Top Chinese political advisor Yu Zhengsheng arrived in Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, on Sunday, leading a central government delegation to attend festivities marking the 50th anniversary of the region's founding.
The 65-member delegation was greeted by local officials and about 800 local residents in festive attire at Gonggar Airport. They were presented with hadas, a typical Tibetan ceremonial white scarf, as a welcome greeting.
A huge banner reading "warmly welcoming the central government delegation" was hanging at the airport gate and five-starred red flags and red lanterns were seen everywhere in the city.
Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), met several incumbent and retired high-ranking Tibetan officials, including senior legislator Qiangba Puncog and senior political advisor Pagbalha Geleg Namgyai, at the Lhasa Hotel on Sunday afternoon.
Yu, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, thanked them for their great efforts in Tibet's reform and development and improving the people's living standards.
The central delegation will attend a grand celebration ceremony in front of the symbolic Potala Palace on Sept. 8.
They will also bring presents to the Tibetan people, a government statement said, without going into detail. In 2005, central authorities sent a solar cooker to every farmer and herdsman household while celebrating the autonomous region' s 40th birthday.
The Tibet Autonomous Region was founded on Sept. 1, 1965, after the establishment of the regional People's Congress, the local legislature, through elections.
On Sunday, the central government issued a white paper on Tibet, saying "Tibet is now in its golden age."
Titled "Successful Practice of Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet," the white paper said since the democratic reform was carried out in 1959 and regional ethnic autonomy came into practice in 1965, Tibet has established the new socialist system and achieved historic leaps and bounds in its economic and social development.
Old Tibet is dark and backward as even in the 1950, and was still a society ruled by feudal serfdom under theocracy. However, its GDP soared from 327 million yuan in 1965 to 92.08 billion yuan (14.5 bln U.S. dollars) in 2014, a 281-fold increase, said the white paper.
Tibet's traditional culture has been well protected and promoted, and freedom of religious belief in the region has been respected and protected, the white paper added.
The papers also rebuked the 14th Dalai Lama clique for their "Tibet independence" plot, saying their separatist activities "damage the fundamental interests of all ethnic groups in Tibet" and are doomed to fail.
Last month, President Xi Jinping vowed a focus on long-term, comprehensive stability and an unswerving anti-separatism battle in Tibet at a key work meeting.