Fri, January 16, 2009
China > Politics

Tibet proposes setting of "Serfs Emancipation Day"

2009-01-16 03:11:01 GMT2009-01-16 11:11:01 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

LHASA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Tibetan legislators proposed Friday to set up a Serfs Emancipation Day that will be remembered on March 28 every year to commemorate the emancipation of millions of serfs in the region 50 years ago.

The motion for this submitted to the second annual session of the regional People's Congress, the regional legislature, will be reviewed by about 400 lawmakers.

If approved, it would help the whole Chinese nation, including Tibetans, remember history, according to Legqog, director of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People's Congress.

The bill is expected to be endorsed at the end of the session, which runs from Jan. 14 to 19.

The serfs and slaves were freed 50 years ago after the central government foiled an armed rebellion staged by the Dalai Lama and his supporters with assistance from some Western powers.

The People's Liberation Army quelled the rebellion, and later a democratic reform was introduced to end feudal serfdom and abolish the hierarchic social system characterized by theocracy, with the Dalai Lama as the core of the leadership.

Legqog said "Serfs Emancipation Day" would strengthen Tibetans' patriotism.

"Over the past five decades, Tibet's political, economic and cultural sectors have witnessed great changes ... former serfs have become masters of the new socialist Tibet," Legqog said. The 65-year old Tibetan leader himself grew up in a serf family in Tibet.

He said the Dalai Lama and his followers had constantly organized seditious activities and had tried "by all means to prevent Tibet's development," aiming to resume feudal serfdom.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the democratic reform in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Pang Boyong, deputy secretary-general of the regional people's congress standing committee, said the bill proposing to set the date by the local legislature was aimed at "reminding all the Chinese people, including Tibetans, of the landmark democratic reform initiated 50 years ago."

On March 28, 1959, the central government announced it would dissolve the aristocratic government of Tibet and replace it with a preparatory committee for establishing the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Migmar Dondrup, a 74-year-old Tibetan farmer from Xigaze county, told Xinhua that he had been a serf for 11 years before the serfdom was abolished in 1959. "I'd be very glad if a date were set to mark the emancipation of Tibetan serfs," he said.

Before 1959, Dondrup and his wife were slaves of the Parlha Manor. Dondrup was a servant of the manor's owner, and his wife was a maid of the owner's mistress. The couple said they led a hungry and miserable life at the manor.

Dondrup called the date of their liberation 50 years ago "the most important day of my life. I was reborn," he claimed.

Dondrup's family of four generations now lives in a two-story house, with a floor space of 400 square meters.

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