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11:21 Mar 05 2009

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Brazilian scholar: Tibet sees notable progress since democratic reform
11:19, March 05, 2009  

Tibet has achieved remarkable economic progress and undergone profound changes since 1959 when its democratic reform began, a Brazilian professor told Xinhua on Tuesday.

The democratic reform played a key role in abolishing feudal serfdom, said Argemiro Procopio, a professor of international relations at the University of Brasilia.

Farmer Gesang of the Tibetan ethnic group harvests wheat in Caigongtang Township of Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, Aug. 23, 2008. Tibet has seen its GDP soar from 174 million RMB yuan (25.44 million U.S. dollars) in 1959 to 39.591 billion yuan (5.79 billion dollars) in 2008, with an annual growth rate of 8.9 percent on the average, according to the white paper titled "Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet" released on March 2, 2009 by the Information Office of the State Council, or China's Cabinet. (Xinhua/Purbu Zhaxi)

In this regard, Procopio said he agreed with the conclusions drawn by a white paper titled "Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet," released Monday by the Chinese government.

Tibet has since been keeping pace with other regions in China in terms of social development and economic progress, the professor said.

Procopio, who has visited China several times, also is the author of the book "In the Eye of the Eagle," in which he analyzes how China's development has changed international relations.

"There has been an accelerated growth in the tourism and infrastructure sectors in Tibet, as evidenced by the construction of Lhasa airport and the Qinghai-Tibet Railway," he said.

Tibet has also gained headway in the sector of commerce, with increasing exports of products such as tea and apples, he said.

"The land reform in the 1950s emancipated the serfs by distributing land and yak herds to them, thus overthrowing the feudal system in Tibet," he said.

The economic progress in the 1980s and 1990s further improved the democratic system in the region, he said.

A farmer is happy with the good harvest of watermelon in Xigaze, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, June 15, 2007.(Xinhua/Chogo)

On the other hand, Tibet has managed to walk out of isolation thanks to infrastructure improvements. As a result, Tibet welcomed new migrants, had a new way of life and new means of communications.

"Changes are taking place in Tibet as religion is no longer all life of people. Secular life has been prevailing," he said.

"For example, if a Tibetan falls ill, he definitely will go to see a doctor now, rather than to ask help from a monk," Procopio said.

The Brazilian professor considers that the future development tendency of Tibet will be further integration, eradicating poverty and illiteracy through economic progress, especially the promotion of tourism, and building more infrastructure, including communication and commerce facilities.

Source: Xinhua

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