Internet Links "Shangrila" With World

Internet cafes are becoming increasingly popular in Zhongdian, an obscure plateau town in deepest China, linking ethnic people with the outside world.

Located in the northwestern corner of southwest China's Yunnan Province, Zhongdian is the capital of Diqing Tibet Autonomous Prefecture.

In recent years, experts have suggested that this small and secluded town 3,500 meters above sea level has been an epitome of the legendary Shangrila.

Zhaxi, a Tibetan middle school student who touched the net half a year ago, said that the Internet provides an amazing world for him.

"I can not stop visiting the world," he said.

A Tibetan businessman who is involved in the mushroom trade said that the Internet can provide him with accurate and the latest information about the market.

A local telecom official said that the county's telecom bureau has been able to register 900 Internet users since early 1999.

Meanwhile, tourists visiting the mysterious land can use the Internet to tell their friends about their tour here, the official said.

The Internet has shortened the distance between this remote plateau and the outside world, he added.

Statistics show that more than 1.8 million domestic and overseas tourists visited Diqing last year.

(Xinhua 11/20/2000)

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