Article says inclusive development keynote of Tibet's human rights progress
2015/02/02

BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- The inclusive development in China's Tibet Autonomous Region is the prime keynote of the human rights progress in the remote region, says a Chinese scholar.

Yang Minghong, a professor in social development at Sichuan University, made the comment in a signed article entitled "Inclusive development: prime keynote of Tibet's human rights progress".

The following is the main content of Yang's article.

In recent years, the Chinese government has invested heavily in housing projects to improve people's living conditions in the country's underdeveloped areas, often those places inhabited by ethnic minority groups, remote, border and poverty-stricken areas.

The measures have won wide applause from residents and are an example of China fulfilling the obligations of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Regarding Tibet, the World Report 2015 released by Human Rights Watch, misinterpreted the government's aid and support as "impoverishing them(Tibetans) or making them dependent on state subsidies". The view is exactly the same as the so-called "marginalization of Tibetans."

How exactly should one view the status-quo of Tibet's development and progress in a scientific way? An objective analysis cannot be made without the following.

Tibet had the first new-type of rural cooperative medicare system in the country. In the 1980s, farmers and herdsmen in Tibet received free medicare financed by the government to the tune of about five yuan for per person per year. The subsidy had increased to 380 yuan (about 62 U.S. dollars) per capita by 2014.

Buddhist monks and nuns aged 18 or above have been able to get urban basic medicare in places where their monasteries are located since 2012, no matter where they come from. They have been covered by a life accident insurance since November 2012. The government-provided basic medicare policy liberates them from sole dependence on the income of their monasteries and donations from followers.

Taking into consideration that the medical services in Tibet are comparatively lower than in other parts of the country, off-site billing were introduced.

"When we conducted a field research in Tibet, everyone we interviewed had their medicare cards. We also met some senior citizens in their 80s and 90s," reads the article.

Tibet also took the lead in basic living allowance. A guaranteed subsistence allowance was piloted in urban Tibet in 1996. The monthly allowance has been raised from 130 yuan per person to 440 yuan in 2013. The number of people covered increased to 49,920 in 2013 from 2,348 in 1997.

The pilot scheme was extended to rural areas in 2002 and fully covered the region in 2007, when 230,000 farmers and herdsmen with an average income under 800 yuan were guaranteed with basic living allowance.

By 2013, the number of beneficiaries had grown to 329,000 and the income ceiling was raised to 1,750 yuan per year.

Starting from 2012, the minimum living allowance for monks and nuns covered by social security system was 400 yuan per person monthly.

Tibet was also a pioneer in social pension insurance. Up to date, 200,000 residents in Tibet are aged 60 or above. Pooling of pension insurance began there as early as in 1987. Employees in urban factories were covered by basic pension and unemployment insurances which paid each of them 120 yuan every month in 2013.

The new rural insurance system Tibet implemented in 2009 has brought 105 yuan to people aged 60 or above monthly in 2013. Rural residents over the age of 16 can decide for themselves the amount of premiums. The more they pay today, the more they will be paid tomorrow. The insurance system covers all rural residents of eligible age.

Monks and nuns aged 60 or above have received 120 yuan a month since 2012. After at least 15 years of contributions, they can get a pension when they are 60 years old.

In addition, nursing homes in Tibet were put into operation much earlier with better services compared to those in other rural areas in the country. In several nursing homes, elderly people said their life was fairly comfortable. The time when elderly monks and nuns depended on charity has gone for ever.

Tibet introduced an employment aid policy in the form of public welfare posts in 2006. The policy helps disadvantaged groups in the job market. The jobs were designed for people whose family members were all unemployed, urban jobless people, people with partial physical disablement who are willing to work, and college graduates without jobs.

The government has invested a total of 370 million yuan in providing public welfare jobs. Some people who have taken the jobs said the policy not only guaranteed a stable job and income for them, but also provided an opportunity for a better social life.

Under market-oriented economy, it is common for those who lack labor and communication skills to be marginalized to some extent. Policies in Tibet are inclusive and have reduced the negative effect from the market economy to the minimum. On one hand, Tibet has shared the reform and development bonus of the whole country and accelerated its own growth, on the other hand, residents have had their living standard upgraded by reform and opening up of the whole country.

What is worth noting is that the central government has taken full consideration of history and reality as well as local people's will in eliminating poverty through development in Tibet and four other Tibetan areas with preferential policies, investment, and one-on-one aid from developed provinces, municipalities, and state-owned enterprises.

The regional policies embody the government's special care and help for ethnic minorities living in frontier regions. The inclusive development policies for Tibet target all ethic groups living in the region.

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