Tibetans have enjoyed great benefit from the rapid economic development and sound infrastructure since China started democratic reform in Tibet in 1959. Tibetans now live a free, prosperous and civilized life, and with the loving care and efforts of the Central Government, millions of emancipated serfs participated in national and local administration as masters of the country and their own destiny. The Serfs' Emancipation Day was established in 2009, and with its first anniversary approaching, we fully realize that Tibet entered a new era on March 28, 1959.
Before 1959, most Tibetans suffered immensely from the centuries-old feudal serfdom system, which had several typical characteristics. First, the socio-economic structure was severely deformed. Tibetan officials, lords, and upper-class monks, who made up only 5 percent of the population, occupied all the land, pastures and owned most of the livestock in Tibet. Around 95 percent of the population was composed of serfs and slaves who owned no land.
Second, Tibet used to be theocratic and temples occupied 36.8 percent of Tibetan land. The upper-class monks, as principal political rulers, owned the most serfs in Tibet, and also controlled the Tibetan people tightly in the fields of culture and religion.
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