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Xizang marches toward modernization in new era

By Zhang Yun | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-11-21 07:11


The peaceful liberation of Xizang in 1951 was a momentous and historic event for China and the democratic reform in the region in 1959 was a milestone in global abolitionist movement. Since that time the Xizang autonomous region has broken free from its backward, autocratic, isolated past to embrace prosperity, democracy and an open future. Thanks to the leadership of the Communist Party of China, millions of serfs and slaves were able to enjoy democratic rights as their own masters and made great achievements with people of all ethnic groups in building a socialist country.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, officials and the people of the various ethnic groups in the autonomous region have worked together to make Xizang enter a stable period of unprecedented development and huge change, bringing more tangible benefits to the people. The social and economic progress of Xizang epitomizes the nation's outstanding achievements in development, created on the roof of the world.

There has been considerable progress in building transport infrastructure and construction of the power grid, providing huge development opportunities for the region. By early 2022, the total road length there exceeded 121,400 kilometers, including 1,105 km of high-grade highway, while the railway network was extended to 1,359 km. The Ya'an-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Xizang Railway is under construction, and the Lhasa-Nyingchi section has entered service. The Qinghai-Xizang, Sichuan-Xizang, central Xizang and Ngari electric transmission lines have been built.

The country prioritizes improving education in Xizang. From 2012 to 2022, a total of 251.51 billion yuan ($34.72 billion) had been invested in the education sector in Xizang. At present, the region has 3,409 schools of various types and at various levels, with over 944,000 students enrolled. The optimized educational resources and modern education system not only guarantee the right of people of all ethnic groups to education, but also cultivate a large number of talents for Xizang and the country.

After the country achieved the goal of eradicating absolute poverty and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, it accelerated rural vitalization. Since 2021, Xizang has built a total of 300 beautiful and livable villages and created and certified 505 demonstration villages. Xizang is promoting common prosperity rapidly. The growth rate of per-capita disposable income of the region's residents as a whole has been the highest in the country for eight consecutive years since 2015.

The country saw achievements during the past decades by upholding CPC leadership, socialism with Chinese characteristics and the system of regional ethnic autonomy. Besides, there are profound changes to the work being carried out in Xizang. The CPC, based on its understanding of the situation, has summarized its successes in leading the people of Xizang to stability and prosperity, and proposed the guidelines for governing Xizang in the new era.

These guidelines, grounded on the practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the actual situation in Xizang, demonstrate a keen understanding of work related to Xizang. They encapsulate the CPC's past successes in stabilizing Xizang and its plans for future development. Embodying Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, these guidelines provide answers to a series of questions on the future direction and strategy in governing Xizang and are to be followed in all undertakings related to the region.

First, the guidelines clarified the focus of the governance of Xizang and proposed the evaluation criteria for the region's development. The original aspiration and the mission of the CPC is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. National unification and ethnic unity are the fundamental guarantee for socialist modernization and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

For China, Xizang, with an area of over 1.2 million sq km and located on the roof of the world, serves as an important national security barrier. It also constitutes an important ecological security screen, a major base of strategic resources reserve. It is home for the preservation of a unique culture of the Chinese nation. Xizang is a vital channel for the country's exchanges with South Asia. The region is at the forefront of China's struggle against hostile and separatist forces at home and abroad.

Second, the local government should implement the four main tasks in the guidelines — ensuring stability, facilitating development, protecting the eco-environment and strengthening the frontiers. Currently, Xizang needs to address the risks of the battle against separatists, promote long-term social stability, bolster high-quality economic transformation, strengthen eco-environmental protection and continue to vitalize border areas and enrich residents' lives.

As such, authorities establish long-term mechanism to ensure sustainable, long-term and comprehensive stability. The local government pursues rural vitalization by building on the success in poverty alleviation, promotes green development and develops specialty industries.

Third, efforts should be made to consolidate the sense of community for the Chinese nation to safeguard national unification and ethnic unity and guide people of all ethnic groups to develop an accurate understanding of country.

Xizang as a frontier ethnic area with rich religious culture faces a special contradiction between people of all ethnic groups and the separatist forces represented by the Dalai Lama clique. In order to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, authorities need to carry out work to facilitate ethnic solidarity and progress, continue the fight against secession, adapt religion to China's realities, adapt Tibetan Buddhism to socialist society and work for unity, common prosperity and development among all ethnic groups.

Efforts should be made to disseminate ethnic exchanges, communication and integration recorded in the history of Xizang, enhance awareness about the motherland, the Chinese nation, Chinese culture, history and religions among people of all ethnic groups as well as their understanding of the CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The Party is leading people of all ethnic groups in Xizang to realize the second centenary goal of building China into a modern socialist country in all respects, and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.

The author is a researcher at the China Tibetology Research Center. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.

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