Zhang Qingli, Communist Party chief of the Tibet Autonomous Region, said Wednesday that
priority should be given to protect the fragile environment in the
region, emphasizing it will be nearly impossible to recover once
Zhang, also a deputy to the National People's Congress, said
Tibet is experiencing newly-emerging environmental problems
including pasture degradation, desertification, sandstorms, and
"Environmental protection is a prerequisite to economic growth,
which must not be achieved at the cost of nature," he said.
Zhang noted the regional government will launch major programs
to protect natural reserves, tackle pasture degradation and
desertification, and step up efforts on the supervision of the
The environment on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, source to major
Asian rivers and one of the world's most important species gene
bank, has attracted global attention since the 1,956-km-long
Qinghai-Tibet railway went into operation in July 2006.
He said central and local governments countrywide have invested
huge amounts of money in environmental protection in the region
since the construction of the railway began.
(Xinhua News Agency March 8, 2007)