Facts, figures about Tibet's development

15:53, April 18, 2008

What are the changes that have taken place in the snow-covered plateau region of Tibet, since the autonomous region's peaceful liberation in 1951? Here are some key facts and figures about Tibet:

Fiscal income: The government of Tibet Autonomous Region broke the first zero record in fiscal income in 1988. It realized 2.3 billion yuan (328 million U.S. dollars) in fiscal income in 2007.

Health care: The averaged life expectancy of Tibetan people increased from 35.5 years before Tibet's democratic reform in 1959 to 67 years now. Death in childbirth figures fell from 5,000 in every 100,000 pregnant women before 1950s to 247.49 in every 100,000 pregnant women. Tibet now has 1,343 medical institutions employing 9,095 medical workers. Among them, 4,270 have licenses to practise medicine. The rate of hospital beds and medical staff per 1,000 people has reached 2.64 and 3.2, respectively. According to the regional health department, 100 percent of farmers and herders are covered by the medical care system.

Population and Welfare: The Tibetan population increased slowly before 1950s, when there was barely any welfare protection for ordinary Tibetans. The Tibetan population had stayed at around one million for nearly 200 years before 1950. A census by the regional government in 1953 showed the population at one million, an increase of 58,000 people in 200 years. The latest census showed that the total population in Tibet reached 2.8 million by the end of 2007, which was 31,500 people more than the previous year, and double that before 1950. So far, 330,000 township residents in Tibet have been covered by social insurance.

Education: There was no public education in old Tibet, when less than two percent of school-aged children had access to school education, and the illiteracy rate among work-aged people past 95 percent. At present, six-year compulsory education has been put into practice in all 73 counties in Tibet. Sixty-three counties have passed state appraisal in basically realizing nine-year compulsory education and basically eliminating illiteracy among work-aged people. The nine-year compulsory education has covered 90.2 percent of children in these counties, where the quality of compulsory education has been improving. So far, the enrollment rate in primary schools, junior high schools, senior high school, and higher-learning institutes have reached 98.2 percent, 90.7 percent, 42.96 percent and 17.4 percent, respectively. The illiteracy rate among work-aged people dropped to 4.76 percent.

Social life: Based on statistics from the old Tibet authority, some 90 percent of Tibetan people did not have their own housing property. Nowadays, nearly all Tibetans live in permanent houses, except for nomads in pasture areas. To further improve the living standard of Tibetans, a government-sponsored program has helped build new houses for 114,000 households or 570,000 farmers and herdsmen since 2006. The per-capita income of farmers and herdsmen amounted to 2,788 yuan (398 U.S. dollars) last year, and that of township residents rose to 11,131 yuan (1,590 U.S. dollars). The 2006 statistics showed that there were 143,900 units of private vehicles, up 35.2 percent over the previous year. Based on the population of 2.81 million in the corresponding period, one in every 20 Tibetans had an automobile.

Economy and social development: There was no industry in old Tibet, while agricultural development was also stagnant. By 2007, grain production areas in Tibet were added up to 171,770 hectares, which were 110 hectares more than that of 2006. The industrial added value in 2007 soared by 17.1 percent year-on-year to 2.57 billion yuan (367 million U.S. dollars). The region received 4.02 million visitors in 2007, up 60 percent over the year-ago period. Revenues from the tourism industry chalked up 4.8 billion yuan (686 million U.S. dollars), up 73.3 percent year-on-year. The tourist income accounted for 14.2 percent of the region's gross domestic product in 2007, 4.6 percentage points higher than that of 2006.

Transportation, post and telecommunications, communications: There was no road in old Tibet. Last year, there were 48,611 kilometers of roads open for traffic in the region, which were 3,798 kilometers longer than the record in 2006. There were modern communications available in old Tibet. However, by the end of last year, the number of subscribers for both fixed phones and mobile phones registered 1.44 million, 155,200 more than the year-ago figure. The telephone access rate post 52 in every 100 people.

Democratic rights: In 1961, a general election, the first of its kind in Tibetan history, was held all over Tibet. For the first time, the former serfs and slaves were able to enjoy democratic rights as their own masters. Since the founding of the regional government in 1965, Tibetans have exercised their rights bestowed by the Constitution and laws to elect and be elected. The organ of self-government of the Tibet Autonomous Region has been elected and led mainly by Tibetans and people of other ethnic groups. According to figures from the region’s personnel department, 69.36 percent of leaders in the regional government or 62,211 were Tibetans and people from other ethnic groups, while, Tibetans and other ethnic people constituted 74.39 percent of professionals in the region.

Culture: China has earmarked 700 million yuan (100 million U.S. dollars) from the state budget for preservation of cultural relics in Tibet. Over 4,000 religious spots have been preserved and open to public. The budget for the purpose this year was set at 570 million yuan (81 million U.S. dollars), which will be used for preservation work at 22 cultural sites. Among 4,000 cultural workers in art troupes and institutions, 90 percent are Tibetans, a large number of whom are young talents.

Source: Xinhua

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