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Tibetan officials urge people to learn more about Tibet's past


BEIJING, March 8, 2009 -- A senior Tibetan official on Sunday urged more people to learn about Tibet's past and the changes the region has gone through over the last five decades.

A boy watches a simulated scenario featuring serfs burning feudal documents produced in old Tibet after the Democratic Reform at an exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the Democratic Reform in Tibet Autonomous Region in Beijing, Feb. 25, 2009. (Xinhuanet Photo)
Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region government, made the remarks after visiting here an exhibition themed on Tibet's democratic reform.

"I wish young students and foreigners could learn more of Tibet's history and the great changes that have taken place in the region over the past 50 years.

"I wish they could understand Tibetan people's aspiration for prosperity and stability," he said.

Qiangba Puncog said China's central government has given much support for the development of Tibet.

"After 50 years of development, Tibet has managed to lay solid foundations in every aspect," he said.

Legqog, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Region People's Congress, also said the well-being of Tibetans have seen undeniable improvement over the past five decades.

Legqog said before the democratic reform in Tibet, only 2 percent of children of eligible ages could go to school, and 95 percent of the people were unable to read.

But according to a white paper on Tibet's democratic reform published earlier this year, the illiteracy rate in the region has dropped to 2.4 percent last year.

More than 98.5 percent of the Tibetan children had access to primary schools, 92.5 percent to junior high schools, and 51.2 percent to senior high schools.

"I was 15 in the 1959. But I could not go to school until after the democratic reform," he said.

"The Dalai Lama has tried to describe an old Tibet in which people enjoy better lives than now. But facts cannot be denied, and history cannot be fabricated," he said.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the region's Democratic Reform. In 1959, Tibetan serfs and slaves, who accounted for more than 90 percent of the region's population, were freed after the central government foiled an armed rebellion staged by the Dalai Lama and his supporters.

Tibet's democratic reform is an important chapter in the history of international human rights. It is no less significant than the abolishment of slavery in the United States and Europe, said the Tibetan official.


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