April 16, 2018 -- The Khesum village is situated in the Yarlung River Valley. Yu Gang/Xinhua
Revisiting the heart of Tibet’s democratic reform
April 16, 2018 -- A two-hour drive southeast of Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region, brings one to Khesum village, situated below the mountains that rise above the Yarlung River valley.
Small as the village is — a population of just 700 — Khesum was the starting point of sweeping democratic reforms in 1959, which ended feudal serfdom under a theocratic system and began a new chapter for the plateau region of Southwest China.
On June 6, 1959, 302 serfs in the village, wearing ragged clothes, elected a preparatory committee for the first association of peasants in Tibet. That day marked the beginning of community-level democracy in Tibet.
Serfs’ Emancipation Day was celebrated in Tibet on March 28. During the reform in 1959, more than 1 million people, or 90 percent of the region’s population at that time, were emancipated from the feudal serf system.
April 16, 2018 -- Children line up to get on their kindergarten's bus coach at the entrance of the village. Jogod/Xinhua