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Former UN official talks about her visit, current reality in Tibet

08-04-2010 17:19 BJT

BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- A former United Nations (UN) official said she was impressed by the human rights improvements and local culture preservation in Tibet over the past 50 years.

Sirkka Korpela, former UN Ambassador to Bolivia, talked about her recent visit this summer to Tibet and the reality she saw there "with her own eyes," during an interview with China's state media, the People's Daily.

Korpela said contrary to the romantic idea prevalent in the West, she learnt that before 1959 Tibet had been a "feudal, almost medieval society," where serfs were bound to their masters'land, and that they could be brutally tortured for almost any offence against their masters from the small nobility class.

Korpela said during her visit to Tibet, she was fascinated by the beautiful scenery and impressed by the improvements in the cityscape and peoples' lives when she arrived Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

"I was impressed by the new infrastructure that is now linking Tibet to the rest of the world with very modern means of transportation: the high-altitude train, and four modern airports in different parts of Tibet," she said.

Korpela said having the chance to talk to some local educators in Tibet removed her worries about the rumored deterioration of Tibetan language.

She was told that the children there learnt three languages: Tibetan, Mandarin Chinese and English.

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