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, the per capita net income of Tibetan peasants and herdsmen kept increasing at an average rate of 10.1 percent per year since 1978, reaching 3,176 yuan in 2008.
The white paper reveals that before the democratic reform in 1959, Tibetan peasants and herdsmen had barely any means of production. Debt-ridden almost for the whole life, they hardly expected any net income. But since 1978, the per capita net income of Tibetan peasants and herdsmen kept increasing at an average rate of 10.1 percent per year, reaching 3,176 yuan in 2008. The annual growth rate in the 2003-2008 period was 13.1 percent. The per capita disposable income of urban dwellers in Tibet stood at 12,482 yuan in 2008, which was 21 times that of the 565 yuan in 1978.
The white paper also says that before the democratic reform, more than 90 percent of Tibet's residents had no private housing, the peasants and herdsmen had very poor living conditions, and the per-capita housing of urban dwellers was less than three sq m. At that time, Lhasa had a population of 20,000 only, and nearly 1,000 were poverty-stricken or beggar households huddling in tattered shelters on the outskirts. Today, with the construction of a new countryside and the comfortable housing project underway, 200,000 households, comprising nearly one million peasants and herdsmen, have moved into modern houses. By 2008, the per-capita housing area was 22.83sq m in rural areas and 33.00 sq m in urban areas.
Meanwhile, a social security system has been basically put in place to cover both cities and countryside in Tibet. In 2008, the allowances for each family of the infirm elderly without children, which is guaranteed food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses, was raised to 1,600 yuan. In 2006, Tibet led other farming and pastoral areas in China with a system of basic subsistence allowances which covered all peasants and herdsmen with an income below 800 yuan.
By People's Daily Online