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Various Measures and Targeted Strategy-Enlightenment of Poverty-Alleviation in Tibet Autonomous Region
March 23,2021   By:en.humanrights.cn
March 23,2021 -- Before the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet Autonomous Region in the last century, the Tibetan society had been in the long-term isolation and had stagnated. Tibet Autonomous Region was peacefully liberated in 1951. Since then, the central government’s development policy for Tibet Autonomous Region has always followed the development concept of people first, developed Tibet’s social and economic undertakings in an all-round way, and carried out a lot of assistance to the poor.
I. Poverty Situation in Tibet Autonomous Region
Before the peaceful liberation, Tibet Autonomous Region was generally in extreme poverty. In 1951, the number of beggars in the capital city Lhasa accounted for one-tenth of the urban population. When Tibet Autonomous Region was liberated , the broad masses of the people have become the masters of the country, and the people's lives have greatly improved. Even the beggars on the streets of Lhasa have been well settled and allocated housing, and some have been given jobs after training. In addition to vigorously assisting special poor groups, Tibet Autonomous Region insists on adapting measures to local conditions, vigorously and comprehensively developing production, and its poverty situation has been improved overall.
Due to the weak foundation of Tibet's development, some factors that lead to poverty among the people in Tibet Autonomous Region still exist. In addition to its average altitude of more than 4,000 meters, remote location, severe natural conditions, etc., Tibet Autonomous Region has many leading causes for poverty, resulting in deep poverty in some areas. In 2012, there was the uneven distribution of water resources in a county in northern Tibet Autonomous Region that we were visiting. This made it difficult for the villagers to raise animals or engage in production, and so made it hard for the local people to escape poverty. Other factors that cause poverty have included disability and illness, lack of labor, natural disasters, lack of knowledge and skills, so on. Tibet Autonomous Region was stuck in poverty, and identified as the only province with a wide range of poverty-stricken areas in China in 2010. To this end, the State has promoted poverty reduction in Tibet Autonomous Region in terms of policies, systems, project arrangements and financial inputs to accommodate different stages of development. The size of Tibet’s the poor population has continued to decline, and the problem of overall poverty has been gradually solved. Poverty was concentrated in some resource-poor areas and among those who are the hardest to help out of poverty.
Although the poverty population in Tibet Autonomous Region decreased under the same standard in vertical comparison, the poverty rate in Tibet Autonomous Region was almost the highest in China at that time. By the end of 2015, all 74 counties and districts in Tibet Autonomous Region were poverty-stricken counties at the national level, with 590,000 registered poor population, and a poverty incidence rate of 25.32%. Faced with the important task of lifting all people out of poverty in 2020, Tibet Autonomous Region is under great pressure.
II. Poverty-alleviation policies and measures
Facing the complicated factors causing poverty and a clear timetable for reaching the target in Tibet Autonomous Region, a muti-dimensional and targeted strategy of poverty reduction has been implemented in Tibet Autonomous Region.
First, the central government has not only continued to invest a large amount of funds in Tibet Autonomous Region, but since 2012, it has given priority to the livelihoods of the people and the community at large. Tibet Autonomous Region is still the province with the highest central government transfer payment per capita in China.
Second, the positive role of aid in Tibet's poverty reduction is a manifestation of the superiority of the socialist system. By summing up and absorbing the experience of previous assistance work, the system of National Aid Program for Tibet was basically established in 1994. Since then, this system has been constantly adjusted and improved. In particular, during the poverty alleviation campaign in Tibet Autonomous Region, 80 percent of the funds provided by 18 provinces, cities and 17 large State-owned enterprises went to rural areas, giving full play to the institutional advantages of solidarity, mutual assistance and common development. In recent years, the support of talents and knowledge, such as organized medical and educational aid to Tibet Autonomous Region, has effectively alleviated the problem of the low level of human capital underlying the causes of poverty in Tibet Autonomous Region.
Third, Tibet Autonomous Region has formulated and implemented targeted measures, which include relocation, industrial development, ecological compensation, education and training, medical assistance, employment transfer, social assistance and so on.
Since 2016, Tibet Autonomous Region has invested a total of 39.89 billion yuan to implement nearly 3,000 industrial projects, driving 40% of the poor out of poverty and benefiting more than 840,000 people. Nearly 1,000 resettlement areas for relocation of poor families have been built in towns with good production and living conditions, and 266,000 people have been relocated. In order to improve the labor skills of the poor, 176,300 laborers from poor rural families have received training arranged by the government and enterprises in the past four years. 340,500 person-times were transferred from traditional agriculture and animal husbandry production to engage in other industries with higher benefits, when they obtained skills and the better market environment creates more job chances. The basic requirements and core criteria for poverty alleviation are assuring the rural poor population that they have enough to eat and to wear and guaranteeing them access to compulsory education, basic medical services, and safe housing by 2020. The social security system with ever-increasing standards has helped 110,000 poor people to achieve the poverty alleviation.
Here is an example of the relocation policy. The deep poverty areas in Tibet Autonomous Region are mainly located at extremely high altitudes and ecologically fragile areas. In August 2017, our research group conducted a survey in Shuanghu County at an altitude of 5,000 meters. We found that the knee joints of some local people became deformed and swollen due to the high altitude and cold temperatures, even a few sick people were unable to work. The government arranged the relocation of sick people and their family according to their wishes. In the winter of the same year our research group followed up by investigating a resettlement village in Dangxiong County, Lhasa, which is less than 4000 meters above sea level. The health of the herdsmen moved from Shuanghu County has improved significantly. It is easier for young people in the resettlement villages to find jobs, and the overall income level of people who have been relocated has improved. In the resettlement villages near towns relocated people also enjoy better public services such as education and health care.
III. Achievements and significance of Poverty alleviation in Tibet Autonomous Region
Even though China still faces uneven development among its provinces and cities, "no one will be left behind on the road out of poverty" is a promise the State has made to all its people. After 8 years of targeted poverty alleviation, Tibet Autonomous Region announced at the end of year 2019 that with all people registered as living in poverty.
In 74 counties had been lifted out of poverty. Therefore, absolute poverty has been eliminated in Tibet Autonomous Region. In 2019, the per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents in Tibet Autonomous Region increased by 12.8 percent over the same period the year before, higher than the 8.1 percent growth rate of Tibet's GDP. The basic working and living conditions in poor areas have been significantly improved. The economic vitality and capacity for self-development have been markedly enhanced. The equalization of public services in Tibet Autonomous Region has also obviously improved.
In order to further consolidate the results of poverty alleviation, all assistance policies will not only be implemented in 2020, but also maintained for four to five years. Establish an increasingly perfect anti-poverty mechanism, consolidate policy support for the poor, and stimulate the endogenous motivation of the poor, so that all people in Tibet Autonomous Region along with the people in the rest of the country will step into a xiaokang society, a moderately prosperous society in all respects, linking up with the country’s rural revitalization strategy to achieve the common prosperity of urban and rural society.
Tibet's experiences in poverty alleviation have also been recognized by the international community. As a frontier ethnic region, these experiences will give the enlightenment to some countries or regions in solving the problem of poverty in its ethnic areas.
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