BEIJING, China, 29 March 2011
Monday marks the 52nd anniversary of serfs’ emancipation in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. Two years ago, the day became a public holiday in Tibet. 52 years ago, millions of Tibetan serfs ushered in a new chapter by ending centuries of feudalism.
For centuries, Tibetan serfs were enslaved to their owners’ land and endured terrible conditions.
The 28th of March 1959 signalled the end of these hardships. On that day, the central government announced it would dissolve the aristocratic local government as part of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
In the years since these reforms, dramatic changes have taken place in Tibet. At the end of 2010, Tibet was home to 2.93 million people, more than double the population of 1959. Life expectancy grew from 35 to 67 years old. Tibet’s GDP topped 50.7 billion yuan, up nearly 12 and a half percent from the previous year. Its per capita income climbed to 4,318 yuan per year, doubling what it was seven years ago.
Housing projects for low-income families have benefited more than 270,000 farmers and over 1.4 million herdsmen.
During the past five years, many major projects were completed to improve infrastructure. These include the Qinghai-Tibet railway, and the opening of the Xigate airport, bringing Tibet’s number of passenger airports to five.
Tibet’s traditional culture and its religious belief have also been protected. In the past five years, a total of 22 major projects have been carried out to preserve Tibet’s cultural relics.