This year marks the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Diqing Tibetan autonomous prefecture. Since then, Diqing has turned from feudal serfdom to socialism.
Located to the south of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, this prefecture in Yunan province covers an area of around 23,000 square kilometers. It has a population of 408,000.
The prefecture is endowed with many natural attractions like the Meri Snow Mountain, the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the Pudacuo National Park and Napa Lake.
Thanks to the Lancang River and Jinsha River which flow through the area, Diqing has potential hydropower resources of 16,500 MW.
The prefecture, which is often referred to as a “kingdom for animals and plants” and called a “biological gene pool”, is a habitat for over 5,000 plants and more than 1,400 kinds of wild animals.
Besides the Han people, the prefecture is also home to ethnic groups like Tibetans, the Lisu and the Naxi.
Over the past six decades, more than 400,000 people from 25 ethnic groups and the Han have made efforts to realize national unity, social stability and economic growth in Diqing.
The past 60 years have witnessed changes in the prefecture brought by the regional ethnic autonomy system. And progress has been made since the initiation of the system, especially after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
One key factor behind the progress is the commitment to the reform and opening-up. Over the past 60 years, Diqing has upgraded its industrial structure, improved the environment, lifted people’s living standards and implemented many social programs.
Between 2012 and 2016, the region enjoyed an increase of 6.7 billion yuan ($1 billion) in its GDP, saw 16.02 billion yuan in fixed-asset investment and 1.59 billion yuan in retail sales.
Its year-on-year growth of the main economic indicators pushed to the top among the 10 Tibetan autonomous prefectures.
In 2016, its urbanization rate was 32.9 percent, while the per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents in Diqing rose to 29,439 yuan and 7,088 yuan respectively. Full coverage of endowment insurance scheme was achieved and 98.6 percent of residents were covered by basic medical insurance.
Diqing’s education policies have led to growth of cultural industries, and improved healthcare services and medical facilities.
In the last six decades, the government has also given priority to maintain social stability and harmony in the region. Freedom of religious belief is respected and protected in Diqing, and people of different religions live in harmony.
Since 1994, when tourism of Diqing began to be promoted, the prefecture has made good use of its ecological and cultural resources.
Last year, tourism grossed about 18.8 billion yuan and contributed 16.8 percent of the GDP in Diqing.
The number of tourists has grown at a rate that averages 20 percent per year, reaching 19.76 million in 2016.
Separately, the living environments of both urban and rural residents have been improved.
At the end of 2016, the area under forests climbed to 1.88 million hectares with its forest cover reaching 75 percent.
Diqing has also taken actions to protect and develop culture. Nearly 300 types of intangible cultural heritage have been put on the protection list above the county level.
And, the government has actively promoted the cultures of ethnic groups.
Artists and writers are encouraged to create works and cultural brands such as the “Shangri-La Band”and literary work “My Dianxi” have gained prominence in the past few years.