Ti­bet sees dou­ble-digit GDP growth for 26 years in a row

Po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, so­cial, eco­log­i­cal progress ex­plained

Global Times - Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Li Ruo­han

The GDP of South­west China’s Ti­bet Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion grew about 10 per­cent in 2018, the 26th straight year its econ­omy has recorded dou­ble-digit growth.

Ti­bet’s GDP in 2018 was es­ti­mated to be more than 140 bil­lion yuan ($21 bil­lion), Qizhala, chair­man of the re­gional govern­ment, said in his govern­ment work re­port de­liv­ered Thurs­day at the se­cond ses­sion of the 11th Peo­ple’s Congress of Ti­bet Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion.

Lo­cal leg­is­la­tors also briefed huge de­vel­op­ment in so­cial, eco­log­i­cal and re­li­gious sec­tors in Ti­bet in 2018, as well as progress in women’s em­pow­er­ment.

A to­tal of 180,000 peo­ple in Ti­bet were taken off the list of the poor, de­fined as per capita an­nual in­come of 2,300 yuan at 2010 prices. The re­gional govern­ment also vowed to lift the last 150,000 peo­ple out of poverty and erad­i­cate ab­so­lute poverty this year, which marks the 60th an­niver­sary of demo­cratic re­forms in the re­gion.

Women mem­bers now form 27 per­cent of Ti­bet’s leg­is­la­ture and over 26 per­cent of the re­gion’s po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sory body.

The fig­ures starkly con­trast the sit­u­a­tion a half cen­tury ago, when “fe­males, even those from elite back­grounds, had no right to education, not to men­tion po­lit­i­cal rights,” Jampa Tse­shi, a re­gional po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sor in Ti­bet, was quoted as say­ing by the China News Agency on Thurs­day.

The big­gest change in Ti­bet dur­ing the past cen­tury is that res­i­dents now iden­tify them­selves as cit­i­zens, in­stead of slaves after the lib­er­a­tion from slav­ery in 1951, Xiong Kunxin, an eth­nic stud­ies pro­fes­sor at Ti­bet Uni­ver­sity in Lhasa, told the Global Times on Fri­day.

Sup­port by the State and Party pol­icy also em­pow­ered res­i­dents to strive for a bet­ter life, which also gave them a stronger sense of be­long­ing in the re­gion, said Xiong.

While ex­plain­ing the progress to the pub­lic, Ti­betan of­fi­cials also warned that the “hyp­o­crit­i­cal” side of the 14th Dalai Lama, who was re­garded as a sep­a­ratist and fled into ex­ile 60 years ago, should be clearly noted.

The 14th Dalai Lama ig­nored the re­mark­able progress made in such a short pe­riod and his re­marks that Ti­bet has “no hu­man rights and re­li­gious free­dom” are com­plete non­sense, said a com­men­tary pub­lished by Ti­bet Daily on De­cem­ber 13.

“No mat­ter what kind of noises the 14th Dalai Lama makes, his nar­ra­tive is los­ing the mar­ket and his sup­port in in­ter­na­tional so­ci­ety has hit a record low as the Chi­nese cen­tral govern­ment’s pol­icy in the re­gion has proven to be ben­e­fi­cial to res­i­dents,” Hu Shisheng, direc­tor of the In­sti­tute of South and South­east Asian and Ocea­nia Stud­ies in Bei­jing, told the Global Times on Fri­day.

As a re­sult of ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of so­cial and re­li­gious af­fairs, there are no ma­jor po­lit­i­cal ac­ci­dents or self-im­mo­la­tions in Ti­bet since the deadly March 14 riot in Ti­bet in 2008, Hu noted.

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