Tibet's progress

UPDATED: 16:51, June 21, 2007

Six consecutive years of GDP growth above 12 percent. Double-digit increases in per capita net income for farmers and herdsmen four years in a row.

Such strides mean a lot to the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

As TAR Chairman Qiangba Puncog told a press yesterday in Beijing, the Tibetans owe a lot to stronger financial support from the central government as well as assistance from the rest of the country.

For more than 50 years, financial expenditures and investments in Tibet's infrastructure have relied mainly on central financial backup. As Qiangba Puncog explained, of every 10 yuan the local government spent, 9 came from the central government.

Handsome investment in local infrastructure over the decades is now upgrading the local economy and improving people's lives.

We see no harm from better roads, more convenient communications and broader availability of power supplies.

The Tibet ethnic groups' cultural identity will not be compromised by traveling by bus, talking on cell phones, or using electric rice cookers. The people of Tibet deserve the benefits and conveniences of all the modern technology the world has to offer.

We have seen from the rise of China's coastal belt the importance of solid infrastructure for an area's development. Tibet's infrastructure is among the poorest nationwide. So Beijing's investment in Tibet of 77.8 billion yuan ($9.6 billion) in 180 basic construction projects during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) is of far-reaching significance for the region's future.

Tibet needs a degree of economic development to improve people's lives. But single-minded pursuit of growth may do more harm than good, considering the extremely fragile ecology of the plateau.

We are glad to learn from Qiangba Puncog that local leaders agree with Beijing's concern for environmental preservation.

Blindly chasing GDP growth has resulted in devastating environmental consequences in many areas of our country. The same should not be repeated in Tibet.

It was wise for Tibet to focus on improving living conditions, rather than GDP figures.

Qiangba Puncog told the press that the blue sky and clear water of Tibet remain as clean as ever.

Source: China Daily

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