On 28 March 2010, China celebrates the anniversary of serf emancipation.

In May 1951, the Communist troops of Mao Zedong liberated Tibet which was ruled at the time by Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, allied to Chang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang.

The theocratic regime had subjected 90% of the population to feudal serfdom. The serfs were confined to the land owned by the monasteries, providing them with a fixed and permanent workforce. The punishment inflicted by the lamas on those trying to flee included eye gouging and pulling out of tongues.

The regime practiced torture but, in the name of non-violence, refrained from administering the death penalty outright. Maximum punishment consisted in flogging and abandoning the bleeding victim in the countryside to be finished off by the animals or the elements. The Dalai Lama had 6’000 serfs at his personal disposal.

On 28 March 1951, the Popular Republic of China abolished serfdom, liberating 5 million serfs.

However, in light of an agreement between Tenzin Gyatso and Mao Zedong, the reforms were interrupted and the feudal system co-existed with the Communist Party for ten years. It wasn’t until 1961 - after the rebellion organized by the CIA and Tenzin Gyatso’s escape - that the government stamped feudalism out and embarked on agrarian reform. It nationalized the land belonging to the monasteries and distributed it to the peasants; that is to say: to the former serfs.