|March 29, 2018 -- The China Society for Human Rights Studies held a conference themed on “The Protection and Development of Tibetan Culture” on Mar.7 during the 37th meeting of United Nations Human Rights Council, introducing the efforts and fruits that Tibet has achieved in protecting and developing Tibetan traditional culture. More than 60 delegates from governments, international organizations, the NGOs, experts and journalists attended the conference. It is the first time that a Chinese NGO holds a conference themed on Tibet at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. Four native Tibetan scholars and Bressler, a French writer who have published books on Tibet, gave speeches and interpreted the topics that have attracted great attention, with the aim to let the world better understand Tibetan culture and the development of Tibet.
As from March 27, we will keep updating the speeches of the delegates.
Jigme Wangcuo: China’s approach to prompting human rights in Tibet
Ladies and gentlemen:
My name is Jigme Wangcuo, Secretary General of the Association for International Cultural Exchanges of Tibet Autonomous Region. Today I would like to talk about China’s approach towards prompting human rights in Tibet.
Before 1950s, Tibet, my hometown, had a feudal theocratic serfdom. In 1959, the central government abolished the feudal serfdom and effected democratic reform. In 1965, Tibet Autonomous Region was founded, adopting the regional autonomy system. Since then, millions of serfs and slaves have been living a life with dignity and freedom. After the reform and opening up policy was adopted in 1978, Tibet has been developing rapidly.
The central government has been promoting human rights in Tibet from the following three aspects: Firstly, abolishing the feudal theocratic serfdom to ensure basic human rights. Secondly, adopting the regional autonomy system to ensure the right to existence and the right to development. Thirdly, accelerating Tibet’s development to satisfy people’s material, spiritual and cultural needs.
Together with other ethnic minorities, Tibetan people have gained equal right to participate in the governance of both national and local affairs. This is a reflection of the human right protection in Tibet.
Tibet has established a modern education system, a comprehensive public health and social security system. The region has offered a 15-year free education program to the young. The goal of Tibetan people having access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing, and social assistance has been achieved. More than 91 percent of people of Tibet and other ethnic minorities have benefited from Tibet’s development.
Tibet’s human rights protection is also reflected in people’s daily lives. In cities and villages across the region, you will see people in modern and traditional costumes. You can enjoy Tibetan traditional food as well as cuisine from other parts of China and the world. In Tibetan people’s houses, you will find not only Tibetan traditional furniture but also modern electric appliances. People living in remote villages in Tibet have gained access to the internet, radio and TV.
Tibet has a total of 47 natural reserves with an area of 412, 200 square kilometers, accounting for 34.35 percent of Tibet’s total area. The ecosystem is generally stable and the average rate of excellent air quality reaches over 95 percent, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences. We can say Tibet is still one of the areas with the best environmental quality in the world.
Human rights protection is also evidenced by the traditional culture preservation and inheritance to meet people’s spiritual and cultural needs. The right to learn and use Tibetan language is protected by laws; the epic “Gesar” and Tibetan opera have been listed as a UN intangible cultural heritage; Tibetan Buddhist, Bonism, Islam and Catholicism are co-existing harmoniously. The freedom of religious belief is protected by laws. Tibet has more than 1,700 religious sites, which means one religious site for every 1,800 people. There are about 46,000 monks and nuns with one monk or nun out of every 70 people.
President Xi Jinping once said:” there is no best, but better records on human rights, and we can never stop promoting human rights.” The practices of the past 50 years have proved that Tibet’s development path follows the trend of social development of mankind and complies with China‘s national conditions and Tibet’s reality. It has been embraced and supported by all Chinese people.
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