Legal Materials on Tibet
United Nations

Secretary-General's Report: Situation in Tibet, E/CN.4/1992/37 [p.13]

Annex I


Attachment No.1

Press release dated 24 August 1991

Remarks by the Spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry

1. On 23 August 1991, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities under the United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution entitled "Situation in Tibet" at the instigation of some of its members. The spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry is hereby authorized to make the following remarks.

2. Since the thirteenth century, Tibet has been an inalienable part of China's territory. This is a fact recognized by all countries in the world. The Chinese Government has always attached importance to and protected the legitimate rights and interests of all its nationalities, including those of the Tibetan people. Over the 40 years since the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the Tibetan people have enjoyed the civil rights and the right to self-government by national minorities provided for in the Constitution.

3. For a long time, certain international forces have supported and connived with a small number of Tibetan separatists in their activities aimed at separating Tibet from China. They cook up rumours, invent stories and wantonly attack and vilify the Chinese Government. The resolution on so-called "Situation in Tibet" is part of their long planned conspiracy aimed at splitting China and constitutes an interference in China's internal affairs by using the human rights issue. The resolution goes against the principles of respecting State sovereignty and non-interference in the Charter of the United Nations and international law. Therefore it is entirely illegal and null and void, and absolutely unacceptable to the Chinese Government.

Attachment No. 2

The social structure and social formation in Tibet before 1959

1. Before 1959 Tibet was a feudal serf society, bearing the characteristics of both the feudal serf system and a slave society, since Tibet was then in the early stages of a feudal society, with rent in the form of service occupying and dominant position and serf owners taking slaves as their property and raising family bond servants. This system was more cruel than the serf system prevailing in Europe in the Middle Ages.

I. Characteristics of the socioeconomic structure

2. The socioeconomic structure of feudal serfdom in Tibet was seriously lopsided. Serf owners, who made up only 5 per cent of the population, were in ownership, command and ruling positions, while serfs and slaves were cruelly oppressed, exploited and enslaved. Economically, usury, exorbitant taxes and levies, and corvee labour were like three knives inserted into the slaves and serfs, who made up 95 per cent of the population.

Three feudal lords

3. The serf owners in Tibet consisted of three feudal lords: government officials, aristocrats and upper-class lamas. Combined, they made up only 5 per cent of the total population of Tibet, but possessed all the land, grassland and most animals, Government officials, or the local government of Tibet, directly owned and managed part of the land; aristocrats had hereditary land, and monasteries owned fief and gift land. According to statistics taken in June 1959, Tibet had 3.3 million ke (15 ke equals one hectare) of cultivated land before the Democratic Reform. The local government had 1.2837 million ke, accounting for 38.9 per cent; aristocrats, 790,000 ke, making up 24 per cent; monasteries and upper-class lamas, 1.2144 million ke, or 36.8 per cent; and owner peasants only 9,900 ke or 0.3 per cent.

Serfs and slaves

4. Serfs and slaves, constituting 95 per cent of the population in Tibet, had neither land nor personal freedom. They were owned by the three feudal lords generation after generation and attached to the land belonging to feudal lords. Serfs and slaves fell into three strata--chapa, tuichiung and langsheng, the first two being serfs and the last, slaves.

5. Chapa serfs were given a piece of land to till by the feudal lords, but performed compulsory labour for the landowner. Attached to the granted land, they were the property of the serf owners. The difference between serfs and peasants was: serfs did not have personal freedom and were not allowed to leave their lords at will; serfs were at their owner's disposal, i.e. to do compensation, and to pay various rents and taxes (in kind or currency); and serfs had only the right to use the land given to them; they did not own it. Thus they could not sell the land. Chapa made up 60 to 70 per cent of all serfs.

6. Tuichiung, meaning "low-caste serfs", were poorer than the chapa and their social position was much lower too. Some Tuichiung rented a small amount of land from the feudal lords under condition that they provide free labour to till the lords' land. Crops gathered from the rented land could maintain only the barest life. Some tuichiung were handicraftsmen; others lived by selling their labour. Every year they paid corvee tax to their lords. Tuichiung generally accounted for 30 to 40 per cent of all serfs.

7. Langsheng, referring to serfs raised at home, were actually slaves. Without any means of livelihood, they did not enjoy any personal rights either. They worked for the serf owners all their life for nothing, with only enough remuneration to support themselves. They were under the strict control of the serf owners, who had the right to give them away as gifts and to transfer, mortgage or sell them. Most langsheng did odd jobs or other assigned work in the homes of the feudal lords. Their children did not belong to them; when they grew up, they became langsheng, slaves forever. An investigation during the Democratic Reform showed that langsheng were handed down from generation to generation. It is believed that langsheng were survivors of the slave system in Tibetan history.

Manors and tribes

8. Feudal manors that owned and managed the land were a basic characteristic of the feudal serfdom of Tibet. The manors generally fell into three categories: government manors, (called xungxi in the Tibetan language), directly owned by the local government, manors belonging to aristocrats (gexi in Tibetan), and monastery-owned manors (called quxi).

9. The feudal lords usually divided their land into land managed directly by themselves and cha land, allotted to chapa. All work on land managed by the feudal lords was undertaken by serfs without compensation and all crops harvested belonged to the landowners. Thus the more land managed directly by the landowners, the more exploitation of the serfs. Since chapa tilled land was allotted to them by the feudal lord, they did compulsory labour for the landowners and also for the local government.

10. The feudal lords had jurisdiction over grazing areas, where the tribe was the grassroots unit. Totally different from tribes of primitive society, the Tibetan tribes were the administrative regions divided among the three types of feudal lords as well as the administrative institutions that exploited the serfs attached to the grazing areas.

11. Each lord had his own grasslands and owned the tribal serfs attached to the grazing areas. The difference between pastoral and farming areas was that, thanks to the specialty of animal husbandry, grassland serfs living on the land owned by one specific lord could also tend animals on grasslands owned by other lords. Therefore pastoral serfs had both direct and indirect lords. As the property of their direct lords, they had to do various types of unpaid work for them, and though they were not owned by their indirect lords, they had to pay grass rent to them.

"Cha paid by walking" and "Cha paid with hands"

12. Cha in Tibet was a general term with extensive meanings, including corvee, taxes and land rent. Cha could be divided into major parts: cha paid by walking (gangzu in Tibetan), or labour services offered by serfs, yak, horses or donkeys, and cha paid with hands (natoin in Tibetan), including cha in kind and currency. According to the survey made during the Democratic Reform of Tibet, cha paid through corvee labour made up about 60 per cent and 65 per cent of the serfs' total labour time and more tahn 65 per cent of cha in kind was exploitative. In addition, the serfs had to pay various exorbitant taxes and levies, ranging from several dozen to a hundred.

Inside cha, outside cha and corvee labour

13. Inside cha included payment in kind and corvee labour undertaken by serfs for the monasteries and aristocrats manors. Various kinds of labour services assigned by the central and local governments were considered outside cha, known as wula, or corvee labour. Wula was originally Tujue language, referring to corvee labourers who provided horses, delivered letters and documents and undertook transportation for officials of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), who traveled between Tibet and Xining. The Ming (1368-1644) and Quing (1644-1911) dynasties also had corvee labourers, providing compulsory labour services for the central officials on business trips within Tibet and transported various materials for the Tibetan Government. These were compulsory labour services assigned by the local government to the serfs. All such corvee labour services belonged to outside cha.

Livestock rent, fixed and flexible

14. Two kinds of livestock rent were practiced in Tibetan grazing areas: fixed and flexible. The former meant that the herders were forced to tend a certain number of livestock for the livestock owners and had to pay a fixed rent to them every year, no matter how may animals were born or died. The feudal lords made the herders graze animals for them and the herders could neither disobey their orders nor cancel the rent. Even if all the animals a herder tended died, his children and grandchildren must pay the originally-fixed amount of rent, and if a herder's family members all died, his relatives or neighbours had to pay the livestock rent for him.

15. Flexible rent occurred when a herder took care of a number of livestock for an owner, then reported to the owner how many animals had been born and how many died during the year. The number of dead livestock had to be proven by their skins. When a herder handed in the skin of a dead animal, he would be exempt from paying the rent on the animal. The income from flexible livestock rent accounted for 50 to 60 per cent of the annual output of animal products, sometimes even reaching 70 per cent.


16. Usury was an important means adopted by the feudal lords in Tibet to exploit the serfs. All the lord were usurers. Dalai Lama of all periods set up institutions in charge of lending money to people. According to unofficial figures recorded in a 1950 account book, 3,038,581 taels of Tibetan silver were lent at usurious rates of interest and 303,855 taels of Tibetan silver were collected from interest.

17. All departments at all levels of the local government and officials practiced usury, as the Government regarded the practice of lending money and collecting interest as its administrative duty. The interest charged by the Government was 10 per cent.

18. Without exception, all monasteries in Tibet practised usury. According to an investigation during the Democratic Reform, grain loans by the three major monasteries in Lhasa totaled 1,623, 273 ke (one ke equals 14 kilograms), with the annual income from the interest reaching 285,692 ke. The interest on usurious loans accounted for 25 to 30 per cent of the total income of the three major monasteries. Usually, the interest charged by the monasteries on currency loans was 30 per cent; as for grain loans, if one borrowed four ke of grain, one should return five ke.

19. Investigations made in Denggen, Gyanze and Bainang counties revealed that the monasteries accounted for the greatest amount of usury, 40 to 50 per cent; the Government, 20 to 25 per cent; the aristocrats, 15 to 20 per cent, and other people, 5 to 10 per cent.

Children and grandchildren debt

21. The serfs could incur two kinds of debts: children and grandchildren debt and jointly guaranteed debt. Children and grandchildren debt is also known as hereditary debt. Some debts remained unpaid for generations. The serfs themselves did not always know which generation had incurred the debt, how much had been borrowed at the beginning, and how much of the debt had been repaid. The creditor would only flaunt the loan receipt and ask the indebted serf to pay. Some debts remained unsettled for generations, if the serfs were not able to pay their debts, the lord recovered the cha land (the land given by the lords to the serfs for them to till, for which the serfs must provide corvee labour) to raise a mortgage on the land. In order to continue to live on the land, the serfs would have to re-rent the land taken away as the payment of debt by the lord. Thus, the serfs who tilled cha land had to labour for the lords and pay land rent in kind for the interest on debts. According to surveys, 80 to 90 per cent of the serfs in Tibet were in debt, 30 to 40 per cent involved with hereditary debt. Interest on hereditary debt was even higher. When a serf broke up his family and the family members lived apart, they divided their debts. Each part would sign a contract with the creditor and pay debts according to the contract.

Jointly guaranteed debt

22. When a household took out a loan, one or more households would be its guarantors; when a few households in a village guaranteed each other; if all the households in a village took out loans, the households all guaranteed each other. If one household dodged its debt, its guarantors would pay; if one household could not pay its debt, its guarantors would clear it; if a serf died childless, many other households would pay his debt. In addition, if all the members of an indebted chapa family died or ran away, the chapa serf who came to till the land left by the former chapa was responsible for paying the former's debt.

II. Characteristics of the sociopolitical system

23. The economic interests of the serf owners were protected and maintained by the sociopolitical system, with its merging of religious and secular rule, rigid hierarchy and severe criminal laws. The serfs and slaves, exploited economically, had neither personal freedom nor democratic rights. These were enveloped in the sacred colours of religious privileges. The serfs and slaves endured suffering in this life in the hope of a better afterlife.

Local political power through merging religious and secular rule

24. The nature of the politico-religious system was a combination of religious and political power. The local government of Tibet was called Kashag by the Tibetan people, meaning the "institution that issues orders". The local government consisted of celebrated lamas and aristocrats, who represented the interests of the serf owners. The status of religious officials was higher than that of conventional officials. In accordance with the system of the Qing Government, the Kashag, which was under the direct leadership of the Dalai Lama and the Qing official stationed in Tibet, consisted of four Kablons. The thirteenth Dalai Lama stipulated that the Chief Kablon must be a religious official . Under the Kashag, the supreme administrative organ, was a secretariat with four religious officials and review department with four conventional officials. Though the secretariat was attached to the Kashag, it was actually under the direct command of the Dalai Lama. If the Kashag needed to report some important events to the Dalai Lama, it had to go through the secretariat. In general, lower-level administration (equivalent to a prefecture or county) under the local government of Tibet was the responsibility of a lama and a conventional official, with the former superior. Some large monasteries enjoyed special political privileges. They had the right to appoint officials and set up courts and prisons and exercised judicial authority.

Serfs, the property of the serf owners

25. As the feudal lords owned the land and other means of production, they could deprive the serfs of basic materials to live on, exploit them and consider them property. The land was like a chain binding the serfs. Like other means of production the serfs were owned by the lords. The more serfs a lord had, the wealthier he was. The serfs owners could rent and transfer serfs, gamble on and mortgage them, give them as gifts or sell them. Some serfs had been transferred or sold time and time again. As soon as a child was born to a serf, he or she became the property of the serf's owner. When a serf died, his or her owner simply crossed out his or her name. If serfs wanted to marry, they had first to present gifts to the lord. If the serfs belonged to different lords, their marriage, had to be approved by both lords. Sometimes a serf had to buy his or her freedom back before he or she could be transferred to the spouse's lord. Sometimes a third serf would have to take one of the serfs' place before the marriage. Even after the two serfs got married, they might still belong to their own lords, and male offspring would belong to the father's lord and the female offspring to the mother's.

Corvee tax

26. Serfs who did not directly do unpaid labour for their lords and those who made a living away from home had to pay a corvee tax to their lords longed {sic} to their lords. No matter how far away they were from home, they were tied by their "shackles" and could not be free men.

"Three Grades and Nine Classes"

27. According to the code of the Tibetan local government, the people in Tibet were divided into three grades and nine classes: upper, middle and lower grades, with each grade having upper, middle and lower classes. All living Buddhas and aristocrats were upper-grade people; merchants, functionaries and herd owners and greater chapa in the rural areas were middle-grade people; lower-level labouring people and serfs and slaves were lower-grade people. Blacksmiths, butchers and corpse carriers were the lowest of the lower grade, their status lower than that of ordinary citizens. They could not sit as equals at the same table with common folks and could not drink tea or wine from the same bowl with them either. If a lower-grade person offended an upper-grade one, he would be subject to various punishments. The code also stipulated: "As the people are divided into different grades and classes, the price of their life is different too." The corpse of a high-grade person was worth its weight in gold, whereas that of a lower-class member of the lower grade was equal to a straw rope.

Judicature and Penalty

28. Relying on the violence of the feudal serf system, the serf owners exploited and oppressed the serfs and took them as their own property. To reinforce the politico-religious system a series of laws regarding the merging of religious and secular rule were formulated. According to the code, the rule of the three types of lords over the serfs was the will of God; the serfs were destined to suffer and should not fight fate. The local government, the organs equivalent to prefectures or counties, lords and serf owners could handle law suits. Each large monastery had judges to try cases. If a monk committed a legal offence he should first be judged by the monastery and no government at any level was allowed to interfere. A judgment by a monastery had the same legality as one by the government. Governments at all levels took the basements of houses as prisons, lords could set up prisons inside their manors and large monasteries had places for locking up serfs. In Lhasa some criminals, handcuffed and shackled, begged for food on the streets; some were sent to remote areas to be life serfs. If anyone violated the code, courts and prisons in Tibet would punish him in dozens of cruel ways, such as gouging out his eyes, cutting off his nose and ears, chopping off his hands, severing his feet, forcing him to wear a stone bat or stand in a stone cage or locking him up in a dungeon. In such a society, there was no democracy, freedom or human rights to speak of.

III. Social Stagnation and Decline

29. Under the long rule of feudal serfdom Tibetan society had been reduced to a state of stagnation and decline, severely impeding social progress and the development of productivity. Social contradictions were becoming sharper day by day.

Economic Decline

30. With simple means of production, some Tibetan people, lacking iron tools, had to use wooden ploughs and hoes, and some still depended on slash-and-burn cultivation. As a result productivity in Tibet was very low and the grain output stagnated for one or two hundred years; sometimes it even decreased. Under primitive grazing methods grassland and livestock deteriorated and livestock diseases and pests were rampant; the survival rate of livestock was quite low. In addition, methods to process livestock products were primitive.

Cultural Stagnation

31. As a result of the merging of religious and secular rule, religion became the dominant social ideology. In order to sanctify their feudal privileges the feudal lords enslaved the people spiritually using religion as a way to get people to endure, make concessions and submit to oppression. Any new ideology, culture, science or technology that ran against the will of the ruling class was regarded as heterodoxy. Thus, the people were imprisoned ideologically and the popularization of education and the development of science and culture were impeded. Ninety per cent of the nationality that had created such a splendid ancient culture were illiterate.

The Poverty of the People

32. The serfs and slaves were forced to do heavy work of the serf owners, undertake severe corvee labour, and pay various rents and taxes suffering from excessive compulsory economic exploitation. They struggled for existence on the edge of poverty, hunger and death. Before the Democratic Reform, of the total population of 37,000 in Lhasa, 4,000 to 5,000 were beggars and of the population of less than 10,000 in Xigaze, 2,000 to 3,000 lived by begging. Plagues were rampant in Tibet and nothing was done to control them. The average life-span was about 35.5 years and the population in Tibet reduced from several million to less than a million. The serfs and slaves resisted the exploitation and oppression by working slowly, refusing to pay taxes and corvee, running away or rising in revolt.

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Attachment No. 3

(see para. 4 of the note)

Human Rights Protection in Tibet

1. What is the human rights situation really like in Tibet? This document is going to supply some basic facts and we hope that they will help people attain a comprehensive understanding of the situation of human rights protection in Tibet.

A. Regional National Autonomy

2. China is a united multinational country. Tibet is one of the autonomous regions in China. Regional national autonomy is a policy adopted in areas where minority people live in compact communities. It allows people there to practice regional national autonomy, set up organs of self-government and exercise autonomous rights. Regional national autonomy shows the spirit of the State to fully respect and guarantee the rights of the minority nationalities to manage their own local affairs. It also reflects the principle of national equality, unity and common prosperity.

3. Point 3 in the Agreement of the Central People's Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet concluded on 23 May 1951 stipulated that "In accordance with the policy towards nationalities laid down in the Common Programme of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference," the Tibetan people have the right to exercise national regional autonomy under the unified leadership of the Central People's Government.

4. In April 1956, upon the approval of the State Council, the Preparation Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region was established with the Dalai Lama as the Chairman and Bainqen Erdini as the first Vice-Chairman.

5. In March 1959, the reactionary clique of the upper Tibetan strata launched an armed rebellion aimed at separating Tibet from China and the Dalai Lama went abroad in exile. Consequently, the State Council issued an order of 28 March 1959 to dismantle the local Tibetan government and empower the Preparatory Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region to exercise the functions as the local Tibetan government. At the same time, Bainqen Erdini was appointed Acting Chairman.

6. In September 1965, the Tibet Autonomous Region was established. The Tibet Autonomous Region enjoys various autonomous rights involving politics, economy, culture and all other aspects of social development. These rights include the following main contents:

(a) The right entrusted by the State to formulate local regulations. The autonomous region has issued 60 separate regulations, local provisions, legal instruments and decisions concerning political structure, social and economic development, judicature, natural resources, environmental protections, etc.

(b) The right to enforce State laws and policies, and formulate and implement special policies and measures in accordance with the actual situation in the locality. The major special policies in Tibet are as follows: The policy of "land being used by households of independent management" is introduced to the agricultural areas and is pledged to "remain unchanged for a long time to come." For pastoral areas the policy of "livestock being tended by households independently for private use" is carried out and equally "will remain unchanged for a long time to come." No agricultural and animal husbandry tax is to be levied, and all purchases by the State are to be canceled over a certain period of time. Farmers and herdsmen can freely sell their products. In the field of industry and commerce, national arts and crafts are supported and collective and private industries and trades are encouraged. With regard to education, boarding schools for children of farmers and herdsmen are free in terms of tuition fee, food and accommodation.

(c) The right to ensure the Tibetan people to freely use and develop their own spoken and written languages. In 1987, the people's congress of the autonomous region adopted several provisions concerning the study, usage and development of Tibetan language, and set the principle of using both Tibetan and Chinese languages with Tibetan as the main language. A working committee on Tibetan language was also established. In October 1988 the detailed rules on implementing these provisions were issued by the autonomous region's government.

(d) Major responsible posts at all levels of region's governmental and judicial departments are held by Tibetans. At present there are more than 37,000 Tibetan cadres in Tibet, taking up 66.6 per cent of the total number of cadres in the region. At the levels of autonomous region and of county, the percentage of Tibetan cadres is 72 per cent and 61.2 per cent respectively. Most posts at different levels of people's congresses, governments, courts and procurator's officers are also held by Tibetans.

(e) The right to manage and independently arrange local economic projects.

(f) The right to independently administer local education, culture, public health and develop local culture.

(g) The right to independently protect, exploit and use local natural resources according to the law.

(h) The autonomous right to carry out foreign economic relations and trade. Tibet has cooperated with a number of foreign countries and experts from international agencies in feasibility studies on how to exploit and use geothermal and hydraulic resources on Tibetan plateau and process livestock products. It has also accepted assistance from the United Nations World Food Programme for the exploitation of Lhasa River. At the same time, Zhangmu Port bordering Nepal has been opened to develop border trade. In order to promote Tibet's foreign economic relations and trade, the central government has adopted special policies, stipulating that the import and export tax for commodities in the Tibetan region is lower than the national tax rate and that all the foreign income is to be kept by Tibet.

B. Citizens Political Rights

7. The detailed implementing rules for the election of deputies at various levels of people's congresses of the Tibet Autonomous Region stipulate that all the citizens of China at and above the age of 18 and living in the autonomous region, in spite of nationality, race, sex, profession, family background, religious belief, educational level, amount of property and length of inhabitancy, are entitled to the right to elect and be elected; and that the right to elect and be elected are retained for the citizens of the autonomous region who are staying abroad, and they can participate in the election held at their birthplace or places they stayed before they left China.

8. At present, deputies of the people's congresses below the regional level are elected directly by electorate, and deputies who attend the session of the National People's Congress and at the city and regional level are elected by deputies from a lower level of people's congress. There are 445 deputies to the present people's congress of the region, including representatives of farmers, herdsmen, workers, intellectuals, patriotic personnel, religious leaders and compatriots coming home from abroad.

9. It has become a regular practice to conduct political consultations and cooperation among various national and religious representatives. Today, more than 1,700 national and religious representatives hold posts at different levels of people's congresses, governments and political consultative conferences to perform their duty of democratic supervision.

10. The Tibetan citizens, like citizens of other nationalities, enjoy wide-ranging political rights embodied in the Constitution. In addition to the above right to elect and be elected, they also enjoy freedoms of expression, publication, assembly, association, demonstration and parade. Many associations, institutes, research groups and funds are independently carrying out activities according to the Constitution and the law.

11. In addition to managing their own local affairs, the Tibetan people also participate in the handling of State affairs. Vice Chairman Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme of the National People's Congress and Vice Chairman Pagbalha Geled Namgyai of the Political Consultative Conference are both Tibetans, and dozens of Tibetans are elected to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and National Political Consultative Conference. Many Tibetan cadres are holding important posts above the director level in the party and State organizations.

12. Under the feudal system of serfdom in Tibet, some had no right to attend any social and political activities. The local creed in Tibet used to have very explicit provisions, stipulating that slaves and women were not allowed to participate in the military and political activities. After the peaceful liberation of Tibet and especially since the democratic reform, the status of Tibetan women with untold sufferings had witnessed fundamental changes. A large number of Tibetan women have started to work in various governmental departments, and many even hold important posts. According to the statistics, at the country level, 10.2 per cent leading posts are held by women. Economically, women in Tibet enjoy the right to same work, same pay. In the total number of employment, more than 30 per cent are women. A large number of Tibetan women have also become experts in science, technology, and other professions, and 17 per cent of the professionals with senior titles are women.

C. Economic Construction and People's Livelihood

1.Agriculture and Animal Husbandry

13. In the early years after Tibet's peaceful liberation, according to the statistics in 1952, the total output value of agriculture and livestock breeding was only 183 million yuan, grain production 155 million kg, rapeseed production 1.8 million kg and the livestock 9.74 million. In 1990, the total output value of Tibet's agriculture and livestock breeding came to 789 million yuan, its grain production reached 555 million kg, rapeseed production 15 million kg and the amount of livestock 22.8 million, more than 3.31 times, 2.57 time, 7.3 times and 1.34 times, respectively. In 1990, Tibet's livestock provided a total of 93 million kg of meat, it turned out 178 million kg of milk, 8.5 million kg of wool and 496,000 kg of goat hair.


14. The old Tibet had no modern industry to speak of. Over the past forty years, it has established 263 industrial enterprises with 26,000 workers (60 per cent are Tibetans) in more than 10 trades specializing in power generating, mining, wool textile, leather tanning, building materials, chemicals, paper making, printing and food processing. During the Seventh Five-Year Plan period (1986-1990), added fixed assets came to 1.9 billion yuan. In 1956, the industrial output value was only 1.7 million yuan, and in 1990, it reached 235 million yuan, an increase of more than 130 times. In 1990, cement production was 130,000 ton, log 200,000 cubic metre, carpet 25,000 square metre, chromium production 87,000 ton and 3,000 vehicles were overhauled.


15. The old Tibet only had one small hydroelectric station with a generating capacity of 125 kw. Today, Tibet has established 433 hydroelectric stations with a total generating capacity of 150,000 kw and an annual 300 million kwh of electricity. Today, 80 per cent of the counties have their own hydroelectric stations, and 32 of the townships are supplied with electricity. Geothermal, solar and wind energies are utilized more and more widely. Yangbajing Power Station in Tibet is the largest geothermal station in China with a generating capacity of 25,000 kw, Yamzhong Yumco Power Station with a capacity of 60,000 kw is now under construction.

4. Transportation

16. In the past, there was not a single good highway in Tibet and transportation was extremely inconvenient within Tibet and beyond. At the end of the 1940s, a foreigner sent a car to the 14th Dalai Lama, but since there was no road, the car had to be disassembled and carried to Lhasa by men and animals. Over the past forty years, the State has invested more than 3 billion yuan to develop Tibet's communication and transportation facilities. In 1954, the famous Sichuan-Tibet and Qinghai-Tibet highways were completed. There are now highways totalling 21,834 km in length and more than 720 bridges, forming a network of 15 trunk lines, and 315 branch lines radiating from the city of Lhasa. Except for the county of Motuo, highways now reach every county and 77 per cent of the townships in the region. There are more than 20,000 vehicles in the region and most of them are private ones purchased by farmers and herdsmen. An oil pipeline, 1,080 km long, was laid between Golmud and Lhasa in the mid-1970s. Since 1956, air services have been gradually opened between Lhasa and Lanzhou, Xian, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Golmud and Kathmandu, capital of Nepal.

5. Postage and Telecommunication

17. In the past, letters were sent by couriers on horseback, According to the statistics in Tibet, by 1990, 120 post offices were built, and the one-way post lines were as long as 71,401 km, and 56,725 km in the rural areas. Post service is available in all counties and towns. Seven satellite ground stations were established in Lhasa, Xigaze, Qamdo, Nagchu, Nhari, Shannan and Nyingchi. Lhasa long-distance automatic telephone system is open and has become part of the international/national long-distance automatic telephone network. Telephones in Lhasa have increased from 460 in 1959 to 22,030 now. In Lhasa and many other prefectures, telegram service in Tibetan language is available, and a network of telegram is expanding.

6. National Handicraft Industry

18. Tibet's time-honoured national handicraft industry boasts unique craftsmanship. Before liberation, however, it was extremely backward, and chiefly for the benefit of aristocrats and monasteries. Craftsmen and artisans were at the bottom rung of the social ladder, seriously handicapping the development of the industry. Over the past 40 years, with the assistance of the Government, Tibet's national handicraft industry has been rapidly restored and developed. Today, Tibet has 120 national handicraft enterprises, producing more than 1,600 kinds of products. Some of its products with distinctive local flavours have entered the international market. In 1989, the total output value of Tibet's national handicraft industry came to 41.07 million yuan.

19. At the same time, there are now 6.999 rural enterprises and projects engaged in diversified production (including 319 run by townships, 110 by villages, 480 by groups of households and 6,090 by individuals), bringing in a total income of 320 million yuan in 1990.

7.Commerce, Foreign Trade and Tourism

20. In the past, Tibet remained closed or semi-closed to the outside world for a long time. In 1990, 946 State commercial establishments, more than 880 collective supply and marketing cooperatives and 40,000 private commercial households were established. In 1990, the region's total volume of retail sales amounted to 1.5 billion yuan and the volume of import and export reached 245 million yuan.

21. From 1980 to 1990, with the help of the central government and other provinces and municipalities, Tibet established a group of modern hotels and restaurants and improved its tourist facilities, received 108,000 tourists and earned 225 million yuan and US$ 27 million in foreign exchange. From January to November 1991, Tibet received more than 15,000 foreign tourists.

8.People's Livelihood

22. Along with economic and cultural development, the living standards of Tibetan people have improved noticeably. In 1990, the per-capital net income of Tibetan farmers and herdsmen averaged 430 yuan and the per-capita consumption of grain and meat 250 kg and 42.5 kg respectively. Improvement in the provision of food, clothing, shelter and transportation for urban residents is more evident. In 1990, grain for Lhasa residents was 330 kg per capita and rapeseed 24 kg per capita. Per-capita greenery was 10 square metres and floor space 9 square metres.

9.Education and Science

23. Before its peaceful liberation, Tibet only had a monastery education for the study of scriptures and a few private schools for the children of nobles and local officials. More than 90 per cent of the Tibetans were either illiterate or semi-literate, and only 2 per cent of school-age children went to schools. At present, the region has three universities with a total enrolment {sic} of 1,973, some 15 secondary vocational and technical schools with 3,968 students, 68 ordinary middle schools with 23,000 students, 2,398 primary schools with 139,000 students, and 54.4 per cent of school-age children go to schools. In addition 18 inland provinces and municipalities have opened 15 junior middle classes and secondary vocational classes for Tibetans which have combined enrolment {sic} of 7,000. Tibet also encourages amateur education, such as adult education programmes, audio-visual education and activities designed to eliminate illiteracy and other training courses.

24. Compared with the statistics from the third national census, in every 10,000 people, people with a university education increased from 42-57, people with a senior middle school education from 121 to 212, people with a junior middle school education from 361 to 385 and primary school education from 1,664 to 1,860. Illiterate and semi-illiterate people (people at and above the age of 15 who cannot read and write or can only read and write a little) are 975,652, making up 44.43 per cent of the total population, and the percentage was 46.12 in 1982.

26. The Tibetan people have accumulated many experiences in Tibetan medicine, astronomy, architecture, national handicrafts, agricultural production and livestock breeding, and developed unique skills in these fields. Generally speaking, however, modern science and technology were non-existent in Tibet before the 1950s. As of now, the region has established 13 scientific research institutions including forestry, biology, ecology, solar energy, astronomy and calendar, and Tibetan medicine and pharmacology. The number of scientists and technicians in the region has topped 26,000, 54 per cent of whom are Tibetans. The number of senior and mid-level scientific research personnel of Tibetan and other ethnics totals 196 and 2,262 respectively, accounting for 37 per cent and 52 per cent of the total in the region. The majority of them were trained after the founding of the People's Republic of China.

27. In recent years, Tibet has completed more than 1,000 scientific research and technological development projects in the fields of agriculture, livestock, breeding, forestry, geology, meteorology and medicine. Of these, 343 have won prizes from the State, the autonomous region and relevant departments.

E. Medical and Public Health and Social Security

28. Tibetan medicine and medical treatment have long history and can achieve unique results. However, before liberation, there were only a few medical institutions and folk clinics in Tibet which mainly served the nobles and officials. Doctors and medicine were inaccessible to the masses of Tibetan people and disease was rampant in Tibet. In 1925, more than 7,000 people died of smallpox in Lhasa alone and, in 1934 and 1937, over 5,000 Tibetans died of typhoid.

29. After the peaceful liberation, the Government paid special attention to the health of the Tibetan people and introduced the system of free medical care in Tibet. In the past four decades, the Government has allocated special funds totalling 700 million yuan for the development of medical service in Tibet. At present, 900 medical and public health establishments with 5,000 hospital beds have been set up in the region. The number of health workers are more than 9,000 and 77 per cent of whom are Tibetans. Tibetan medicine institutions have increased from 3 in 1959 to 74 now. In 1985, the immunity rate for children reached 85 per cent and many diseases that gravely threatened the life and health of the Tibetan people in the past are under effective control. The average life span of the Tibetan people has been extended from 35 years in the 1950s to more than 65 years today.

30. The Government has implemented a policy of supporting production and providing relief to impoverished areas and households in Tibet. Between 1979 and 1990, the Government allocated over 80 million yuan, 40 million kg of grain, 700,000 garments and bedding, 37,000 rooms, 13,000 tents, 75,000 production tools and 800,000 motor vehicles for the poor and enabled more than 300,000 people from 60,000 households to extricate themselves from poverty. Some 80,000 people of 10,000 households since then have entered a more prosperous life.

31. The Government offers various guarantees for the orphaned and the elderly in Tibet. At present, seven welfare facilities and 50 homes for the aged have been established in the region. The "five-guarantee-household system" (food, clothing, medical care, housing and burial expenses for the childless and infirm elderly and for the weak, sick and disabled who have lost their ability to work) has been implemented. In 1989, there were 7,300 people under the care of such a system from the agricultural and pastoral areas to which the Government offered an average of 2.5 million yuan in relief funds annually.

F. Inheritance and Development of Traditional Culture

1. Cultural Relics and Archaeology

32. The people's congress of the autonomous region has adopted the Provisional Regulations Concerning the Administration of Cultural Relics. The Cultural Relics Management Committee of the region has been established to inspect and protect cultural relics and many exhibitions of cultural relics have been held both at home and abroad. The State and region have listed a number of monasteries such as the Potala Palace and Jokhand Monaster as key sites for cultural relics under the special care of the State and region. Since the mid-1970's, Tibet has carried out systematic archaeological activities on the plateau and has opened scores of cultural ruins and relics.

2. Media and Publications

33. In the past, the Tibetan classics only had hand-copy and wood-carving texts. Now, modern technology is used to store Tibetan works into computers. Tibet has 30 newspapers and magazines in both Chinese and Tibetan languages. By 1990, Tibet People's Publishing House published more than 1,200 varieties and 25.6 million volumes of books, of which 80 per cent are in the Tibetan language. Furthermore, it published more than 200 kinds and over 1 million copies of Tibetan classics. Many Tibetan classics which were undiscovered for hundreds of years of typographically printed and beautifully bound for the first time.

3. Literature and Art and Folk Culture

34. The rescue, preservation and study of King Gesar, a famous epic, has been listed a key research item by the nation's social sciences department, and the related department has set up a special organization for this purpose. Now, 62 volumes of the epic in Tibetan have been published and more than 3 million copies sold. Eight Tibetan Traditional Dramas, Selected Works of Tibetan Folk Tales, Selected Works of Tibetan Folk Songs, the Proverbs of Tibet and other works concerning Tibetan music and dance have been compiled and published. The sour Milk Festival, recently restored, has been developed from performances of traditional Tibetan dramas to a grand art gathering of the Tibetan people.

4. Study of Tibetan Science

35. Eight research institutions such as the Academy of Social Sciences and the Nationality Research Institute of the Tibet Nationality College have been set up in the region. More than 40 special organizations for the study of Tibetan science have been established nationwide. On 20 May 1989, the China Tibetan Science Research Centre was founded in Beijing. These Tibetan research institutions have conducted large-scale social investigations and the preservation of ancient books. They have studied and corrected Tripitaka in the Tibetan language and published Pattra in Sanskrit language. Several symposiums on Tibetan science and influential academic discussions have been held. More than 20 Tibetan research magazines such as the Study of Tibet, China's Tibetan Science and China's Tibet have been published. Today, about 2,000 researchers nationwide are engaged in the study of the Tibetan science, along which over 200 are senior researchers. From 1978 to 1989, more than 70 post-graduates with M.A. degrees in the Tibetan Science were trained and 50 per cent were Tibetans.

5. Broadcast, Films and Televisions

36. Up to 1990, Tibet established two broadcasting stations, 14 medium and short wave transmission stations and 74 rediffusion stations in various cities and counties. There are also two television stations, 98 television relay stations, 19 television transposer stations, and 163 radio and television satellite ground stations. The region's medium wave radio and television broadcasts cover an area in which 21.8 per cent and 34 per cent of the local population live. The region has 82 film distribution and projection institutions, 553 projection teams, 13 cinemas and theatres. On average, 25 feature films are dubbed in Tibetan annually. Since the peaceful liberation of Tibet, films have been shown free of charge in agricultural and pastoral areas.

6. Cultural Life

37. Tibet now has 10 professional art troupes, 25 small performance teams and more than 150 amateur Tibetan drama and art troupes. The number of art workers has topped 5,000. The Tibet Autonomous Regional Song and Dance Ensemble, the Lhasa Song and Dance Ensemble and a number of Tibetan artists such as Cedan Zhoima have won repute both at home and abroad. Many dramas, novels, paintings and photographs produced by Tibetans have won international and national prizes.

G. Population

38. Tibet did not have any accurate census date when Tibet was liberated in 1951. The figure of the population provided by the local government of Tibet was 1 million. Since the founding of New China, four national population census were carried out. When the first national census was conducted in 1953, Tibet had 1 million people as reported to the census organizations by the then local government of Tibet. By the time the second census was conducted in 1964, this figure increased to 1.25 million, not including 67,000 people who escaped under the threat of the rebels during the armed rebellion in 1959. The third national census in 1982 found that the Tibetan population reached 1,892,000. The result of the fourth national census in July 1990 showed that the Tibetan population was 2,196,000 of whom 2,096,000 were Tibetans. The population of Tibet increased by more than one time between the period 1953 and 1990.

39. The implementation of family planning is a basic State policy of China. Considering the differences among the country's various ethnic groups in terms of population and economic and social lives, the government has formulated a special policy for these ethnic groups, including Tibetans, stating that family planning is also encouraged in minority areas, but detailed family planning regulations and measures in ethnic minority areas could be formulated by the autonomous authorities in light of the local conditions. When the family planning policy of "one couple, one child" was formally adopted in the early 1970s, it only applied to Han cadres and workers who worked in Tibet, while local Tibetans were exempt from the policy. In 1985, based on the actual population situation in Tibet, the Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region proposed the implementation of a family planning policy among Tibetan cadres and workers, encouraging each couple to have one child or two after an interval. Among farmers and herdsmen, only education of scientific birth control methods, and health care for women and babies were carried out and the Government has never set a limit on the number of children.

40. There has been witnessed a fast growth of the population in Tibet and an enhancement of the quality of the population. According to the statistics of the relevant department in Tibet, the average growth in height of male adolescents between the age of 7 to 17 is 8.11 cm, female 8.46 cm; their average weight increase, male is 4.57 kg and female is 3.15 kg.

41. In Tibet, there are not only Tibetans, but since ancient times people of different nationalities, such as Han, Hui, Moinba and Lobas as well as people of the Dengs and Sharpas. However, Tibetans always constitute the overwhelming majority. According to the data of the national population census, the ratio of the Tibetans against the total population in Tibet is 1,209,000; 96.63 per cent of the total population in 1974; 1,786,500, 94.4 per cent in 1982. 1,096,000, 95.46 per cent in 1990. Of the same period, the population of the Han nationality is respectively 37,000, 91,700 and 81,200 that constitute respectively, 3 per cent, 4.85 per cent and 3.7 per cent. For the other ethnic groups, the figures are respectively, 5,000, 14,100 and 18,400 and they constitute 0.37 per cent, 0.75 per cent and 0.84 per cent of the total population in Tibet.

42. The Chinese Government has never formulated and implemented the plan of emigration to Tibet. The State, in line of the need of construction of Tibet, has elected a few personnel of Han and other nationalities to serve in Tibet. Most of them are professional and technical personnel with high-level education and skills. Together with the Tibetan people, they have made contributions to the economic and cultural construction in Tibet. They are welcomed by the Tibetan people.

43. In recent years, as Tibet has implemented the economic policy of opening up and reform, some Han and Hui people have gone to Tibet to do business or as craftsmen. These people are always on the move and limited in number. They have not emigrated to Tibet.

H. Freedom of Religious Belief

44. Tibet was in the past a society of feudal serfdom with the administration and religion going hand in hand and dictatorship of the rich monks. After the Democratic Reform in 1959, administration and religion were separated and all religious sects became equal. The feudal privilege of the monasteries and the feudal system of oppression and exploitation were abolished. Monasteries were administered under a democratic system. Now, Tibet has opened and prepared more than 1,400 monasteries and other religious sites in which reside 34,000 monks and nuns. In the past ten years, the State has allocated more than US$ 43 million in the repair of monasteries. In 1989, the State decided to give US$ 40 million for the maintenance of Potala Palace which has for a long time been in a state of disrepair. The traditional religious festivals have also been restored.

45. The Government always respects the patriots of the religious circle in Tibet. Now there are 615 religious patriots of Tibet elected as deputies of the People's Congress and Political Consultative Committee at different levels and members of the Buddhist Council. The Government also respects the system of reincarnation of the living Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism.

46. On 28 January 1989, the tenth Baiqen died. On 30 January 1989, the State Council stated that the State would allocate special funds for building a memorial tower and hall. If necessary, China Buddhist Association and Tibetan Branch of China Buddhist Association would assist in seeking and confirming the Soul Boy in the process of reincarnation of the Tenth Bainqen.

47. The region has the Tibetan Branch of the China Buddhist Association and established seven Buddhist associations in seven towns and cities. The People's Government of the Autonomous Region has set up the Committee on Nationality Religious Affairs. Tibet has a Buddhism Institute and the big monasteries have classes to teach Buddhism. Every year big activities are organized to teach and study Buddhism. The Tibet Buddhist Association started the publication of the magazine "Tibetan Buddhism" in the Tibetan language. With the approval of the government, some big monasteries printed scriptures. Many scripture books in Potala Palace are being restored among which the treasury book "Danzhuer" are being copied by the calligraphers.

48. The masses who believe in religion in Tibet are free to set up scripture hall, recite scripture, go to the temples to burn incense, worship Buddha, lay carpet, make long kowtows and lead a religious life.

I. Judicial Safeguard for Human Rights

49. It is the fundamental purpose and task for the departments of public security and judiciary to protect the basic rights and freedom of the Tibetan people, public property and the lawful private property of the citizens, maintain social order, punish criminals in accordance with the Constitution and law.

50. The region's procuratorates and courts of various levels are local State judicial organs established according to the law. They can use the procuratorial right and the judicial authority independently and are only subject to law and free from interference of other administrate organs, societies and individuals. The procuratorate and chief of the court are elected by the people's congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region. Now the main officials in procuratorates and courts of different levels in Tibet are Tibetans.

51. In accordance with the relevant provisions of law, the people's courts and procuratorates and public security departments, when dealing with criminal cases, cooperate with each other according to their own responsibilities and also condition each other. The can only exercise their power within the line of their duty and cannot act on each other's behalf. The public security departments can, in order to obtain evidence, search the accused or suspects, their belongings and houses, but it must be carried out strictly according to law. The procuratorates supervise the activities of the public security departments in their investigations. Whether the cases after the investigation should be brought to suit, it will be decided by procuratorate in accordance with the law. Except for those cases that cannot be handled publicly, all the other cases should be handled publicly by the people's court according to law. Before the court session, the court will publish the content of the case, the name of the accused, the time and the place of the court session and visitors are allowed. The decision of the court must be made public.

52. According to Chinese law, the accused has the right to defense. Since the majority of people in Tibet are Tibetans, the people's congress of the region passed special regulations that all people's courts and procuratorates must ensure that Tibetan citizens have the right to use their national language during a suit and Tibetans involved in the legal proceedings shall use Tibetan language in handling cases and all the legal documents must be in Tibetan.

53. All the people in public security and judicial departments in the region are required to act according to law in their work and torture is strictly forbidden and criminals are given humanitarian treatment.

J. Natural Resources, Biological and Environment Protection

1.Protection of Forest

54. The Autonomous Region issued "The Regulations on the Protection of the Forest in Tibet Autonomous Region," "Eight Rules on the Prevention of Fire by the Office of Forestry of the Tibet Autonomous Region," "Provisional Regulations on Inspection of the Wood Transportation in the Tibet Autonomous Region."

2. Protection of Mineral Resources

55. In order to administer the exploiting and protecting of the resources, the region adopted "Methods on the Management of Exploiting Mines by Collective Enterprises and Individuals." In areas that have mines, the mining activities can be carried out with the approval of the Government and technical guidance of the departments concerned. One has to go through strict process for approval to run the mine and transport minerals.

3. Protection of Wild Animals

56. The region has issued regulations on protection of wild animals, set up an association for the protection of wild animals and established seven natural protection zones, such as the natural protection zone of Qomolangma and wild animal protection zones. All kinds of forests, plants and endangered wild animals are effectively protected.

4. Biological and Environmental Protection

57. In 1990, the State invested 3,900,000 yuan for the construction of the region's environmental supervision station. The station set up three atmosphere sampling stations at the upper, middle and lower parts of the Lhasa River, three river supervision units and 27 traffic noise control units. The results of the supervision show that the density of carbon dioxide that is harmful to people is 0.1 less in every cubic metre of air above Lhasa, lower than the State's standard. The atmosphere does not contain harmful dioxide and the dust in it is less than 0.4 milligram. According to the inspection of the river and soil at Dagong county and Lhasa which are situated at the upper part of the Lhasa River, and the joining place of Lhasa River and the Yarlung Tsangpo River, the water's acidity and alkalinity, hardness and consumption of the oxygen have no change above three points. There is no pollution in the rivers of lead, zinc and copper or artificial radioactive pollution. There is no nuclear pollution at all. The little natural radioactive pollution as a result of the high altitude is also within the normal limit. The traffic flow in several main roads in Lhasa is 824 vehicles per hour. Because there is no strict control over vehicle horns, some noises are produced.

58. Environmental departments have adopted a series of measures to protect biological environment, such as the construction of Yanzhuoyong Lake power station, Shannan Luobusaluo Iron Mine and other big projects. All of them are being carried out under strict inspection and management in accordance with the law of the environmental protection. The refuse site that is near Lhasa has been removed so as to reduce the pollution of the Lhasa river. A sewage treatment plant has been built. Remote Sensing Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Meteorological Bureau of Tibet are using high-tech to supervise the agricultural development of the areas along Yarlung Zangpo River, Nyang Qu River and Lhasa River.

59. Now, Tibet Autonomous Region has issued "Methods of Environmental Protection Management of Constructions," "Regulations of the Environmental Hygiene in Lhasa," "Regulations on the Forestation of Lhasa." "Regulations on the Protection of Tibet Environment" is about to be completed. Biological and Environmental Protection has step by step embarked on the path of legal administration.

Secretary-General's Report: Situation in Tibet, E/CN.4/1992/37

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