LHASA, March 26 (Xinhua) -- A new chapter has begun in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region since the feudal serfdom under theocracy was ended there on March 28, 1959.
Here are some achievements that the sweeping democratic reform on the plateau region has gained over the past 60 years.
-- GDP in the autonomous region stood at 174 million yuan (25.9 million U.S. dollars) in 1959. Last year, the figure soared to 147.8 billion yuan, an increase of 191 times calculated at comparable prices. Tibet has recorded double-digit GDP growth for more than 20 years in a row.
-- The central and regional governments have invested more than 1 trillion yuan in infrastructure over the period. More than 800 key projects including railways, hydropower stations and high voltage transmission lines have been implemented.
-- Thanks to government's favorable agricultural policies and subsidies toward local farming, crop yields in Tibet stabilized at over 1 million tonnes in 2018, with highland barley topping 814,000 tonnes.
-- There was no highway in Tibet 60 years ago. But today, the autonomous region's total highway mileage stood at 97,400 km and is still expanding. Railways including the Qinghai-Tibet railway connect the region with the rest of the country.
-- The per capita disposable income reached 17,286 yuan last year. Urban and rural per capita disposable incomes were 73 times and 105 times that in 1965, respectively.
-- Tibet has achieved decisive advance in poverty alleviation over the past 60 years. In 2018, 180,000 people were lifted out of poverty, bringing the region's poor population down to 150,000 from 860,000 six years ago. The poverty rate lowered to less than 8 percent.
-- The illiteracy rate in Tibet before the democratic reform exceeded 95 percent. Today, a complete modern educational system has been established there. The illiteracy rate among young adults has dropped to 0.52 percent, with the workforce averaging 8.6 years of education.
-- With improved health care, the average life span of Tibetan people has risen from 35.5 years in the past to 68.2 years at present, while the plateau region's population has expanded to 3.44 million from 1.23 million in 1959.
-- Ecological protection has always been a priority in Tibet's development. Nature reserves accounted for about 34.4 percent of the autonomous region's total land area. The forest coverage rate has been elevated to 12.14 percent across the region.
-- In 1980, only 1,059 people visited Tibet. Last year, the region received 33.7 million visitors from home and abroad. Tourism has become an important channel for the world to learn more about the region.