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Dalai Lama group's sabotage biggest obstacle to Tibet's development
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Sabotage from the Dalai Lama group remains the biggest obstacle in the way of Tibet's development, Lhasa Mayor Doje Cezhug said Friday.

Doje made the remarks at a panel discussion of lawmakers from Tibet.

Citing tourism as an example, Doje Cezhug said Tibet economy enjoyed a fast growth in 2007 and early 2008. But the violent riots on March 14 last year denied the autonomous region a good chance of development.

The riots resulted in the deaths of at least 18 civilians and one policeman. It also left businesses looted and houses torched.

Local economy, mainly driven by tourism, was "severely hurt" by the March riots last year, said Doje, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament.

Lhasa received 1.35 million tourists in 2008, down half from the previous year, and the tourism income dropped by 58.66 percent to 1.17 billion yuan (about 172 million US dollars).

"We were also faced with other difficulties such as halt of factory production and investment outflow and shrink because of investors' panic after the riot," said the mayor.

Doje noted that the city has taken a series of measures to restore normal economical and social order, including reinforcing social public security and promoting tourism by tax cut and tax exemption policies.

"We will strive to ensure economic growth, people's well-being and social stability this year," said the mayor.

(Xinhua News Agency March 6, 2009)

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