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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Qiangba Puncog: Tibet makes miraculous jump in 50 years

January 17, 2009

People's Daily Online
Jan. 15, 2009
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Tibet's democratic reform. Qiangba Puncog, Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region Government, told reporters in Lhasa on January 15 that, since the democratic reform was implemented 50 years ago, in just half a century Tibet has made a millennium miracle.
The chairman said the old Tibet was a society of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule. The system was dark and more barbaric and crueler than that of Europe during the Middle Ages.
"In the old Tibet, there were no highways. But now there is already a total of 48,000 kilometers of highways in Tibet, an increase of nearly 5.7 times over 1959." Qiangba Puncog said that now Tibet not only has highways, but also five airports including those still under construction. There are now 15 flight routes leaving from and arriving in Tibet. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway was built, ending the chapter of history in which Tibet was without railways.
The chairman said the old Tibet did not have any modern schools, not to mention modern education. Serfs and slaves who accounted for 95% of the population did not even have the right to be educated. But after more than 50 years of effort, Tibet’s modern education has developed from scratch, expanding in scale to form a modern education system incorporating early childhood education, basic education, higher education, vocational training, special education and adult education.
"Tibetan culture has never been as prosperous as it is today. This is truly my personal belief." As a Tibetan official who was present during democratic reform in Tibet, he points out that the 50 years following democratic reform were the greatest and most profound 50 years in the history of Tibetan development.
"The future and destiny of people from all ethnicities in Tibet have been and will be closely linked to the future and destiny of the big family of the motherland," Qiangba Puncog said. He added that Tibet is an inalienable part of the big family of the motherland and also an important member of the big family of the Chinese nation.
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