Under the political system combining religion with politics and despotic rule by feudal estate-holders in old Tibet, the Dalai Lama was one of the leaders of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and also head of the Tibetan local government. He held both political and religious power. The official system of the former Tibetan local government was a dual one of monk and lay officials. In the administrative organs, there were both monk and lay officials, with the former higher than the latter in rank. But there were monk officials in some organizations. Monasteries enjoyed special jurisdiction in handling political affairs. Abbots of the three major monasteries (Gandan, Sera and Zhaibung) and the four large ones (Gundeling, Dangyailing, Cemoinling and Cejoiling) participated in all "enlarged meetings of officials" to discuss important events. Resolutions adopted at the meetings became effective only when they bore the stamps of the local government and the three major monasteries.
The Democratic Reform in 1959 put an end to the political system of combining religious with political rule and introduced the new political system of people's democracy. Under the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, the Tibetan people, like the people of various nationalities throughout the country, have become masters of the country and enjoy full political rights provided for by the law.
Citizens of the Tibet Autonomous Region who have reached the age of
18 have the right to vote and to stand for
The Tibetan Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference (CPPCC) was set up in Tibet in 1959 to ensure that people of all social strata
and of all walks of life can fully voice their opinions and play their roles in social and
political life. The CPPCC, an organization of the broadest patriotic united front under
the leadership of the Communist Party of China, is an important political organization
conducting political consultation, implementing mutual supervision and developing
socialist democracy. Its role has been brought
Tibet practices regional national autonomy in accordance with the
Constitution of the People's Republic of China. In March 1955, the central government
decided to set up the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region. In September
1965, the First Session of the First People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region was
held in Lhasa and the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region was officially
announced. Most deputies of the tibetan nationality to the congress were emancipated serfs
and slaves, as well as patriots from the upper strata and religious figures. At the
congress, Ngapoi Nagwang Jigme was elected chairman of the
The Law of the People's Republic of China Governing Regional National Autonomy stipulates, "People's congresses in the areas of national autonomy have the right to formulate regulations on the exercise of autonomy or specific regulations in accordance with the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the local nationalities." In accordance with the rights bestowed by the Law Governing Regional National Autonomy, the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region has since 1965 formulated more than 60 local rules and regulations, decrees, decisions and resolutions, involving political, economic, cultural and educational aspects, which conform to the reality of Tibet and maintain the interests of Tibetan people. They include the Rules of Procedures of the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Procedures on Formulating Local Laws and Regulations for the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Measures for the Management of Mining by Collective Mining Enterprises and Individuals in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Resolutions on Study, Use and Development of the Tibetan Language in the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region on the Protection and Management of Cultural Relics, and the Accommodation Rules for the Implementation of the Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China. The formulation and implementation of these local rules and regulations have furnished an important legal guarantee to the realization of democratic rights for the Tibetan people and to the development of local social, economic and cultural undertakings.
To enable the Tibetan people to better perform the right to manage
state and local affairs, the central government has attached great weight to the training
of cadres of Tibetan nationality. Currently, there are 37,000 cadres of Tibetan
nationality in the Tibet Autonomous Region. All the main
In judicial activities, in addition to enjoying equal legal rights with the people in other parts of the country, the Tibetan people have also been granted special rights stipulated in the Law of the People's Republic of China Governing Regional National Autonomy. The People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region stipulates, "People's courts and procuratorates at various levels must guarantee the right of Tibetan citizens to use their own national language to enter a lawsuit. In cases involving the Tibetans, Tibetan language should be used in doing procuratorial work and hearing cases, and legal documents should be written in the Tibetan language." At present, the main officials of the procuratorates and courts at all levels in Tibet are Tibetan citizens.