BEIJING, Oct. 22 -- The Chinese government on Tuesday issued a white paper on west China's Tibet Autonomous Region, detailing its comprehensive development and rapid progress in the past 60-odd years.
"The development and progress in modern Tibet results from the innate logic of its social and historical environment, and has its roots in China's progress in a larger context," says the white paper, released by the Information Office of the State Council under the title "Development and Progress of Tibet."
Describing the region prior to the 1950s "as dark and backward as medieval Europe," the white paper notes in the foreword that Tibet was a society of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule, a society characterized by a combination of political and religious powers.
According to the white paper, after a series of key historical stages including the peaceful liberation, democratic reform, the establishment of the autonomous region and the reform and opening-up drive, the Tibetan people have gained freedom, equality and dignity, and are fully enjoying the fruits of modern civilization.
With six chapters, the white paper elaborates Tibet's development over the past six decades in the fields of economy, people's livelihoods, political systems, cultural preservation, religious freedom and environmental protection, among others.
Figures from the white paper show that the per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen in Tibet had maintained double-digit growth for 10 consecutive years, reaching 5,719 yuan (944 U.S. dollars) in 2012. The per capita disposable income of urban dwellers in the region was 18,028 yuan.
Also, the gross regional product of the area rocketed from 129 million yuan in 1951 to 70.1 billion last year, marking an annual growth of 8.5 percent on average.
From 1952 to 2012, the central government appropriated 454.34 billion yuan to Tibet as financial subsidies, taking up 96 percent of the accumulated fiscal expenditures of the local government since it was founded.
Meanwhile, under a "pairing-up" support program launched by the central government in 1994, various provinces, municipalities, central government departments and major state-owned enterprises have provided personnel, materials, financial and technological support to Tibet.
In addition to economic progress, the central government pays great attention to protecting the Tibetan language and ensuring local religious activities.
By the end of 2012, there were 282,914 primary school pupils and 177,981 middle school students receiving bilingual education -- with Tibetan as the principal language -- accounting for 96.88 percent and 90.63 percent of the total respectively in Tibet, it says.
"Traditional religious activities such as scripture learning and debate, degree promotion, initiation into monkhood or nunhood, abhisheka (empowerment ceremony) and self-cultivation are held on a regular basis," it says.
So far, more than 40 incarnated living Buddhas have been confirmed through traditional religious rituals and historical conventions.
"However, a handful of people just turn a blind eye to the facts, and attack and deny Tibet's development path and modernization drive that people of all ethnic groups strive for," the white paper reads in the concluding remarks, noting the separatist activities of the 14th Dalai Lama and his clique in exile.
The white paper says that there are others who distort the past and present of Tibet due to their ideological bias or out of consideration for their self interests, and they created a "Shangri-La" myth, wishing to keep Tibet in a backward primitive state forever.
According to the white paper, Tibet's progress so far has proved that its local people and the people of the rest of the world have equal rights to enjoy the achievements of modern civilization, to improve the quality of life and to choose their own way of life.
"The profound and unprecedented changes in Tibet over the past 60 years have been consequently realized through the establishment and progress of the political, economic, social and cultural systems of the nation as a whole," the white paper says.
"At present, people of all ethnic groups in Tibet and in the rest of the country are making combined efforts in fighting for the great renewal of the Chinese nation... in the course of this, the Tibet Autonomous Region will have a better future," it added.
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