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White Paper: Promoting a Range of Undertakings in Tibet

By Source:Xinhua 2019年04月08日 10:17

Tibet's democratic reform enabled it to make a historic leap from feudal serfdom to socialism. The establishment of socialism served to liberate and develop its productive forces and lift its economic growth from one level to another, and promote significant social progress.

– Marked improvement in living standards

Over the last six decades, the living standards of all ethnic peoples in Tibet have been improved and their happiness quotient has risen significantly. Before democratic reform the serfs had little food and scanty clothing; immediately after democratic reform began, their living conditions started to improve. In 2018, the average per capita disposal income of urban residents was 33,797 yuan, and that of rural residents was 11,450 yuan. Great efforts have been made to complete housing projects for low-income farmers and herdsmen, renovation and reinforcement of dilapidated houses, improvement of rural living conditions, resettlement of impoverished people from places of harsh natural conditions, affordable housing projects, and the transformation of shanty towns, to ensure that all rural and urban people in Tibet have safe and comfortable homes. Energy supply infrastructure has been improved. Central heating networks have been completed and put into operation in nine counties in Lhasa, Naqu, Ngari and Nyingchi, enabling more and more people to have access to heating system in winter. Optical cables and broadband networks have been connected to every township. The broadband access rate of administrative villages has reached 85 percent, with full mobile phone signal coverage.

Modern consumer durables are growing in popularity. Refrigerators, TVs, washing machines, computers, mobile phones and cars have become commonplace. Local radio, television, telecommunications and internet as modern communication tools are developing at the same pace as the rest of China and the wider world, and becoming an important part of daily life. Urbanization is also progressing. By 2018, the urbanization rate of the permanent resident population had reached 31 percent. An urban system has taken shape centered on Lhasa, with prefectures as pivots and a network of counties, border towns and tourist towns.

Before democratic reform, due to a combination of factors such as a backward economy, high infant mortality, poor medical conditions, and a high proportion of Buddhist monks and nuns, the growth of Tibetan population had stagnated for a long time. Over the past 60 years, the population has grown from 1.23 million in 1959 to 3.44 million in 2018, with Tibetans making up over 90 percent of the total. The life expectancy of the people in Tibet increased from 35.5 before 1959 to 68.2 now. According to the "CCTV-China economic life survey" program jointly presented by the National Bureau of Statistics and China Central Television, Lhasa has ranked as the city with the highest happiness quotient for the last five years.

– Flourishing cultural undertakings

There was little access to cultural life for serfs in old Tibet. Over the past 60 years, the central government and the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region have given full support to the protection and promotion of Tibet's fine traditional culture, to the development of advanced socialist culture, to achieve progress and prosperity in Tibet's cultural undertakings, and to bring a richer cultural life to the people in Tibet. Cultural centers and cinemas have been set up in Lhasa and other cities. There are song and dance ensembles, Tibetan opera troupes, and drama troupes at the autonomous region level; folk art troupes at the prefecture level, 75 art troupes at the county level, and 2,400 amateur art groups at the township level. They perform in rural and pastoral areas and bring to remote villages the best of socialist culture. Cultural products are flourishing. Fine new works include the Laundry Song, the duet A Walk in New Lhasa, the musical Daughter of the Sun, the drama Common Home, the opera Reconciled Love, and the song The Road to Heaven. Some performing art works such as the outdoor live stage show Princess Wencheng, and the musicals Happiness on the Way, and Searching for Shambala have generated both social benefit and profits, and become well-known calling cards of Tibetan tourism.

By the end of 2018, the radio and television network coverage rates in Tibet had reached 97.1 percent and 98.2 percent. Currently, almost all cities (prefectures) have public libraries. Counties have comprehensive cultural centers, towns have cultural service centers, and administrative villages have cultural centers, libraries and projector rooms. The annual output of the cultural industry in Tibet totals 4.6 billion yuan. There are 234 cultural industry demonstration centers (parks) at national, regional, municipal (prefectural) and county levels.

The Tibetan language is protected by the law and develops smoothly. It is used extensively in political life. All resolutions and regulations adopted by people's congresses of Tibet at all levels, and all official documents and public notices released by people's governments at all levels and their subordinate departments are published in both Tibetan and Chinese. In the judicial process, Tibetan is applied in hearing cases involving Tibetan litigants and in releasing legal instruments. Information technology has been applied to the Tibetan language, with a computer coding system using Tibetan characters that has reached national and international standards.

While protecting and developing the Tibetan language, the state is promoting the standard Chinese across the country, including Tibet, in accordance with the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language which stipulates that "the state popularizes Putonghua and the standardized Chinese characters," and "All citizens shall have the right to learn and use the standard spoken and written Chinese language."

The excellent traditional ethnic culture has been carried forward and promoted through a number of laws, regulations and official documents such as Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Protection of Cultural Relics, Regulations on the Protection of Old Town of Lhasa, Measures of the Tibet Autonomous Region for Implementing the Intangible Cultural Heritage Law of the People's Republic of China, Measures of the Tibet Autonomous Region for the Protection and Management of the Potala Palace, and Plan of Rejuvenation of Traditional Craftsmanship in Tibet Autonomous Region. They have provided a legal basis for the protection of ethnic culture in Tibet.

Significant progress has been made in protecting cultural relics. The state and Tibet Autonomous Region have invested over 5 billion yuan in the renovation of 55 sites under state protection and 616 sites under regional protection. Taking the old town of Lhasa as an example, in transforming Barkhor Street, which dates back more than 1,300 years, the government of Lhasa gave full consideration to the protection and inheritance of ethnic culture by highlighting and displaying fine Tibetan cultural elements, listening to the suggestions and advice of local residents, monks and craftsmen, and organizing tours of the street for representatives of the public to offer opinions. All these efforts helped to protect the culture of the old town of Lhasa. The Potala Palace Complex has been registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Tibetan opera, Gesar, Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa have been included in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. There are 89 items on the state level intangible heritage list and 96 state level Trustees. There are 460 items on the regional level intangible heritage list, and 350 regional level Trustees. Four sites including the Potala Palace are designated as state key units for the protection of ancient books and 291 ancient books are listed as national rare ancient books.

As Tibet becomes more open, its culture is going global. Tibetan Culture Week, and the China Tibet Tourism and Culture Expo are becoming platforms to present traditional Tibetan culture to the world. Tibet has also sent a variety of art troupes to over 100 countries and regions to give performances, put on exhibitions, and carry out academic exchanges.

– Solid progress in education

In old Tibet, education was largely the preserve of the privileged aristocracy. The serfs who made up 95 percent of the population were not entitled to education, resulting in an illiteracy rate surpassing 95 percent among young people. After democratic reform, Qamdo Primary School, Lhasa Primary School, Lhasa Middle School, and Xizang Minzu University expanded quickly. Primary schools and middle schools were set up in all prefectures and counties. Primary schools were established in most townships and some villages.

In 1961, Lhasa Normal School opened officially. In the following years, Tibet University, Tibet Agriculture and Animal Husbandry University, Tibet Traditional Medical College and Tibet Vocational Technical College were set up. A modern and comprehensive education system is now in place in Tibet, including pre-school education, basic education, vocational technical education, higher education, continual education, and special education. All people in Tibet have a right to education that is fully protected.

After democratic reform, the Constitution, Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy and Law on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language and local regulations made specific requirements on the teaching, use and development of ethnic languages to establish a proper bilingual teaching system. At present, bilingual teaching has been introduced in some urban primary schools and all those in agricultural and pastoral areas, with main courses taught in Tibetan. Middle school courses are taught in both Tibetan and standard Chinese.

By 2017, Tibet had 1,239 kindergartens, 806 primary schools, 132 middle schools and seven institutions of higher learning. The number of graduates from these schools has increased from 18,000 in 1959 to over 530,000 today. Remarkable success has been achieved in running Tibetan classes in the rest of the country. Twenty-one provinces and cities are running such classes (schools). Over 36,000 Tibetan students of such classes have won credentials above the level of secondary technical school and got back to work in Tibet. In 1985, the state began to adopt the Three Guarantees policy-providing food, accommodation and school expenses-for children of farmers and herdsmen, as well as children from impoverished urban families. The standard has been raised 18 times. The policy coverage has expanded and the benefits increased. From 2012, Tibet has implemented the policy across the board for 15-year compulsory education. In 2018, the net enrollment rate in primary school was 99.5 percent, and gross enrollment rates in junior high, senior high and higher education were 99.5, 82.3 and 39.2 percent respectively, with the per capita length of education reaching 9.55 years.

– Constant development of medical services

Over the past 60 years, Tibet has made steady progress in medical and health services, sharing synchronous development with the rest of the country and protecting the health rights of all people in Tibet. The system of medical services, maternity and child care, Tibetan medicine and therapies, and prevention and control of diseases has improved. By the late 1970s, regional epidemics presenting significant health hazards had been brought under control, and the morbidity and mortality rates of infectious and endemic diseases were in sharp decline. Solid efforts have been made to improve the medical and health infrastructure. Hospitals at all levels, including 71 county-level hospitals, have been renovated and expanded. A medical service system covering regional, municipal (prefectural), county and town levels is in place. In rural and pastoral areas farmers and herdsmen enjoy special preferential policies concerning medical services. This is a full-fledged policy which relies mostly on government input, supplemented by personal payment, social pooling for severe diseases and provision of medical aid. The central government attaches special importance to medical services in Tibet and send to Tibet medical workers selected from renowned hospitals across the nation. They are assigned to work in Tibet Autonomous Region People's Hospital and the hospitals in seven cities (prefectures), thereby helping to accelerate the development of medical and health services in Tibet.

Tibetan medicine and therapies are being effectively conserved, and passed down from generation to generation. Hospitals providing Tibetan medicine have been set up in all cities (prefectures) and counties, and therapeutic standards are consistently regulated and improved. Since the beginning of the 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015), the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine has organized experts to collate and compile 150 volumes of medical literature from 29 ethnic groups. Tibet is responsible for the compilation of 20 of these on Tibetan medicine and therapies. It is also responsible for examining 10 practical medical techniques. In 2018, Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa was registered on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. By the end of 2018, Tibet had 50 hospitals providing Tibetan medicine, offering in total 2,412 beds.

A medical and health service system featuring traditional Chinese medicine, Western medicine, and Tibetan medicine, with Lhasa at the center and radiating throughout the whole autonomous region, is now in place. In Tibet today there are 1,547 medical institutions of various types, offering 16,787 beds, and employing 19,035 medical staff, increasing by 24 times, 35 times and 23 times respectively, compared with those before democratic reform. The childbirth mortality rate of the Region fell from 50 per thousand at the beginning of liberation to 1.02 per thousand in 2017, and the infant mortality rate from 430 per thousand to 10.38 per thousand.

– Significant increase in social security provision

In old Tibet, even in its capital Lhasa, homeless beggars proliferated. After liberation, the Working Committee of Tibet began to distribute relief food to those living in poverty. After democratic reform, a social security system was set up. The social security system known as "five major types of insurance" (endowment insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance, medical insurance, and maternity insurance) is now in place and covers both urban and rural residents, benefiting 3.71 million participants. In 2017, a total of 375,331 people in Tibet benefited from endowment insurance, 532,326 from basic medical insurance, 842 from work-related injury insurance, 14,342 from maternity insurance and 30,577 from unemployment insurance.

Policies relating to insurance provision are improving. Benefits from endowment insurance for employees, and medical insurance for urban workers and urban residents were among the best in China. Basic living allowances for disadvantaged people have been improved. In 2017, people over 60 were entitled to receive basic pension in 74 counties (districts), and the number of eligible recipients stood at 283,647. The maximum payment limits of medical insurance for urban workers and residents were 300,000 and 200,000 yuan respectively. As of January 1, 2019, the government of Tibet has raised the minimum standard of subsistence allowance to 9,600 yuan for urban residents and 4,450 yuan for rural residents per person per year, and the standard for households (the aged, the infirm, old widows and orphans) eligible for the "five guarantees" (food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses) to 4,940 yuan per person per year.


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