Illustrated White Paper on Democratic Reform in Tibet-Immense social changes have taken place as the economy leaps forward with each passing day

China Human Rights Net > News > Focus > Illustrated White Paper on Democratic Reform in Tibet > III. Tremendous Historic Changes over the Past Half-century

Immense social changes have taken place as the economy leaps forward with each passing day


China's government Monday published a white paper on the situation in Tibet before and since1959 to mark the 50th anniversary of the region's Democratic Reform. The paper, released by the State Council Information Office, reviewed the profound changes that have taken place in the past 50 years. It also shed light on the laws governing the social development of Tibet, and attempts to rebut lies and rumors it alleges were spread by the 14th Dalai Lama and his hard-core supporters.



Proportion of financial aid to Tibet from the central budget from 1959 to 2009


Infrastructure Investment from the Central Budget



Guidelines on work in Tibet in the New Century



40 Special Preferential Policies

To boost local economic and social growth, the central government has adopted a series of preferential policies toward Tibet over the past half century, and given it strong support in terms of finance, materials and manpower.

From 1951 to 2008, state investment in infrastructure in Tibet exceeded 100 billion yuan. In the period from 1959 to 2008, a total of 201.9 billion yuan from the central budget went to Tibet, growing nearly 12 percent annually on average. Among the investment, 154.1 billion yuan was allocated in the 2001-2008 period. Since 1994, the central authorities has assigned more than 60 state departments, 18 provincial and municipal governments, and 17 state-owned enterprises to assist Tibet's economic development through projects. By the end of 2008, a total of 11.128 billion yuan of assistance funds had been put in place, with 6,056 assistance projects launched, and 3,747 cadres from across the country dispatched to work in Tibet.

Thanks to the care of the central authorities and the support of the whole nation, Tibet has witnessed remarkable progress in economic and social development. From 1959 to 2008, the local GDP soared from 174 million yuan to 39.591 billion yuan, a 65-fold increase or an average annual growth of 8.9 percent at comparable prices. Since 1994 the local GDP has grown at an annual rate of 12.8 percent on average, higher than the national average for the same period. Also, from 1959 to 2008 the per-capita GDP soared from 142 yuan to 13,861 yuan, an increase of 13,719 yuan.



Qinghai-Tibet Railway



The reconstructed Sichuan-Tibet Highway



The reconstructed Qinghai-Tibet Highway

In the old days, there was not a single highway in Tibet. Today, a convenient transportation network has taken shape, with highway transportation as the backbone and air, rail and pipeline transportation as supplement, stretching from Lhasa to all directions. In 2008, nearly all counties in Tibet became accessible by highways. The total length reached 51,300 km, 44,000km more than that in 1959. The volume of passenger transport in 2008 was almost 107 times that in 1959, with an 11-fold increase of cargo transport volume in the same period.

An extensive energy system has been formed, with hydropower as the mainstay, backed up by geothermal, wind and solar energy sources. From 1959 to 2008, electricity production in Tibet increased by 16.8 percent annually on average. Nearly 2.1 million residents, or 73 percent of Tibet's population, now have access to electrical power. Because of the promotion of clean energy in rural areas, methane has been adopted at 43,000 households. Thanks to the rapid expansion of telecommunications, optical cables have reached all counties, with telephone cables to all townships. The number of subscribers to fixed-line telephones and cell phones reached 1.562 million, which means 55 phones are available for every 100 people.



More aid was diverted to rural and herding areas as well as grass-root stratum.

In the old days, Tibet's agriculture and animal husbandry were completely at the mercy of the weather or elements. Nowadays, modern facilities have been widely introduced, and the capacity to prevent and alleviate damage from natural disasters has been notably improved, with 36 percent of the contribution coming from science and technology. Grain output rose from 182,900 tonnes in 1959 to 950,000 tonnes in 2008. Meanwhile the grain output per mu rose from 91 kg to nearly 370 kg, with the amount of livestock rising from 9.56 million at the end of 1958 to 24 million at the end of 2008.

There was no modern industry in old Tibet. Now, a modern industrial system with Tibetan characteristics has formed, with mining, building materials, folk handicrafts and Tibetan medicine as pillar industries, and power, farming and animal product processing and foodstuffs as supplement. The industrial added value skyrocketed from 15 million yuan in 1959 to 2.968 billion yuan in 2008. Modern commerce, tourism, catering, entertainment and other industries that had never been heard of in old Tibet are now booming as primary industries in the region.


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