Life of a Herdsman
Secretary of the Kesong Neighborhood Committee of Naidong District in Shannan of the Tibetan Autonomous Region
My name is Bianba Ciren and I was born in 1965 in Kesong Village, Naidong County, Shannan of Tibet. Kesong Village was a big manor of Gaxag Government of old Tibet before peaceful liberation, known as Kesong Xika. The Manor's owner, Soikang Wangqing Gele, ruled this piece of land. My father and people of his generation were serfs on the manor. The main reason why I introduced the background of Kesong Village is that when people of my father's generation talked about their life at that time, tears bathed their cheeks. To them, Kesong Xika was a place of sadness. At that time, more than 95 percent of people in the village were serfs for generations.
When I was very young, my father, who was a serf before, told me that we didn't have house, livestock or land in old Tibet. My parents had to make a living through working hard for manor owners all year round. They worked day and night, but still could not earn enough food and clothes. They had to wear the same clothes and spent nights in cowshed, horse stalls or haystack all year round. Every night, they just hoped the day time could come earlier. Serfs did not know their future and all they could do was to pray before the Buddha statues for a better life in the next life.
Fortunately, I was born in a new era. In 1965 when I was born, the Tibet Autonomous Region was established. As far as I can remember, I could often see my parents smiling. We have our own houses, lands and livestock. My parents said it was impossible in the old society. The village also solicited opinions from all villagers for public matters through villagers' autonomous organizations. Every villager voted to select their leaders. This was impossible in the old Tibet, as the manor owners decided on every thing, including life and death of their serfs.
I received nine-year basic education and can read books and newspapers. Particularly, I can read books on scientific farming and aquiculture and learned many advanced technologies. I know how to grow vegetables in greenhouses and how to produce methane. Since 1987, I have been working as an accountant in my village. Talking about my schooling experience, my parents said they envied me very much, adding that I am in a good era. In old Tibet, only children from noble families could go to school and serfs had no way to be educated. Actually, I envy my children very much. One child went to university and is now a civil servant; the other child just finished high school and is now operating a small store in my village. I didn't pay any fee for their compulsory education. The Central Government has the policy of providing free food, free dormitory and free education for students in Tibet. Apart from education, we also enjoy many preferential policies in areas such as medical care. For instance, we have rural medical insurance and we basically do not need to pay for medical treatment; we can cure common diseases in the village clinics without having to leave our village; we do not need to pay tax for farming and get subsidies for purchasing farming machineries and growing grains; we receive free trainings of basic farming technologies; each household gets a subsidy of 20,000-30,000 yuan for building a new house; we do not pay interest for bank loans for building new houses. In addition, we get state subsidies for purchasing furniture and home appliances. Talking about this, I am very happy deep from my heart.
When I was young, I could rarely see cars, tractors or even tarred roads as Tibet was not economically developed. Today, we have cement roads in Kesong Village. Most families have tractors; some even have large trucks and buses, which can help increase their incomes through transport business. Now, we use tractors to plow lands, sow seeds with seeding machines, and harvest with reaping machines. Many people from urban areas envy me for my 256-square-meter house and a yard. In fact, my condition is only in the medium level in my village.
Today, you can see broad roads, well-organized street lamps, beautiful houses and clean environment in Kesong village. In addition, the smiling faces, confidence and good living conditions of villagers also show that they are living a free and happy life. I and my family welcome all friends to my family any time. When you come, I will offer my snow-white hada, auspicious Qiema and sweet highland barley wine!