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China says Tibet to grow by 10 percent in 2009

China says Tibet to grow by 10 percent in 2009

Tibet should see its economy grow by 10 percent in 2009 following deadly riots last year, state media reported Wednesday, even though the region potentially faces more political turmoil.
Qiangba Puncog, the regional governor, gave the forecast in a report to the local legislative session that opened Wednesday, the official Xinhua News Agency said. By comparison, experts say overall economic growth in China may fall below 8 percent this year.
Tibet's economy grew by 10.1 percent last year, Xinhua said, quoting Puncog. Per capita income for farmers and herders rose 13.7 percent to 3,170 ($464) yuan, it said.
Economic growth in Tibet is a point of pride for the central government, which offers it as proof of its concern for Tibetans.
The government has invested billions building infrastructure, including the world's highest railway. But critics of Chinese rule in Tibet say the region remains one of China's poorest and say most of the benefits of economic development have gone to members of the Han Chinese majority, rather than to Tibetans.
Tibet's economy in 2008 "withstood challenges" such as deadly anti-Chinese riots that broke out in March _ the biggest anti-government protests in the region in decades _ and a harsh winter, Xinhua quoted Puncog as saying.
The riots caused China to cut off tourism for months to the Himalayan region, now popular among richer Chinese as well as foreigners, and to launch a military crackdown that saw the arrest of alleged instigators of the protests and their sentencing in speedy trials.
Protests could hit the region again this year because on March 10 Tibetans will mark the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising to oust their Chinese rulers. The 1959 demonstrations ended with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, fleeing into exile in India.
China says Tibet has always been part of its territory, while many Tibetans say their land was virtually independent for centuries.


Updated : 2020-12-02 18:18 GMT+08:00