Illustrated White Paper on Democratic Reform in Tibet-The theocratic feudal serfdom in Tibet

China Human Rights Net > News > Focus > Illustrated White Paper on Democratic Reform in Tibet > I. Old Tibet -- A Society of Feudal Serfdom under Theocracy

The theocratic feudal serfdom in Tibet

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Mar.3, 2009--One white paper, released by The Information Office of the State Council on March 2, characterizes the Dalai Lama and his political allies as representatives of theocratic feudal serfdom. Before 1959, the family of the 14th Dalai Lama possessed 27 manors,30 pastures and over 6,000 serfs, and annually squeezed about 33,000 ke (one ke equals 14 kilograms -- ed.) of qingke (highland barley), 2,500 ke of butter, two million liang (15 liang of silver equal one silver dollar of the time) of Tibetan silver, 300 head of cattle, and 175 rolls of pulu (woolen fabric made in Tibet) out of its serfs. In 1959, the Dalai Lama alone owned 160,000 liang of gold, 95 million liang of silver, over 20,000 pieces of jewelry and jadeware, and more than 10,000 pieces of silk and satin fabric and rare fur clothing, including over 100 robes inlaid with pearls and gems, each worth tens of thousands of yuan.

The paper points that one report kept in the Archives of the Tibet Autonomous Region showed that in 1953, when the 14th Dalai Lama found out that one of his servants was a blacksmith's descendent, he immediately expelled the servant, and announced that descendents of gold, silver and iron smiths, and butchers belonged to the lowest rank of the lower class, and were forbidden to serve in the government or marry people from other ranks or classes.

The white paper, entitiled Fifty Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet on March 2, describles that prior to 1959, the feudal serf owners, who, accounting for less than five percent of the total population of Tibet, possessed the overwhelming part of the means of production, and monopolized the material and cultural resources of Tibet. The serfs and slaves, making up over 95 percent of the total population, suffered destitution, cruel oppression and exploitation.

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