Tibet to Further Open to the World

Tibet will step up its reform and opening-up process to develop economy and better Tibetans' life, Tibet's top official Legqog said in Hong Kong Tuesday.

Legqog, chairman of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, stressed that the Chinese central government's strategy of developing the country's west has provided unusually good opportunities for Tibet.

"Based on the progress which has been made over the past years with the support of the central government, Tibet will seize the opportunities to further open to the outside world and integrate into the global economy," he said in a joint interview by the Hong Kong media.

Legqog was in Hong Kong for a four-day fair organized by the government of the autonomous region and China's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation to publicize Tibet and boost investment into the region.

Tibet has been insufficiently and sometimes mistakenly understood by the rest of the world for a long time as a result of its natural remote geographic position and cultural difference, which hinders Tibet's advancement, according to the chairman.

"Tibet's underdevelopment results from closeddoorism. We must let the rest of the world know Tibet. We will hold events like the fair in Hong Kong in other parts of the world," he said.

Tibet has drafted preferential policies in various aspects, including taxation, land use and administration, to encourage investment. Tibet's rich and special natural resources constitutes huge attraction for the outside world, Legqog said.

He put the policy to boost investment into a plain sentence that "You get rich, we get developed."

Investment is welcome in sectors including education, infrastructure, mineral resources, farming and husbandry, tourism, and projects in eco-industry and technological development, he said.

The fair presented some 138 investment projects, covering farming and husbandry, arts and crafts and traditional Tibet medicine.

While highlighting the desperate need to develop Tibet's economy, the chairman was firm in protecting the environment.

"Tibet is a such a clean land with its clear blue sky and purely white clouds that there you feel like being in a transparent world. We will never allow projects polluting the environment no matter how profitable they are," he said.

The chairman told the press that Tibet has achieved tremendous progress since its peaceful liberation nearly 50 years ago, especially since the Third Forum on the Development of Tibet held by the central government in 1994.

Over the past six years, the region's annual gross domestic product has increased by an average rate of 12.9 percent, higher than that of the national average.

The average life span has been raised to 67 from the 36 before the liberation.

At present, Tibet has over 3,800 schools with 350,000 students and more than 83 percent of the school-age Tibetan children receive education whereas, before the liberation, 95 percent of the Tibetan population were slaves, whose basic right of existence could not be guaranteed, let alone the right of education, Legqog said.

(Xinhua 10/17/2000)

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