltration and sabotage activities, and plotted the Lhasa riots in the late 1980s, which were quickly quelled by resolute actions adopted by the central government. In 1989 the Chinese government put forward ten propositions to guide the development of Tibet, which served to unify the people's thinking and promote stability, thus constituting a turning point for the work in Tibet in the new period. In 1994 the central government held the Third Tibet Work Forum, and set the guiding principles for work in the region in the new era as follows: Focusing efforts on economic development, firmly grasping the two major tasks of developing the economy and stabilizing the situation, securing a high-speed development of the economy, overall social progress and lasting political stability in Tibet, and ensuring the continuous improvement of the Tibetan people's living standards. At the Forum, the Central Authorities also adopted the important decisions to devote special attention to Tibet and ask all other parts of China to aid Tibet, and formulated a series of special favorable policies and measures for speeding up the development of the autonomous region. The Forum led to the birth of a mechanism for all-round aid for the modernization of Tibet, in which the state would take the lead to directly invest in construction projects in the region, the central government would provide financial subsidies, and the other parts of the country would provide paired-up aid. In 2001 the Central Authorities held the Fourth Tibet Work Forum, at which it was decided that more effective measures would be adopted and efforts would be further strengthened to support Tibet and push forward in an all-around way the region's development and stability. Since 1994 the central government has organized 60 state organs, 18 provinces and municipalities and 17 state-owned enterprises to provide aid to Tibet in the fields of human resources, finance and materials, technology and management in a paired-up way to cover all the cities at the prefectural level and 73 counties (including cities and districts at the county level) in Tibet. The completion of 62 aid projects identified in 1994 and 117 aid projects identified in 2001, respectively, in Tibet gave a strong impetus to its economic and social development. In the meantime, the central government overcame interference and sabotage from the Dalai Lama clique, identified the reincarnated the soul boy of the 10th Panchen Lama, approving Gyaltsen Zangpo's position as the 11th Panchen Lama, and resolutely struggled against the Dalai Lama's secessionist group, all of which helped to maintain stability in Tibet.

6. Upholding the Scientific Outlook on Development, vigorously accelerating Tibet' s development to realize leapfrog development, and achieving lasting peace based on stability.

After the 16th National Congress of the CPC, in light of the new historical conditions, the Central Authorities explicitly stated that its priorities for Tibet's economic and social development would be to ensure and improve the production and living conditions of farmers and herdsmen, and to increase their incomes as required by the Scientific Outlook on Development. By doing this, it helped to promote the region's economy and society to develop in a better and faster way, and make all ethnic groups in Tibet enjoy the fruit of the reform and development. In 2006 the central government formulated 40 preferential policies aiming to accelerate Tibet's development and maintain its stability, and identified 180 (the actually completed number is 188) construction projects for its 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), which helped Tibet to score remarkable achievements in development and stability. Tibet's economy developed at a high rate, infrastructure construction in transportation and energy improved markedly, a large number of major projects including the Qinghai-Tibet Railway were completed and have produced satisfactory economic benefits, social undertakings showed all-around progress, the living standards of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet were greatly improved and Tibet's self-development capacity was further enhanced. In the meantime, the government put down the March 14th Lhasa Incident according to law, resolutely prevented and cracked down on splittist activities instigated by the Dalai Lama clique, further conducted education in patriotism and law in the monasteries, scored a great victory in the anti-secession struggle and strengthened ethnic unity constantly. In January 2010 the Central Authorities held the Fifth Tibet Work Forum, at which it further enriched and perfected the guiding principles for the work in Tibet, and drew up comprehensive plans for every aspect of its development and stability, which were: focusing efforts on economic development, safeguarding ethnic unity, taking improvement of people's livelihood as both the starting point and final aim of all work, holding fast to development and stability, ensuring a leapfrog development of economy and society, national security and prolonged peace in Tibet, and working for the constant improvement of the standard of people's material and cultural life, and a sound ecological environment. At a new starting point in its history, Tibet is showing great momentum for prosperity again.