“Tibet: China’s policy paper on Tibet”. Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. May 2004 – “The “17-Article Agreement” provides that “According to the ethnic policy in the Common Program of the CPPCC, under the unified leadership of the Central People’s Government, the Tibetan people shall have the right to exercise regional ethnic autonomy.” According to the provisions of the “17-Article Agreement,” the Preparatory Group of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region was established in November 1954, and began preparations for the establishment of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region. In March 1955, the State Council held a special meeting to deliberate and adopt the “Decision of the State Council on Establishment of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region,” which expressly stipulates that “The Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region shall be responsible for preparatory work for the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and an organ with the nature of a political power and accountable to the State Council, its principal task being to prepare for the exercise of regional ethnic autonomy in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the ’17-Article Agreement’ and the actual situation of Tibet.” In April 1956, the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region was established in Lhasa, with the 14th Dalai Lama as the chairman, the 10th Panchen Lama the first vice-chairman and Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme the secretary-general. The establishment of the Preparatory Committee enabled Tibet to have a consultative work organ with the nature of a political power, and vigorously promoted the realization of regional ethnic autonomy in Tibet.
— The Democratic Reform cleared the way for regional ethnic autonomy in Tibet. When Tibet was peacefully liberated, in consideration of the reality of Tibet, the “17-Article Agreement,” while confirming the necessity for reform of the Tibetan social system, provided that “The Central Government will not use coercion to implement such a reform, and it is to be carried out by the Tibetan local government on its own; when the people demand reform, the matter should be settled by way of consultation with the leading personnel of Tibet.” But in face of the ever-growing demand of the people for democratic reform, some people in the upper ruling strata of Tibet, in order to preserve feudal serfdom, and supported by imperialist forces, staged an armed rebellion all along the line on March 10, 1959, in an attempt to separate Tibet from China. On March 28 of the same year, the State Council announced the dismissal of the original local government of Tibet, and empowered the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region to exercise the functions and powers of the local government of Tibet, with the 10th Panchen Lama as its acting chairman. The Central People’s Government and the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region led the Tibetan people in quickly quelling the rebellion, implemented the Democratic Reform, overthrew the feudal serfdom under theocracy, and abolished the feudal hierarchic system, the relations of personal dependence, and all savage punishments. As a result, a million serfs and slaves were emancipated, and became masters of the country as well as of the region of Tibet, acquired the citizens’ rights and freedom specified in the Constitution and law, and swept away the obstacles, in respect of social system, to the exercise of regional ethnic autonomy.”