60 years of democratic reform in Tibet (updated)

The Chinese State Council has released a white paper celebrating 60 years of democratic reform in Tibet. You may find the full text in English here.

The facts speak for themselves: from 1959, Tibet (along with a number of other minority nationality areas) has been liberated from an archaic form of serfdom. Since then, the basic human right of socio-economic wellbeing has been fostered, the forces of production have been liberated (so much so that the Tibet Autonomous Region now has one of the highest growth rates in China), the common people of Tibet have taken control of their own future, the ‘third pole’ of Tibet has developed significant environmental protection policies, and Tibetan culture and religion have thrived. You can read the details for yourself.

Also, a full section of the Global Times has a series of articles on improvements in Tibet and the decline of the ‘separate’ group in India. Indeed, of the 15,000 or so in Dharamsala, 100 a year leave to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Many long to return to Tibet itself (as also the diapora community in Nepal). While life in Tibet improves year by year, the 14th Dalai Lama has less and less invitations to visit elsewhere. Watching how his reincarnation works out will be intriguing. You can be sure that the people of Tibet will find the reinicarnation there, in line with China’s policy of managing the 300 or so reinicarnations of living Buddhas, while the current Dalai Lama keeps changing his mind. Sometimes, he says he will not be reincarnated, while at other times he says his reincarnation will appear in India (for purely religious reasons, of course). Will we find ourselves with a split incarnation, where one becomes two – as Mao suggested for Chinese Marxist dialectics?

Back to the white paper, from which I would like to quote the following:

Before he was forced to flee Tibet after a failed counter-revolution in 1959 (sponsored by the CIA), the 14th Dalai Lama had the following:

Before democratic reform, the family of the 14th Dalai Lama possessed 27 manors, 30 pastures and over 6,000 serfs, and annually wrung out of them more than 462,000 kg of highland barley, 35,000 kg of butter, 2 million liang of Tibetan silver, 300 head of cattle and sheep, and 175 rolls of pulu (woolen fabric made in Tibet).

After 1959, the following was a result of the liberation of the serfs:

The serfs, who had been exploited and enslaved for generations, finally won freedom. They took ownership of more than 186,666 ha of land and other means of production. When their slave indentures and so-called IOU were burned in fire, they sang and danced to celebrate their liberation. In early 1960, about 200,000 farm households in Tibet acquired land certificates. Benefiting from policies such as the harvest of a farmland belonging to the one who sowed, lower rents for land, reduction in interest on loans, and the cancellation of old debts, the peasants gained more than 500 million kg of grain in total, over 750 kg per person.

Tsering Drolkar, a 68-year-old peasant from Khesum Shika of Nedong County said, “We had been providing corvée labor our whole lives. We never owned a single piece of land, what we worried about was how to find food for survival. Now with the land given to us by the people’s government, we will no longer go hungry.”

Perhaps the best is a new song that the liberated serfs began to sing:

The sunshine of the Dalai Lama touches only the nobles, while the sunshine of Chairman Mao showers on us poor people. The noble’s sun is setting and our sun is rising.

 

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2 thoughts on “60 years of democratic reform in Tibet (updated)

  1. Thank you for speaking the truth of the people’s history in Tibet. Malicious capitalist propaganda is so ubiquitous that everyone where I live in Canada is swallowing the lies hook line and sinker. I’m from China myself and although I’ve never been to Tibet personally, I’m Manchu/Han from the Amur river region in Heilongjiang and can confirm that minorities are largely treated well. In fact much better than how minorities are treated in Canada.

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