People pose for photos at the Potala Palace in Lhasa to celebrate Serfs' Emancipation Day in the Tibet autonomous region on March 28, 2021. [Photo by Tentsen Shinden/For China Daily] People in the Tibet autonomous region celebrated the 62nd anniversary of the start of Tibetan democracy on Sunday. Since 2009, March 28 has been celebrated in the region as Serfs' Emancipation Day, marking the start of democratic reform in 1959 that ended the feudal serf system and freed 1 million serfs, or 90 percent of the region's population at the time. Tibet will keep pace with other parts of the country in completing the building of a moderately prosperous society and embarking on a new journey toward socialist modernization, Qizhala, chairman of the regional government, said in a televised speech on Saturday night. He said the democratic reform six decades ago saw Tibet make a big leap forward in its development-not by one step but by a thousand. Now, thanks to poverty alleviation efforts, the region's 3.5 million people are beginning to enjoy moderately prosperous lives, Qizhala added. He said Tibet is now connected to the rest of the country by rail, air and road, and water supply, electrical power and the internet have entered villages and households. The region is no longer an isolated, dark and backward place," Qizhala said. Many Tibetans living at extremely high altitudes, above 4,800 meters, have relocated to more inhabitable places. "The average life expectancy of the region increased from 35.5 before the democratic reform in 1959 to 71.1 in 2020," Qizhala said.