Closer look at changes in Chamdo over past 60 years


This year marks the 60th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Chamdo Prefecture in eastern Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), southwest of China, which is the most significant festival for around 640,000 people in the prefecture.

Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), remarkable development and changes in social and cultural undertaking have taken place in Chamdo over the past 60 years, which is, the most extraordinary period for people all over the prefecture.

Thanks to economic prosperity, Chamdo enjoys social progress, stability and ethnic unity, a new and dynamic Chamdo has emerged in the socialist modernization drive in the eastern part of TAR.

All-round social progress

In the past six decades, education has been developing rapidly in Chamdo. In 1951, with the establishment of the Chamdo Primary School, the first modern school in TAR, education started to develope from scratch and is growing vigorously.

At present, schoolage students who are qualified for compulsory education in the agricultural and pastoral areas have all been covered by the "Three Guarantees" policy which includes costs on food, living expenses and tuition fees.

By the end of 2009, there are 529 schools at different levels in Chamdo with 107,626 full-time students. The enrollment rate of primary, junior and senior middle school students have reached 98.23%, 90.58% and 26.1% respectively.

With unremitting efforts from the departments concerned, outstanding achievements have been made in the educational undertaking in Chamdo, dramatically improving the scientific and cultural quality of the Tibetans living in rural and pastoral areas.

In addition, the medical and health care service has also developed vigorously.

At present, a sound medical and health care system involving traditional Chinese, Tibetan and western medical sciences has been set up in Chamdo, in sharp contrast with the situation without any hospital in 1950. As a result, the shortage of doctors and medicines has been greatly alleviated.

The medical care system in the agricultural and pastoral areas carried out in 2004 has covered every local Tibetan community in Chamdo with the medical allowances allocated from governments at all levels hitting 180 yuan a year per person. In 2009 alone, the reimbursement expense given by the government reached more than 50 million yuan.

Thanks to the advancement of the medical care system, the life expectancy in Chamdo has risen from 35.5 years old before the peaceful liberation to currently 67, while the total population has increased from 254,800 in 1959 to currently 641,800.

Moreover, great efforts have been taken to protect, inherit and develop the traditional Tibetan culture, which has resulted in remarkable achievements. For example, seven traditional Tibetan cultural items including the Repa dance in Dengqen County, Gorchom circle dance and the Shinze dance in Mangkam county have been inscribed onto the State Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

Beside, both Tibetan and Chinese languages are taught or used in teaching other courses at primary and middle schools as well as universities.

With the thriving cultural and entertainment industry, a folk art center, a library, and 8 comprehensive cultural centers at prefectural level, and seven cultural stations at county level, and 22 rural bookshops were set up in Chamdo. Around 1,800 TV stations of all kinds have been established so far, covering more than 80 percent of the total area.

As for the religious belief, the government of Chamdo respects and protects the traditional religious activities and rites of various sects. Statistics shows there are 496 religious sites with 13,695 lamas and nuns in Chamdo, which is able to meet the demand of Tibetan Buddhist believers.

The local government has attached great importance to the training of personnel, which has become one of the important ways to boost the local economic and social development. By the end of 2009, the number of managerial personnel and experts has amounted to 7,953. Among them, 5,760 are ethnic minorities, accounting for 74.42% of the total, and 3,894 are female, taking up 50.31%.

In addition, achievements have been made in the course of protecting the eco-environment. The departments concerned in Chamo Prefecture have made great efforts to protect the natural forests by returning the farmland to forests and pastureland and carrying out the Natural Forestry Protection Project on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

According to statistics, there are two state-level nature reserves, one state-level forest park, one regional-level wetland natural reserve in Chamdo. Besides, the area of natural grassland has stood at 5.4 million hectares while the forestry area has reached 3.75 million hectare so far, accounting for 34.18% of the total area of Chamdo.

The social security and employment systems are progressing gradually. A social security system benefiting most of the people has been established to ensure the full implementation of minimum allowance for low-income urban residents s and poverty-stricken rural people. The delivery of old-age pensions through the social welfare system has reached one hundred percent of the total population. So far, 20 homes for the aged and four community service centers have been built. .

Moreover, the registered unemployment rate in the urban area has been kept within 4.3 percent, while and the employment rate of college students above 81 percent in Chamdo Prefecture.

Farmers and herdsmen enjoy a new life

Over the past sixty years, the rural economy has seen rapid development thanks to the favorable policies in financial aid given by the Chinese Government and the regional government of TAR. A big increase has been achieved in the income of the farmers and herdsmen, and people's living standard has improved continuously.

The gross agricultural output value of TAR reached 2.196 billion yuan with an average annual increase rate of 9%, risen by fourfold compared to 0.41 billion yuan in 1990.

The agricultural production conditions have been greatly improved. The area of mechanical farming and effective irrigation has been expanded year by year, a strong guarantee of steady development of agricultural growth.

Throughout the whole region, the gross grain output amounted to 156,000 tons in 2009 from 36,000 tons in 1958, increased by 3.3 times. In 2009, the total farming area covered 44195.43 hectares with the total output of grain reaching 156,000 tons, and 73,400 tons of meat and 79,500 tons of milk. The net annual per capita income of farmers and herdsmen hit 3144 yuan, risen by 135 times that of 1958. The per capita net income of urban households reached 11,659 yuan.

Since the housing project was implemented for farmers and herdsmen in 2006, the construction of infrastructure has been improved continuously in access to safe drinking water and electricity, transportation, postal service, , broadcasting and TV coverage, telecommunication, etc.

Over 400,000 farmers and herdsmen were provided with safe drinking water, and more than 300,000 with electricity coverage of 49.78% in the agricultural and pastoral areas in TAR. A total of 300,000 some farmers and herdsmen have moved into comfortable houses. Automobiles, motorcycles, televisions, refrigerators, telephones, computers and other household appliances have been commonly used by ordinary Tibetans.

Great achievements made in economic development

The economic condition of Chamdo has drastically improved with a significant leap forward under the leadership of the Communist Party of China over the past sixty years.

Modern industries in Chamdo have emerged and developed gradually with proper structure. It has become a major force in the economic development of TAR.

The industrial system mainly consists of 72 industrial sectors including electricity, manufacturing, processing, minerals products, construction and building materials, Tibetan medicine and etc.

In Chamdo, the total output value in 2009 reached 5.79 billion yuan, increased by 40 times compare to that of 1958. The total output value of agriculture reached 2.196 yuan, increased by 68 times compared to 1959. The financial revenue reached 0.278 billion yuan, risen by 103.9 times than 1958.

Transportation industry develops rapidly

Chamdo is located in the Hengduan Mountain ranges with high mountains and deep valleys. The local government highly emphasized the transportation issue of Chamdo and integrated it into the general plan of Chamdo economic development and adopted five measures to break through the bottleneck of this issue.

The total investment for rebuilding and renovation reached 4.14 billion yuan during the 11th Five Year Plan. The total mileage of roads linked together in Chamdo is 9164 kilometers, including the construction section 847 kilometers and the paved road reached 723 kilometers.

Arduous efforts have been taken to accelerate the construction of rural highways. In the first four years of the 11th Five Year Plan, 206 road projects were constructed, with an investment of 0.496 billion yuan in the construction of highways extending 3975 kilometers. Most villages and townships became access to roads covering 72.5% of the total area. The operation of the Bangda Airport opened air routes and the proper designed air transport network has been achieved for the overall 12th Five-year transportation plan. The local government of Chamdo is trying to pave the entire National and regional roads by the end of the 12nd Five-year Plan.

Tourism flourishes with advanced features

Lying in the Hengduan Mountain range of three rivers namely Jinsha, Lancang and Nujiang, Chamdo featured boasts rich tourist resources with topographic features and varied climates.

Scenic spots of Chamdo include Ra'og Co, Laigu glacier, Ancient Tea Horse Road, Tsakhalho saltern in Markham.

In recent years, the tourist industry in Chamdo is developing vigorously featuring, ecological landscapes, human landscapes, customs of ethnic minorities, which has become an important part of the great Shangri-la tourist area.

The exploitation and promotion of tourist resources in Chamdo push forward tourist development. In 2009, there were about 300,000 visitors with 190 million yuan in tourist income were brought in Chamdo. Thanks to the improved transportation condition and the policy of opening wider to the outside world, the tourist industry has become a new pillar industry of its economy in Chamdo.

Democratic rights of farmers and herdsmen fully guaranteed

The policy toward ethnic minorities in Chamdo has been implemented adequately. Farmers and herdsmen have gained and exercised their democratic rights by China's Constitution and Laws. The local people in Chamdo take a more active part in the administration and discussion of state affairs in this area. More and more cadres of ethnic minority are working in the government agencies. Up to date, more than 80% of the deputies to the People's Congress at various levels are ethnic minorities.

Since the Chamdo People's Political Consultative Conference was built up, Tibetan, there have been new members of ethnic groups and religious circles. Hundreds of Chamdo People's Political Consultative Conference members of ethnic minorities and religious circles have become representatives. Among them, 8 Tibetans take the positions of chairman or vice chairmen of Chamdo People's Political Consultative Conference at all levels in Chamdo.

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