Full Text: Sixty Years Since Peaceful Liberation of Tibet

II. Sixty-years' Development since Peaceful Liberation

Peaceful liberation was an important turning point in the historical development of Tibet. Over the 60 years since then Tibet has gone through several phases of development, such as the Democratic Reform, establishment of the autonomous region, building of socialism, and reform and opening up, scoring spectacular achievements.

1. Implementing the 17-Article Agreement, maintaining national unity and ethnic solidarity, and launching Tibet's drive towards modernization

- Sending troops to Tibet and consolidating border defense. As stipulated in the 17-Article Agreement and its Appendix I, the PLA troops with the 18th army as the major force marched into Tibet from September 1951 to June 1952, and were stationed in strongholds such as Gyamda, Gyangtse, Shigatse, Lhuntse Dzong, Dromo, Zayul and Gerze, bringing to an end the history of Tibet's 4,000-km border being undefended.

- Handling Tibet's foreign-related affairs on a centralized basis. On September 6, 1952 the foreign affairs office of the central government representative stationed in Tibet was set up, responsible for all the foreign-related affairs of Tibet under the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Central People's Government. On April 29, 1954 the People's Republic of China and the Republic of India signed in Beijing the Agreement on Trade and Intercourse between the Tibet Region of China and India, abolishing the privileges India had inherited from the British invaders. In 1955 China established official diplomatic ties with Nepal, and signed the Agreement on Maintaining Friendly Relations between the People's Republic of China and the Kingdom of Nepal and on Trade and Intercourse between the Tibet Region of China and Nepalin 1956, which cancelled Nepal's privileges in Tibet, advancing and consolidating the Sino-Nepalese relationship to a new level. To this day, all the foreign-related affairs of Tibet are dealt with by the Central People's Government on a centralized basis.

- Attaining self-sufficiency and satisfying both military and civilian needs. The central government issued such instructions as "sending troops to Tibet but not depending on local people for grain supply" and "tightening the budget and attaining self-sufficiency," and put forward a series of financial policies such as "guaranteeing food supplies for the army and taking into consideration of civilian needs" and "unified procurement and economical practice." Soon after the PLA entered Tibet, it funded itself by selling local wool to the central government at prices higher than those of India. This move foiled the scheme of illegal hoarding and profiteering plotted by reactionaries of the Tibetan upper class with an aim to sow discord between Tibetans and Han people and greatly benefited many of the upper class, enabling them to acknowledge the central government's goal of safeguarding the interests of the Tibetan people. They thus gradually reduced their dependence on and connection with the imperialist forces and drew closer to the central government.

- Carrying out united front work, and promoting national unity and progress. Encouraged by the central government, the 10th Panchen Lama and his entourage returned to Lhasa from Qinghai Province to have a friendly meeting with the 14th Dalai Lama in April 1952. The CPC Working Committee of Tibet then made great efforts to help settle both the current practical problems and those left over from history between the Dalai and Panchen lamas, who in 1953 were elected as honorary presidents of the Buddhist Association of China, with Living Buddha Kundeling as vice president. In September 1956 the Tibetan branch of the Buddhist Association of China was set up. In September 1954 the 14th Dalai and 10th Panchen lamas went together to Beijing to attend the First Session of the First National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China, which demonstrated that the Tibetan people enjoyed equal rights with other ethnic groups in participating in the administration of China's state affairs. Concurrently, a total of 1,000 people in 13 groups were organized from 1952 to 1957 to visit the hinterland, including upper-class monks and lay officials to lamas and common people including women and youngsters, which strengthened connections between Tibet and the hinterland and promoted national unity.

- Actively undertaking the modernization program to promote Tibet's economic, social and cultural development. After the peaceful liberation, the PLA and people from other parts of China working in Tibet persisted in carrying out the 17-Article Agreement and the policies of the Central Authorities, built the Xikang-Tibet and Qinghai-Tibet highways, Damxung Airport, water conservancy projects, modern factories, banks, trading companies, post offices, farms and schools. They adopted a series of measures to help the farmers and herdsmen expand production, started social relief and disaster relief programs, and provided free medical service for the prevention and treatment of epidemic and other diseases. All this promoted the region's economic, social and cultural development, created a new social atmosphere of modern civilization and progress, produced a far-reaching influence among people of all walks of life in Tibet, ended the long-term isolation and stagnation of Tibetan society, paved the way for Tibet's march toward a modern society, opened up wide prospects for Tibet's further development and provided necessary conditions for the common progress of Tibet and the nation as a whole.

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