Ex­perts laud Ti­bet’s progress

China Daily (Canada) - - TIBET -

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.

TANG BIN / TI­BET DAILY

Fo­rum par­tic­i­pants visit the li­brary of Ti­bet Univer­sity dur­ing the two-day event.

TENTSEN SHINDEN / TI­BET DAILY

The Fo­rum on the De­vel­op­ment of Ti­bet held last week in Lhasa at­tracted more than 60 for­eign par­tic­i­pants.

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