White Paper: Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet

Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet

BEIJING, March 2 (Xinhua) -- The Information Office of the State Council, or China's cabinet, published a white paper titled "Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet" here on Monday. Following is the full text.


Over the past 50 years, tremendous changes have taken place in Tibet, as it has experienced a process from darkness to brightness, from poverty to prosperity, from autocratic rule to democracy, and from self-seclusion to opening up. At present, Tibet is in its best period of historical development with rapid economic and social progress, cultural prosperity, improved living conditions, national unity, good government and harmonious people.

III. Tremendous Historic Changes over the Past Half-century

Over the past five decades since the democratic reform, and with the care of the Central People's Government and the support of the people of the entire country, the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet, as masters of their own destiny, have displayed great enthusiasm in building a new happy life, promoting development of local economy and society in a frog-leaping manner and scoring historic achievements in various undertakings, which captured world attention.

II. Momentous Democratic Reform in Tibet

Carrying out democratic reform and abolishing the feudal serfdom of theocracy was an inevitable requirement for social progress. It was a major task of the people's democratic revolution led by the Communist Party of China, and was the only solution for social development in Tibet.

I. Old Tibet — A Society of Feudal Serfdom under Theocracy

Before the democratic reform in 1959, Tibet had been a society of feudal serfdom under theocracy, a society characterized by a combination of political and religious powers, and ruthless political oppression and economic exploitation of serfs and slaves by the serf-owner class, including three major estate-holders -- local administrative officials, aristocrats and upper-ranking lamas in the monasteries. For centuries, the Tibetan people had been living in dire misery and suffering from the harshness of life, and their society had sunk into a grave state of poverty, backwardness, isolation and decline, verging on total collapse.


Tibet has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times. The peaceful liberation of Tibet, the driving out of the imperialist aggressor forces from Tibet, the democratic reform and abolition of theocratic feudal serfdom in Tibet were significant parts of the Chinese people's national democratic revolution against imperialism and feudalism in modern history, as well as major historical tasks facing the Chinese government after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.