Exhibit on Tibet's Democratic Reform

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You probably tend to gradually forget what has happened in old Tibet with the passage of the time. But those historical records may remind you: there's nothing else quite like "truth".

 

You probably tend to gradually forget what has happened in old Tibet with the passage of the time. But those historical records may remind you: there's nothing else quite like "truth".

Officials are attending the opening ceremony of the exhibit on 50th anniversary of the Democratic Reform in Tibet Autonomous Region in Beijing

An exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the Democratic Reform in Tibet opened at the Cultural Palace of Nationalities on Feb 24 and runs until April 10.

Featuring many photographs, objects, documents, videos and sculptures, the ongoing exhibition showcases the last 50 years of development, during which time Tibet has moved from poverty to affluence, dictatorship to democracy, and isolation to opening-up.

 

 

The exhibition has three parts: the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, the Crack-down on the Armed Rebellion, the Democratic Reform in Tibet, the Fight against Rebelions and Separation Attempts, as well as Tibet's Economic and Social Development.

On display are pictures dating back to 50 years ago, instruments to torture the serfs when Tibet was still under feudal serfdom, and documents and correspondence by government officials, etc.

Among items on display in the exhibition is a copy of a letter from the old Tibet government in the early 1950s. It read: "To celebrate the (14th) Dalai Lama's birthday, all the staff ... would chant the sutra. To successfully complete this ceremony, some special food would be thrown to the animals. Thus, a corpus of wet intestine, two skulls, many kinds of blood and a full human skin were urgently needed, all of which must be promptly delivered."

Also available are simulated scenarios to show in a vivid way the miserable life of serfs, jubilant celebrations when the serfs were emancipated and others.

A statue of a Tibetan serf on the exhibition about the 50th anniversary of the Democratic Reform in Tibet Autonomous Region in Beijing

On a special stage several Tibetan artists show to visitors their New Year preparations, including Ghee-flower making, painting, and local snacks such as kasai, buttered tea, and tsampa, etc. Visitors are even encouraged to try the food.

Two Tibetans are making the traditional handicrafts on the exhibition about the 50th anniversary of the Democratic Reform in Tibet Autonomous Region in Beijing

Audiences expressed positive impressions about the huge changes Tibet has experienced over the past fifty years.

Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet autonomous region's government, called the exhibition - intended to showcase Tibet's achievements over the past 50 years - an achievement in itself.

"As a contributor to Tibet's development, I have a very strong sense of personal participation," he said.

A guide introduces a photo in an exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the Democratic Reform in Tibet Autonomous Region in Beijing, China, Feb. 24, 2009.

"I hope more such exhibitions could be arranged for people of all ethnicities, and from all sectors and all countries.

"I hope they can come on site to learn about the real situation in Tibet - the region's gruesome and dark past, and the vast changes since then."

Tibet abolished serfdom in March 1959. That year, the central government began the Democratic Reform, emancipating serfs, who accounted for 95 percent of old Tibet's 1 million people, allowing them to work their own fields for the first time.

Two Tibetan girls are watching the pictures about Democratic Reform in Tibet carefully

Legqog, chairman of the standing committee of the autonomous region's people's congress and a former serf, said old Tibet had "an extremely pitiful" human rights record.

"The Democratic Reform in Tibet is an important chapter in the history of global human rights development," the 65-year-old said.

"Its implications are no less than those of the abolitions of serfdom in the United States and Europe.

"Exhibitions and more comprehensive lessons are crucial to the education of our younger generations."

Prof. Zhu Xiaoming, a senior official of the China Tibetan Studies Center, said that the exhibition aims to highlight the tremendous changes that have taken place in Tibet since the Democratic Reform began in 1959. He also asked those wishing to know Tibet better to visit the exhibition, saying it is a good opportunity.

"I am shocked to see pictures of the wretched serfs and what they had suffered, but thanks to the Communist Party and its policies, those dark days are gone forever. We now can lead a happy life, “said a Tibetan student from the Minzu University of China (also known as Central University of Nationalities).

The photo shows thumbscrews, instruments of torture in the old Tibetan prison before 1959.

A college student from the Central Conservatory of Music, who majors in the fiddle, visited this exhibit with her mother. She said: "As a post-80's youth, I take a greater interest in Tibet's history. What I knew about the serfdom and dire poverty that Tibetan had suffered was all from textbooks. Such understanding was so abstract that it's hard to tune myself into it…"

"But today, I am deeply moved by these vivid pictures that give a strong visual impact on me. Especially the contrast between the past and the present has brought me to a more direct and more profound knowledge of serfdom's cruelty in old Tibet. "

"It is absurd for someone to describe old Tibet as 'a beautiful land', and to be blind completely to the reality at that time - the feudal serfdom, "the girl said.

History Makes Fair Judgments

A new house decorated by Tibetan farmers and herders to celebrate Tibetan New Year

During 50 years of development, Tibet has moved from darkness to light, poverty to affluence, dictatorship to democracy and seclusion to opening-up. History has eloquently proven democratic reform as the impetus for development in Tibet, and CPC leadership as the path to socialism in the region. It was only under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, in the embrace of the motherland and by treading the socialist road of regional ethnic autonomy with Chinese and Tibetan characteristics that it was possible for people of all ethnic groups in Tibet to enjoy prosperity and progress today and to anticipate an even better tomorrow.

Fact speaks louder than eloquence. Let's make truth tell itself.

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