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Full text: Democratic Reform in Tibet -- Sixty Years On
update:March 28,2019
progress has been made in promoting rule of law in the Region. On January 19, 2009, the Second Session of the Ninth Regional People’s Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region voted and adopted the Decision of the People’s Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region to Establish the Commemoration Day for the Liberation of One Million Serfs in Tibet. According to the decision, March 28 was designated as the day to commemorate the event.

– The rights of the people of all ethnic groups to participate in the deliberation and administration of state affairs have been fully guaranteed.
To fully ensure that people from all walks of life have the right to participate in the deliberation and administration of state affairs, the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) was established in December 1959. According to the Charter of the CPPCC, the CPPCC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee performs the duties of political consultation, democratic supervision, and participation in the deliberation and administration of state affairs, and plays an important role in democratic reform, socialist construction, and reform and opening up in Tibet. Focusing on formulating the 13th Five-year Plan of the Region, accelerating the construction of key projects, developing industries with local characteristics and strengths, and developing non-public economic sectors, the 10th CPPCC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee alone made 2,401 proposals, among which 2,347 were accepted for deliberation. At the sessions of the CPPCC committees at all levels in Tibet, people of all social strata have broad participation and play their role to the full extent. For instance, among the 518 members of the 11th CPPCC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee, 80 – the highest number – are representatives of religious groups (Buddhist associations), and 64 are from ethnic minority groups, the second-highest number.
Community-level democracy is developing and improving. After democratic reform, people’s governments at all levels were established in Tibet. In 1980, direct elections were held at township level all over Tibet, and they were expanded to county level starting from 1984. In 1987, the Tibet Autonomous Region issued the Decision on Strengthening the Development of Community-level Power Organs and the Decision on Strengthening Community-level Party Organizations in Farming and Pastoral Areas. Through years of experimentation, Tibet has gradually developed and formed community-level democratic systems in farming and pastoral areas. In rural areas, the system of villagers’ representative meetings has been established. In urban communities, community residents’ congresses and community committees have been set up, providing a solid organizational guarantee for the self-governance of urban residents. In enterprises and public institutions, the system of employees’ congresses is widely practiced. As of the end of 2018, there were 5,756 community-level workers’ unions, having 497,082 members.

Through democratic reform, people from all walks of life in Tibet have gained the right to participate in the administration of state affairs. In July 1959, there were 565 members of the upper class working in the executive organs of the government at district and prefectural levels. Among them, 415 were aristocrats, officials of former government, or religious figures. In the People’s Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region, a former serf owner and a former serf were successively elected to the post of vice chair. They were Kyibuk Phuntsog-Tseten and Lhagpa Phuntshogs. Both of them were born at the Kyibuk Manor prior to the liberation, and they became colleagues participating in decision making in the people’s government of the autonomous region. Through democratic reform, women were empowered with political rights. They took an active part in political affairs by participating in elections of the people’s congresses of various levels, serving as leading officials at various levels, and establishing women’s organizations. Pasang, a former vice president of the All-China Women’s Federation, and Tseten Dolma, a former vice president of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, are outstanding representatives of women participating in the management of public affairs. Thangme Konchog-Palmo, a former vice chairwoman of the CPPCC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee, was born into an aristocratic family in Lhasa. She made the following comments: “Under the feudal serfdom of the old society, even the wives of the kalons of the local government had no political rights, which were enjoyed exclusively by men. After the peaceful liberation of Tibet, men and women became equal. Women are empowered with rights. This was a huge change.”
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