IV. The People as Masters of the Country
The People as Masters of the Country
That the people are masters of the country is the core and foundation of the system of regional ethnic autonomy. The implementation of this system provides an institutional guarantee for the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet to be masters of the country and of society in the real sense.
-The people of all ethnic groups in Tibet have the full right to vote and stand for election.
As stipulated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, "All citizens of the People's Republic of China who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election, regardless of ethnic status, race, sex, occupation, family background, religious belief, education, property status, or length of residence, other than persons deprived of political rights according to law." The Law of the People's Republic of China on Regional Ethnic Autonomy has provisions regarding the numbers of deputies from all ethnic groups to the people's congress of an autonomous region, the chairperson of the standing committee of the people's congress of an autonomous region, and chairperson of the people's government of an autonomous region. In Tibet, the people of all ethnic groups directly elect deputies to the people's congresses at the county (district), township and town levels in accordance with the law; these deputies elect the deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) and the people's congress of the autonomous region. The Monba and the Lhoba ethnic groups who have a small share in Tibet's population also have deputies to the NPC and the people's congresses at all levels in Tibet.
From 2012 to January 2013, 94 percent of the constituency of Tibet Autonomous Region participated in direct elections at the county and township levels, among the four levels of the people's congresses. Currently, Tibet has 34,264 deputies to the people's congresses at all levels. Among them, deputies from the Tibetan and other minority ethnic groups account for 66.7 percent and 70.2 percent respectively of all deputies from Tibet to the NPC and to the People's Congress of Tibet Autonomous Region. In the 10th Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Tibet Autonomous Region, 24 of the 45 members and eight of the 14 chairperson/vice-chairpersons are from the Tibetan and other minority ethnic groups. Since the founding of Tibet Autonomous Region, all the chairpersons of the standing committee of its people's congress and all the chairpersons of its people's government have been Tibetan citizens.
The people of all ethnic groups in Tibet fully enjoy the right to manage their ethnic and regional affairs. According to the Chinese Constitution, the organs of self-government of Tibet Autonomous Region exercise the power and functions of provincial-level state organs as well as the power of autonomy in accordance with the law. The People's Congress of Tibet Autonomous Region has the power to enact regulations on the exercise of autonomy and other separate regulations. Since Tibet Autonomous Region was established, its people's congress, as the supreme authority in the region and on behalf of the people of Tibet, has exercised the power of autonomy in managing its ethnic and regional affairs: listen to and review the work reports of the people's government, the standing committee of the people's congress, the higher people's court, and the people's procuratorate of the autonomous region, and supervise the work of these local state organs; enact major local regulations, and make major resolutions and decisions on local social and economic development; review and approve economic and social development plans, financial budgets and final accounts; and elect the members of the standing committee of the people's congress, chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the autonomous region, the president of the higher people's court, and the procurator-general of the people's procuratorate.
By July 2015, the People's Congress of Tibet Autonomous Region and its Standing Committee had enacted and ratified 123 local regulations that are currently effective, made 148 resolutions and decisions that have the same legal standing as regulations, and 29 regulations, resolutions and decisions it ratified have been repealed. They total 300 in all, covering the building of political power, economic development, social stability, culture, education, language, protection of cultural relics, and environmental protection. Every year the Committee of Tibet Autonomous Region of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference discusses the work report, the economic and social development plan, and the financial budget report of the People's Government of Tibet Autonomous Region, and the work report of the Higher People's Court and the People's Procuratorate of Tibet Autonomous Region; organizes its members to participate in the consultation and discussion of Tibet's local regulations (draft); voices opinions and offers suggestions on the formulation and implementation of the Eighth, Ninth, 10th, 11th, and 12th Five-year Plans of Tibet Autonomous Region at plenary meetings, standing committee meetings, chairman's meetings, consultative conferences, special symposiums, or through member inspections and investigations, making proposals and convening "economic development forums." In this way, it exercises the functions of participating in the deliberation and administration of state affairs on behalf of all circles in Tibet.
According to the Law of the People's Republic of China on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, "If a resolution, decision, order or instruction of a state organ at a higher level does not suit the conditions in an ethnic autonomous area, the organ of self-government of the area may either implement it with certain alterations or cease implementing it after reporting to and receiving the approval of the state organ at a higher level." In addition to national holidays, for example, Tibet has also established other public holidays, mostly traditional Tibetan festivals such as the Tibetan New Year and Shoton Festival. Taking into consideration its special natural and geographical conditions, Tibet Autonomous Region applies 35 weekly working hours, five hours less than the national legal level. In 1981, after taking into consideration Tibet's history and folk customs, the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Tibet Autonomous Region promulgated the Alternative Regulations of Tibet Autonomous Region on the Implementation of the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China, in which the legal age of marriage for both men and women was reduced by two years relative to the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China, and polyandrous and polygynous relationships that had existed before the regulations took effect would be allowed to continue if no one involved proposed dissolution. In light of the actual conditions in Tibet, the autonomous region enacted and implemented multiple alternative regulations and supplementary provisions on state laws, including the Regulations of Tibet Autonomous Region on the Protection of Cultural Relics, the Regulations of Tibet Autonomous Region on Environmental Protection, and the Decision of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Tibet Autonomous Region on Cracking Down on the Crime of Life Compensation.
-Minority ethnic group officials are improving their capability.
As stipulated in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China,"Among the chairperson and vice-chairpersons of the standing committee of the people's congress of an ethnic autonomous area, there must be citizens of the ethnic group(s) exercising regional autonomy in the areas concerned; the heads of all autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties should be citizens of the ethnic group(s) exercising regional autonomy in the areas concerned." To ensure all ethnic groups, especially ethnic minorities in Tibet, fully exercise their rights as masters of the country, Tibet Autonomous Region always advocates the appointment and training of local officials from minority ethnic groups. In the early days after establishment of Tibet Autonomous Region in 1965, it had only 7,600 or more officials from minority ethnic groups; by 1976 the figure was 16,800; by the end of 1986 it was 31,000; by the end of 1994 it was 44,000; and by the end of 2014 it was more than 110,000, 13 times more than that of 1965, and accounting for 70 percent of the total number of officials in the autonomous region.
Currently, Tibet Autonomous Region has 33 provincial-level officials from minority ethnic groups, and more than 450 departmental/bureau-level officials from minority ethnic groups; chief Party and government officials at the prefectural/municipal and county/district levels are mostly ethnic minorities; 70 percent or more of the officials in the Party and government leading groups at the township and town/sub-district levels are ethnic minorities; and the Party and government organs at all levels in the Region have ethnic minority leading officials in accordance with the law. Among both the deputies to the 10th People's Congress and members of the 10th People's Political Consultative Conference of Tibet Autonomous Region, ethnic minorities account for more than 70 percent. Moreover, a number of outstanding ethnic minority officials in Tibet directly participate in the administration of state affairs. Among the 12th NPC deputies and the 12th CPPCC National Committee members from Tibet, Tibetans and other ethnic minorities account for more than 80 percent. The 10th Panchen Erdeni, Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme, Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai, Raidi and Qiangba Puncog have all been high-ranking leaders at the state level.
Ethnic relationships featuring equality, unity, mutual support and harmony have been enhanced and developed.
Without equality and unity among all ethnic groups, the people cannot be masters of the country. Achieving ethnic equality and unity is the starting point and ultimate goal of the CPC's ethnic philosophy and policy. Over the past 50 years since Tibet Autonomous Region was established, the central government and Tibet Autonomous Region have adhered to the policy of ethnic equality, unity, mutual support, and harmony. Through protecting the rights of all ethnic groups as masters of the country, improving the appointment and training of ethnic minority officials, promoting voluntary communication, exchanges and interaction among all ethnic groups, and enhancing support from other parts of the country for Tibet's social and economic development, China has created a favorable situation wherein all ethnic groups work together in harmony towards common development.
The central government always attaches great importance to the development of Tibet, cares for the wellbeing of the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet, mobilizes resources from the whole country to assist Tibet, and promotes progress in Tibet through providing preferential policies and full support in personnel, materials, and funds. From 1952 to 2014, the central government provided Tibet with financial subsidies totaling 648.08 billion yuan, which accounted for 92.8 percent of Tibet's public financial expenditure. Since 1980, there have been six national symposiums on work in Tibet, formulating integrated blueprints for Tibet's development from the perspective of the country's overall drive towards modernization. Since the Third National Symposium on Work in Tibet in 1994, the central government has put into effect the policy of pairing-up support for Tibet, whereby 60 central state organs, 18 provinces or municipalities directly under the central government, and 17 centrally managed state-owned enterprises have paired up with various areas of Tibet in order to provide assistance to them. Over the last two decades, 4,496 outstanding officials and 1,466 professionals have been sent to work in Tibet in seven batches; 7,615 assistance projects have been carried out; and 26 billion yuan has been invested in Tibet, mainly directed at improving infrastructure and the quality of life. All of this assistance has made an enormous contribution to Tibet's social and economic development.
In 1990, the Party Committee and the government of Tibet Autonomous Region designated September as Ethnic Unity Month. Before 2010, the Party Committee and the government of the autonomous region had held five ethnic unity and progress award ceremonies that commended 1,756 outstanding units and individuals, including Kong Fansen and Li Suzhi. Since 2012, the Party committees and governments at all levels in Tibet have held annual ethnic unity and progress award ceremonies, and commended 2,089 units and 3,224 individuals. In 2013, Lhasa was selected as the pilot city for National Demonstration Prefecture (City/League) for Ethnic Unity and Progress. In recent years, the History Museum of the Tibet Military Command, Dzong Fortress in Gyantse where the Tibetans had fought British invaders, the Museum of Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet Minzu University, and Lhasa Customs have been designated by the State Ethnic Affairs Commission as Education Bases for National Ethnic Unity and Progress. The thought that "the Han ethnic group cannot develop without minority ethnic groups, and vice versa, while all minority ethnic groups cannot develop separately" has taken root in people's minds. The public have reached the consensus that "unity and stability are a blessing while secession and riots are a scourge."