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Chinese newspapers highlight Tibet-related issues

May 1, 2008

Special report: Tibet: Its Past and Present
[Xinhua is the PRC's official news agency]

BEIJING, April 30 (Xinhua) -- The People's Daily and Guangming Daily,
mainstream Chinese newspapers, on Wednesday devoted two pages to
highlighting the regional autonomy for the country's ethnic minorities
and other Tibet-related issues.

"Regional autonomy for ethnic minorities is one of the country's basic
political systems," Mou Benli, the deputy-director of the Ethnic Affairs
Committee of the National People's Congress, told Guangming Daily.

He said the system could help maintain the country's unification and the
equal status and rights of ethnic minorities. It would also help combine
the general principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party and
the central government with the reality of the regions where ethnic
minorities live.

Mou said it would help to combine the national development with the
development of ethnic minorities.

In People's Daily background article of facts and figures about China's
regional autonomy for ethnic minorities, it said by 2007, the country
had established 155 ethnic autonomous areas, including five autonomous
regions, 30 autonomous prefectures and 120 autonomous counties. Among
the country's 55 ethnic minorities, 44 have autonomous areas covering 75
percent of the total ethnic minority population.

According to People's Daily, after 61 years of regional autonomy system
and 30 years of reform and opening-up, rapid economic and social
progress had been made in the autonomous regions, accounting for 64
percent of the country's total area.

Guangming Daily reported China was to hold a free exhibition on Tibet's
history at the Cultural Palace of the Nationalities from April 30 to
July 27.

The exhibition, "Tibet of China: Past and Present," will feature two
parts: the History of Tibet and Feudal Serfdom in Old Tibet, and New
Tibet: Changing With Each Passing Day, the paper said.

People's Daily reported 30 people were sentenced on Tuesday afternoon
for their involvement in the March 14 Lhasa riot.

Three were sentenced to life and the shortest jail term was three years,
according to the Intermediate People's Court of Lhasa, capital of Tibet
Autonomous Region, which passed down the sentences at an public court
session which started on Tuesday morning.

The Lhasa violence left seven schools, five hospitals and 120 homes
torched and 908 shops looted. Total damage was more than 244million yuan
(35 million U.S. dollars).
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