Experts laud Tibet’s progress
from upward of 30 countries and regions attended the twoday forum on Thursday and Friday.
Hosted by the State Council Information Office and the Tibetan regional government, the forum focused on entrepreneurship and industrial modernization in Tibet, preserving tradition, environmental protection, regional infrastructure and poverty relief.
Russian editor Maksim Belov of the Beijing-based China Pictorial magazine described the development of Tibet as almost beyond imagining. He said amazing achievements had been made in the education and health systems despite the harsh climate and rough terrain, meaning Tibetans, including those who live in rural areas, enjoy satisfactory living conditions.
Stefano Vernole, a researcher with Italy’s Eurasia-Mediterranean Study Center, said modern Tibet is completely different from how it was in 1950s. He said the Tibetan people have freedom, equality, dignity and enjoy the fruits of modern civilization. Development and progress in the region reflect the common aspirations of all ethnic groups in Tibet, he added.
Farhana Paruk, a researcher at the University of South Africa, said economic and social development has turned Tibet from a rural community into a developed region, creating a better standard of living for average Tibetans.
In 2015, per capita disposable income of urban residents in the region was 25,457 yuan ($3,807), compared with 565 yuan in 1978, and that of farmers and herdsmen last year was 8,244 yuan, representing an average annual increase of 12 percent, according to government statistics.
Some foreign experts also made suggestions for the future development of Tibet.
Christine Davis, vice-president of the US Asia Society, said Tibet could play an important part in the Belt and Road Initiative since it connects other provinces in China with South Asia, Central Asia and other regions.
Thanong Khanthong of the Thailand National TV Station, said the government should put more emphasis on sustainable tourism. “This will not only increase the incomes of Tibetans but will promote regional economic growth,” he said.
My trip to Tibet was very enlighte n i n g . I have been to China many times before, but this is the first time I have been to Tibet. I think it’s very important and very good for outsiders to be invited in, to see things with their own eyes, and to ask questions, and to reflect, and to be able to go back to our homes, and our organizations and share what we’ve seen. And maybe we will have more questions, but it begins the dialogue, which is very important. So it’s wonderful to see China doing that, starting to do that here in Tibet. It is developing so fast. I did not realize that Tibet was developing this much. … I knew that there was a desire under the Belt and Road Initiative to do more in this part of China, but I did not realize it has been going on for many years. And as you know, when China starts to develop it goes very quickly.
The forum was a great success, and I think similar forums should be held every y e a r, as Tibet is in dire need of such a platform so foreign countries and peoples can know more about it. We should make more efforts to let the world know about Tibet, including its culture and social and economic development. Tibet is now at the best stage of development in its history, including economic growth, education and people’s livelihoods.
I h av e been to Tibet four times since I became interested in it. As an American we are basically subject to the very one-sided propaganda view of Tibet, by the Free Tibet Movement, and the Dalai Lama, although he claims to be objective. The more time I spend in China, the more I see that a lot of the claims that are made are false.
Forum participants visit the library of Tibet University during the two-day event.
The Forum on the Development of Tibet held last week in Lhasa attracted more than 60 foreign participants.