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Abolishing of feudal serfdom system, liberating a million serfs and slaves
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09:11, March 13, 2009

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Abolishing the oppression and exploitation of feudal serfdom system, liberating a million serfs and slaves, according to the white paper titled "Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet" published by the Information Office of the State Council, or China's cabinet on March 2, 2009.

The white paper says that after the quelling of the armed rebellion in 1959, the Central People's Government immediately dissolved the Kasha regime and its armed forces, courts and prisons, which had oppressed the Tibetan people for hundreds of years. At the same time, it repealed the old Tibetan Code and barbarous punishments. This was followed by a planned and step-by-step campaign in the rural areas against rebellion, corvee labor and slavery, and for reduction of rent for land and of interest on loans; a campaign launched in the pastoral areas against rebellion, corvee labor and slavery, and helping hired herdsmen and herd owners; a campaign launched in the monasteries against rebellion, feudal privileges and exploitation, and to square accounts with political persecution, hierarchical oppression and economic exploitation; a campaign launched in the urban areas against rebellion, the feudal system, exploitation and privileges, and on reduction of rent for land and of interest on loans. In addition, the democratic reform was conducted in the border areas by stages, abolishing the bondage of the serfs and slaves to their feudal masters, as well as the feudal system, exploitation and privileges, and corvee labor and high-interest loans.

The white paper points out that the one million serfs and slaves in Tibet were emancipated. They became the masters of their country, as well as Tibet. Their lives and personal freedom are now protected and safeguarded by the Chinese Constitution and law. They no longer suffer from the serf-owners' political oppression, forced labor and inhuman treatment, as well as heavy corvee taxes and usurious exploitation.

The white paper says that implementing land reform, abolishing the feudal land ownership, making serfs and slaves masters of the land.

The white paper reveals that on September 21, 1959, the Preparatory Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region passed the "Decision on Abolishing Feudal Land Ownership System and Implementing Farmers' Land Ownership," stipulating that farm-land and other means of production originally occupied by those serf-owners involved in the armed rebellion were to be confiscated and distributed to landless serfs and slaves, and the land and other means of production of serf-owners who had not participated in the rebellion were to be redeemed by the state and then distributed to the serfs and slaves.

According to statistics shows in the white paper, in the democratic reform the central government spent 45 million yuan on the redemption of 900,000 mu of land and over 820,000 heads of livestock from more than 1,300 house-holds of serf-owners and agents who had not participated in the rebel-lion. Over 2.8 million mu of land was confiscated or redeemed from serf-owners, and distributed to 800,000 former serfs or slaves of 200,000 households. Each of the former serfs and slaves got about 3.5 mu of land. The laboring Tibetan people who had been enslaved generation after generation stood on their own land, celebrating all night. They cried, "The sun of the Dalai Lama shone on the nobility, while the sun of Chairman Mao is shining on our poor people. Now the Dalai Lama's sun is set, and our sun is rising."

The white paper says that Tibet's one million serfs and slaves became masters of the land and other means of production for the first time. Their unprecedented enthusiasm for production and life gave rise to a rapid change in Tibet's social situation and their living conditions.

According to the white paper, when the land reform was basically completed in 1960, the total grain output for Tibet was 12.6 percent higher than that in 1959 and 17.5 percent higher than in 1958, the year before the land reform. Moreover, the total number of livestock was 10 percent more than in 1959. During the democratic reform, Tibet's first supply and marketing cooperative, first rural credit cooperative, first private primary school, first night school, first literacy class, first film projection team and first modern medical organization were established in its history. By the end of 1959, 28 neighborhood committees had been set up in Lhasa, offering jobs to over 8,700 vagrants and beggars, providing relief to more than 8,500 poor people, and taking in over 120 childless, aged, sick and disabled people. In 1960, Ngachen Hydroelectric Station was completed and put into use, bringing electric lighting for the first time to the citizens of Lhasa. In 1959 and 1960, dozens of small-scale modern factories were set up in Tibet, employing over 20,000 Tibetan workers. Tibet's roads built in those two years totaled 12,500 km, and reached over 90 percent of the counties in the region.

By People's Daily Online

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