Following the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region in September 1965, autonomous organs were set up in various parts of Tibet to handle Tibetan affairs. The PRC Law on National Regional Autonomy promulgated in 1984, makes the system of national regional autonomy a State system. It has stipulations concerning the autonomous rights of ethnic minority groups concerned in the political, economic and cultural fields. This paves the way for the Tibetans to enjoy full autonomy.
According to the said law on national regional autonomy, the Tibetans have, under the leadership of the Central Government, taken an active part in the management of their own affairs. Fully enjoying the rights bestowed by the PRC Constitutions and the law, they plunge themselves into the modernization drive.
General elections were held for the first time in Tibetan history in 1961. Emanci-pated serfs and slaves elected deputies to the People's Congresses at various levels, and, through these deputies, participated in the management of State and local affairs. In 2001,93.09 percent of electorates in Tibet participated in the direct elections at the regional, prefectural (city) and county (township) levels, with a 100 percent voting rate in some places. Tibetan and other ethnic minority deputies account for over 80 percent of the total number of deputies to the people's congresses at regional and prefectural levels, and their percentage is higher than 90 percent at country and township levels. All the deputies work hard in accordance with the law.
Since the Tibet Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference was founded in 1959, Tibetan people have taken all of the five chairmanship of the committee. At present, Tibetan and other ethnic minority people account for 87.5 percent among the chairperson and vice chairpersons of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region and 69.23 percent of the total members of the committee. Tibetans or people of other ethnic minority groups make up 64.3 percent of the chairmen or vice-chairmen of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region; 72.4 percent of the members of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region; 53percent of the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the TAR government; and 81.3 percent and 81 percent of the members of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and members of the Tibet Committee. Tibetan and other ethnic minority people also constitute 77.97 percent of the government staff at regional, prefectural/municipal and county levels, and form 69.82 percent of court staff and 82.25 percent of procuratorate staff at these levels.
The 14th Dalai Lama, the 10th Panchen Erdeni, Ngapoi Ngawang Jigmei, Parblha Geleg Namgyi and Radi all used to serve as members of the NPC Standing Committee. At present, 25 people of the Tibetan and other ethnic groups works as CPPCC members and as members of its Standing Committee. They include Ngapoi Ngawang Jigmei and Parblha Geleg Namgyi who are vice-chairmen of the CPPCC National Committee.
In accordance with the Constitution, the self-government organs of the Tibet Autonomous Region exercise the functions and powers of a provincial-level government, as well as regional autonomy, implementing the State laws and policies in light of the local conditions. The People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomous Region not only enjoys the power of a general provincial legislature to formulate local laws and regulations, but also have the power to formulate rules of autonomy and separate regulations based on the political, economic and cultural characteristics of local ethnic groups. Statistics show that since 1965, the People's Congress of the Tibet Autonomouos Region and its Standing Committee have formulated 253 local laws and separate regulations concerning various aspects, such as the construction of political power, social and economic development, marriage, education, spoken and written language, judicature, forest, grassland, wild animals and natural resources protection. All these laws and regulations bear strong regional ethnic autonomous characteristics.
According to the relevant provisions of the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, the Tibet Autonomous Region has the right to implement in a flexible way or not to implement thee resolutions, decisions and instructions of higher-level government departments that are not suitable for the actual conditions of Tibet, with the approval of the higher-level government department. It is also in a positin to work out rules and regulations as a supplement to State law in the light of the local conditions. For instance, in 1981, the Standing Committee of the TAR People's Congress, proceeding froceeding from the actual conditions with regard to the history and marriage situation of Tibet, adopted the Modified Regulations of the TAR for the implementation of the PRC Marriage Law, which lowers the legal age for Tibetans to get married by two years. It also specifies that those involved in the system of polyandry or polygamy may continue in such relationships, so long as they do not volunteer to cut the ties among them.
Given the special geographical conditions in Tibet, working people in the region work 35 hours a week, or five hours per week less than other parts of China.
While following the national way to celebrate traditional festivals, the Tibetans also celebrate the Tibetan New Year, Shoton (Sour Milk Drinking) Festival and other traditional festivals.