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The Tu ethnic minority (3)

(People's Daily)

15:35, August 28, 2011

Drastic change

The Tu people did not, however, submit tamely to such oppression. On many occasions they rose in resistance, along with people of the Han and other nationalities.

In September 1949 the Tu people ushered in their liberation with great jubilation. With the help of the central government in Beijing, they did away with the reactionary social system and set up an administration of their own. This was followed by a struggle to eliminate bandits and bring down local despots, which paved the way for the final successful drive for land reform.

The Huzhu Tu Autonomous County was established in February 1954, in spite of the fact that the Tu people account for only 13.5 per cent of the population of the county. Autonomous townships have also been set up in areas where there are concentrated populations of the Tus. The Tu people have their representatives in the People's Congresses at both the Qinghai provincial and the national levels.

Religious Reform

The Yellow Sect of Lamaism used to have a wide-spread following among the Tu people. To strengthen their domination over the ordinary people, the ruling classes of previous regimes had, without exception, collaborated with the upper clerical elements. The latter enjoyed the support of the authorities as well as all kinds of privileges.

After 1949, the Tu people carried out a religious reform under the leadership of the people's government. They burned the feudal deeds and loan receipts of the Lama landlords and abolished all religious privileges, forced apportions and labor services.

These struggles helped further emancipate the minds of the Tu people, who threw themselves actively into the drive for socialist construction. Whereas superstition forbade the disturbing of "sacred" mountains and springs, the Tu people began transforming mountain slopes into farmlands and digging irrigation canals. Women, who began enjoying unprecedented political rights, took an active part in all these constructive endeavors.

The traditional practice of cremating the dead persists in most parts of the Tu-populated areas.


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