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        Tibet, located in southwest China, has since the ancient times been an inalienable part of China. Before the Democratic Reform in 1959, Tibet had long been a society of feudal serfdom featuring the despotic temporal and religious administration, a society which was darker and more cruel than the European serfdom of the Middle Ages. The People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, and in 1951, Tibet won peaceful liberation. The Central Government was prudent with regard to the reform of the social system of old Tibet and adopted a tolerant attitude toward the local government of Tibet. With great patience and sincerity, the Central Government did its best to talk to the upper ruling class in Tibet and waited for it to conduct reform of the old system of its own accord. However, the reactionary clique of the upper social strata of Tibet tried to preserve for ever the feudal serfdom featuring temporal and religious administration, and in March 1959 launched an armed rebellion with the aim of tearing Tibet away from the motherland. The Central Government, with the support of the people in Tibet, dissolved the local government of Tibet which rode roughshod over the broad masses of the Tibetans and resolutely suppressed the armed rebellion. At this same time, the Central Government, responding to the will of the Tibetan people, implemented the Democratic Reform and abolished the feudal serf system featuring temporal and religious administration that had lasted for several centuries. During the Democratic Reform, one million serfs and slaves in Tibet won emancipation, Tibet entered into a new era of social development, and the Tibetan people stood up and came into their own. In order to mark this historic event, the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region decided on January 19, 2009 that March 28, the day in 1959 the Central Government ordered the disorganization of the local government of old Tibet, be the "Serf Emancipation Day" of Tibet.

        To mark the 50th anniversary of the Democratic Reform in Tibet, this photo exhibition is held to show its great cause and the changes that have taken place to Tibet over the past 50 years; it is also aimed at helping the international community gain a better understanding of the history and present situation of Tibet.



                              State Council Information Office of the PRC and Chinese Consulate-General in Durban

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