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Experts hail fast growth of Tibet at expo forum

Source:chinadaily.com.cn 2023-06-21

By Daqiong and Palden Nyima in Lhasa 

A Nepalese trader poses for a photo at the 5th China Xizang Tourism and Culture Expo in Lhasa, capital of Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, June 18, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Tibet enjoys a prosperous and harmonious environment, featuring political and social stability, and strong economic development, said a top official of the autonomous region during a forum held in Lhasa on Saturday.

It also has ethnic unity, religious harmony, border consolidation and has seen improvement in people's livelihoods, said Wang Junzheng, Party secretary of the Tibet autonomous region. His views were echoed by foreign experts who attended the forum.

Wang highlighted the region's high-quality development, ecological conservation efforts, improved livelihood opportunities and scientific achievements on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in his keynote speech at the forum, which was held on the sidelines of the three-day 5th China Xizang Tourism and Culture Expo that started on Friday. Xizang is the name of Tibet in Chinese.

"Tibet will share new development opportunities and build an open cooperation platform, making friends from a wider community, taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative and transforming itself into an important gateway for opening up to South Asia," Wang said.

David Blair, deputy director of the Center for China and Globalization, a Beijing-based nongovernmental think tank, agreed, and said that investment in infrastructure and education has put Tibet in the position for fundamental economic growth and transformation.

"A key factor making this (transformation) possible is the massive investment in infrastructure by the Chinese government," Blair said, referring to the region's "excellent" rail, road and air transportation facilities.

He lauded China's efforts and "very large investment" to establish 4G and 5G communication networks in Tibet, which, he emphasized, has "greatly contributed" to the region's progress in trade and commerce.

"The investments made in Tibet, especially over the past 10 years, will enable the region to participate in the economic upgrade we are seeing in the rest of China," he said.

Blair said he had the opportunity to visit schools in Lhasa and other areas of Tibet, and was very impressed by the facilities and the way students were taught. "I was very impressed by their vocational education, which gave the students the skills they needed to get good, well-paying jobs (in the future)."

Some countries have criticized the fact that Tibetan students learn Mandarin in school. Blair dubbed such criticism as "simply absurd "and said that the students of any country must learn the official language of that country to have better access to opportunities.

Representatives from Mongolia, South Korea and provinces engaged in Aid-Tibet program, as well as domestic and foreign experts, attended the forum. They shared their views on the achievements of the Aid-Tibet program.

The Chinese government has been implementing a special aid program for Tibet since 1994 to help boost the region's social and economic development.

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