The Chinese government has approved the construction of the first railway linking the Tibet Autonomous Region with the rest of China.
The 1,118-kilometer railway will extend from Lhasa in Tibet to Gormo in Qinghai Province in northwest China. It will be the longest and most elevated railway built on highlands in the world.
Feasibility studies and planning of the construction of the railway are now underway. The construction of the railway will start as soon as possible.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin said that the construction of the railway is highly necessary.
Premier Zhu Rongji said that the time was ripe for building the Qinghai-Tibet railway. He said that the railway will have great significance for accelerating economic and social development in Tibet, increasing economic and cultural exchanges between Tibet and the rest of the country and reinforcing unity among various ethnic groups.
More than 960 kilometers, or over four-fifths of the railway will be built at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters. And more than half of it will be laid on earth that has been frozen for a long time.
China has been considering building the Qinghai-Tibet railway for over five decades. The rapid economic growth and technological advance over the past two decades have given the country enough national strength to complete the project.
(People's Daily 02/09/2001)