Why highway subjected to groundless surmise?

UPDATED: 17:49, June 22, 2007

The news on China's plan to build a road up to a base camp of Mount Qomolangma (known as Mt. Everest in the West) has drawn sustained media attention overseas. Quite a few Western media organs have voiced worries about the environment in their reports, whereas in India, China's giant neighbor to the southwest, there are also a lot of worries for the "security reason" in addition to those concerns about environment protection. Ranking officials of some Indian political parties openly claimed that China wants to erode Indian territories despite the irrefutable fact that the world's highest peak is located on the Sino-Nepalese border instead of being on the Sino-India border.

It has been learned that the construction would turn a rough, 108 km (67 mile) road stretching from a 5,200 meter base camp at the foot of Mount Qomolangma to the joint section of the No. 318th Chinese national highway with the China-Nepal highway. The road surface is at an average altitude of over 4,600 meters above the sea level, with a maximal altitude of 5,200 meter. A formal a single-lane gravel path with poor traffic norms, it neither ensures the Olympic Torch's journey to the summit of the Himalayas, nor guarantees the safe traffic for a growing number of travelers. Therefore, the Chinese government has allocated a special fund of 150 million yuan (some 20 million US dollars) to have it renovated or rebuilt. The improvement project plans to take four months and, its road surface will widen to six meters upon its completion in late October this year. The route will be asphalted and installed with wave-style railings for the sake of safety.

Such concerns and worries from overseas media units imply some sort of no-confidence in China, including misunderstanding and bias, and even jokes or some aliens' ulterior motives . A job of normal preparations for the 2008 Olympics has given rise to so many doubts and noise interferences, and this really merits our ponderation and serious approach so as to cope with them.

China will spend about 20 million US dollars on a project to pave 108 km (67 mile) rough and even route in Tibet, noted an Associate Press in a news dispatch, which is being built to ease the Olympic torch's journey to the base camp of the summit at 5200 meters above the sea level.

Taking the Olympic torch to the top of the mountain, it added nevertheless, has been seen as a way for Beijing to underscore its claims to Tibet. Meanwhile, the AP report asserted that some environmentalists express concerns and worries about the effect on the environment in the region.

Meanwhile, the "Guardian", a prestigious British newspaper published since 1821, acknowledged that China is said to construct a plateau highway across the world's most secluded region, which will be good for people's safety but would it somewhat discount the man's adventuring spirit?

the response of the India media, nevertheless, are fiercer. Some media moguls and leaders of a few political parties whipped up a noise on the "security issue" with an ulterior motive. The alleged that this move of China's was designed to beef up the country's presence in India-China border. Bharatiya Janata Party spokesman has been quoted as saying a statement that China, in planning to build a road up Mount "Everest", will not only bring the devastating consequences to the biological environment and, what is more serious, the country also has another intended scheme to enhance its control of the Sino-India border.

Furthermore, as an opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party also attacked the ruling National Congress Party and slammed its government for the failure to get somewhere in the case with respect to China's "whole plan and ambition".

Foreign media reports are seen to have misconceptions about China. The first questioner at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office Wednesday, or on June 20 was a Dutch TV reporter, who had been misinformed about the road to be built up to the base camp of the world's summit, said instead that Tibet has planned to build an expressway to Mountain "Everest" before 2008. On this question, Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet autonomous region government, had to give a flat denial.

At present, the 100 km-plus route from Dingri county to the base camp of Mount Qomolangma cannot be regarded as a road for it is rugged as it is strewn with rubble or crushed stones, on which any ordinary vehicles would fall to pieces except for only one or two types of special cross-country vehicles which are very solid and strong. To date, few people can be seen on the route, with most of them going mountaineering or for field surveys or researches but, within the limited number of outsiders, a big proportion is aliens, who are seen occasionally hiking by mountain bikes to the base camp of the summit.

Speaking of related doubts or censures, experts cites it as understandable for overseas media to have some worries as this typical Tibetan region, which boasts the No. 1 global peak, is a most sensitive area globally. As a matter of fact, these media units are so over-sensitive that they exaggerate the impact of this road on environment. The crux of mater, however, is not if an asphalted road is built or not but whether stringent measures will be taken in this regard when the road has completed.

In fact, the Chinese government has always attached great importance to the issue of Tibet's environment, the environment issue in Tibet has been prioritized either in road building or in the construction of any other projects as the local environment is so fragile, said Qiangba Puncog. Moreover, he noted, "As people of the Tibetan ethnicity, we Tibetans will live on this endowed land from generation to generation and, consequently, we will protect the environment on this vast expanse of land as our own eyes."

By People's Daily Online, and its authors Ren Yan and Chen Jihui, PD resident reporters in India, and Chen Yi, a PD special guest reporter.

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