How was Tibet's human rights situation in 2014?

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On June 8, China's State Council Information Office published a white paper titled “Progress in China’s Human Rights in 2014”. The paper mentioned that the Chinese people's fundamental rights were further protected in 2014, and the constitutional principle that “the state respects and protects human rights” was well implemented.

Liu Huawen, deputy director of the Human Rights Research Center of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said,“China’s views of human rights are advancing with the times. It has been developing from the economic development to the economic, political, social, cultural, ecology combined."

Human rights is first and foremost the rights to life and development. According to the white paper,last year the economy in the Tibet Autonomous Region, located in central and western China, grew faster than the eastern regions of China. In 2014, China's GDP growth was 7.4 percent more than the previous year, and GDP growth in the Tibet Autonomous Region was 3.4 percent higher than that of the national average.

The Tibet Autonomous Region government completed a rural housing project over eight years that with the total investment of 27.357 billion yuan, bringing safe and comfortable housing to the region's 2.3 million rural residents.

With Lhasa as its center, Tibet has already established a public health service system that combines Tibetan medicine, western medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine across the entire region, providing free health care through the rural health care system for the whole region’s rural residents. More than 5,900 orphans receive effective aid. The average life expectancy in Tibet is 68 years old, and maternal and infant mortality rates have been substantially reduced.

The democratic rights of the Tibetan people were effectively protected in 2014. More than 93 percent of deputies of the Tibet Autonomous Region People’s Congress are of Tibetan ethnicity or come from other ethnic minority groups. The Tibet Autonomous Region has 20 deputies in the National People’s Congress, of whom 14 are of Tibetan ethnicity or come from other ethnic minority groups. 70.53 percent of party cadres in the region are of Tibetan ethnicity or come from other ethnic minority groups.

According to the white paper issued by the Chinese government in April this year titled “The Historical Choice of Development Path For Tibet”, since 1965 the Tibet Autonomous Region People's Congress and its Standing Committee have enacted more than 290 local laws, and legally binding resolutions, decisions, implementing a number of nationally drafted laws that are appropriate for Tibet.

In addition, the right of use and development of Tibetan language, culture, and religion are all respected and protected. In the Tibet Autonomous Region,there are currently 10 Tibetan-language magazines and 22 Tibetan-language newspapers. The Tibet People’s Broadcasting Station operates 42 Tibetan-language programs, and the Tibet TV Station broadcasts in Tibetan language 24 hours a day. Tibet is implementing bilingual compulsory education in stages for over 400,000 students, accounting for 97 percent of students in Tibet.

The Tibet Autonomous Region has nearly 800 intangible cultural heritage items and 158 precious ancient books entered into the national precious ancient book record. In 2014, three major cultural renovation projects of the Potala Palace, Norbulingka, and Sakya Monastery were completed with investments totaling 380 million yuan.

Monks and nuns enjoy full coverage for health insurance, pensions, welfare subsidies, and personal accident insurance. As of 2014, there were 110 monks who had achieved the Tho Ram Pa senior academic title and 84 monks who had achieved the Nzhing Ram Pa intermediate academic title. In addition,China has spent 35 million yuan and more than 20 years in compiling the

Chinese Great Tibetan Scripture Book (Tibetan language)for publication.

Liu Huawen said that the human rights situation last year achieved new developments in environmental protection. “This white paper defines the right to protect the environment in a separate chapter.” The white paper mentions that Tibet has invested 5.7 billion yuan in the protection and construction of national ecological security barrier. Energy saving has achieved remarkable results, and Tibet has already established operational and specific environmental pollution control targets and responsibility assessment methods.

According to data from the white paper “Historical Choice of Development Path for Tibet”, Tibet currently has 413,700 square kilometers of nature reserve areas, and more than 6 million hectares of wetlands, both ranking first in China. According to Xinhuareports, records from the Tibet Environmental Bulletin show that in 2014 the air quality in Lhasa ranked third out of 74 cities.

The white paper also emphasizes that China is protecting the people’s right to life and development at a higher level. China’s achievements in human rights show that the country has successfully created a path of development suited to its national conditions and human rights.

As one of China’s ethnic minority regions, Tibet, since its peaceful liberation in 1951 and the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region in 1965, has achieved a great leap from a feudal serfdom to a socialist society.The Tibetan people have become masters of their own in the country and the society. Therefore, the development path Tibet has embarked on today is in line with China’s development as well as the fundamental interests of the Tibetan people.