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From: China Daily 2011-07-21 09:51:00
by: Dachong and Peng Yining
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Democratic reforms bring improvements

The earliest democracy in Tibet was quiet simple and crude, but it was a big step forward as for the first time the former serfs and slaves were able to enjoy rights as their own masters, Qiangba Puncog, head of the standing committee of the Tibet autonomous region's people's congress, said in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

According to Qiangba Puncog, since the peaceful liberation of the autonomous region in 1951, the development of a socialistic democratic political system has created a great process.

It has been very difficult to develop democracy in an economically backward and geographically inconvenient region like Tibet, he said. But the surging tide of democratic reform took only a few years to overthrow the feudal serfdom system which had existed in Tibet for centuries.

Now, to collect all the ballot, Qiangba Puncog said many village officials, riding horses or automobiles, visit every household with ballot boxes.

In 1961, a general election was held in Tibet. In August 1965, the election at the level of township and county was completed. There were 1,359 towns and counties that conducted elections, and 567 towns and counties held peoples' congresses. The people's democratic organs at county level were established in 92 percent of the region, with the majority of participants being liberated serfs and slaves, according to official reports.

Qiangba Puncog said that in 2007, more than 96 percent of residents with voting rights participated in the electoral process for the people's congresses at autonomous regional, prefectural, county and township levels, and in some places the voting rate was 100 percent.

Currently, he said, of the 34,000 deputies of the people's congress of various levels in Tibet, more than 94 percent were members of the Tibetan or other ethnic minorities. Of the deputies to the current National People's Congress, 20 are from Tibet, including 12 Tibetans, one Monba and one Lhoba.

Since 1965, the heads of the standing committee of the people's congress and chairmen of the people's government of the Tibet autonomous region have all been Tibetans.

[editor : ]
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