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China Makes Special Arrangements for Development of Tibet: White Paper

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 05/10/19; October 19, 2005.]

Xinhua is the official news agency of the People's Republic of China

China has made special arrangements for the development of Tibet, says a white paper on Building of Political Democracy in China, issued by the Information Office of the State Council on Wednesday.

The white paper says the state has made special arrangements for the development of Tibet. From 1994 to 2001, 30 projects were constructed there, with 3.9 billion yuan in total investment directly from the central government. During the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2001-2005), the central government has invested 31.2 billion yuan in Tibet to construct 117 projects.

China respects and protects the freedom of religious belief of ethnic minorities. According to the white paper, by the end of 2004, Tibetan Buddhist sites numbered more than 1,700 in the Tibet Autonomous Region, with 46,000 resident monks and nuns, and mosques numbered 23,900 in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, with 27,000 clerical personnel.

With respect of using and developing spoken and written languages of ethnic minorities, the white paper says, at present, 22 ethnic minorities in China use 28 written languages of their own. In 2003, 4,787 titles of books with a total print-run of 50.34 million copies, 205 magazines with 7.81 million volumes, and 88 newspapers with 131.3 million copies were published in the languages of ethnic minorities. Now available are coded character sets, national standards for fonts and keyboards in the Mongolian, Tibetan, Uygur, Korean and Yi languages, software in these languages can be run using the Windows system, and laser photo-typesetting in these languages has been realized.

The white paper says China is a unitary multi-ethnic country. To date, 56 ethnic groups have been identified and recognized by the central government. The population of the Han ethnic group accounts for the majority. As the population of the other 55 ethnic groups is relatively small, they are customarily referred to as "ethnic minorities." According to statistics collected in the fifth national census, conducted in 2000, the population of all ethnic minority groups totaled 106.43 million, accounting for 8.41 percent of the national total.

According to the white paper, to solve the problems of ethnic groups, different systems have been adopted by different multi-ethnic countries around the world, and what China practices is the system of ethnic regional autonomy. Ethnic regional autonomy means that, under the unified leadership of the state, organs of self-government are established for the exercise of autonomy and regional autonomy is practiced in areas where people of ethnic minorities live in compact communities.

The white paper says now China has established 155 ethnic autonomous areas, including five autonomous regions, 30 autonomous prefectures and 120 autonomous counties (banners). Of the 55 ethnic minorities, 44 have their own autonomous areas. The population of ethnic minorities implementing regional autonomy accounts for 71 percent of the total population of ethnic minorities.

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