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China Improves Tibetan Life & Livelihood

In recent years, the central government--together with the local governments of various provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities--has invested huge sums of money in improving the quality of life and work for residents of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

A power grid project that started in 2002 with an estimated investment of nearly 600 million yuan (US$72.3 million) has brought electricity to 400,000 people in 25 counties and four prefectures around Lhasa City.

Last year Tibet earmarked more than 900 million yuan (US$108.4 million) for rural road construction. It also had 2,998 kilometers of rural highways built or upgraded and 101 large and medium-sized bridges constructed. Now highways extend to 92 percent of the towns and townships and to 70 percent of the villages in the region.

A five-year pasture conservation and herder settlement program has led to the construction of more than 110,400 square meters of permanent housing for 8,000 herders from 19 frigid zones in the region. Another 820,080 square meters of livestock sheds and 11,000 square meters of grass storage area have been erected.

Phase One of a 560-million-yuan (US$67.5 million) drinking water project has brought clean water to 330,000 people and 3.9 million head of livestock in 1,870 Tibetan villages. The ongoing second phase will provide reliable drinking water supplies to 270,000 people and 3.1 million head of livestock in another 1,336 villages.

At the end of 2003, the upgrading of downtown Lhasa's road and drainage network was completed at a cost of 169 million yuan (US$20.4 million). The project involved working around a square kilometer of ancient structures in the Tibetan capital, with Jokhan Temple at the center.

The upgrade included paving the roads with granite blocks, putting up parking lots and constructing public toilets. Sewage and rubbish treatment stations have been built and attractive streetlights installed around the temple and nearby scenic spots.

The regional radio and television bureau reports that radio broadcasts reach 82.7 percent of the total population in Tibet, while TV coverage has reached 81.3 percent.

In 2003, the region invested 47.0 million yuan (US$5.7 million) in creating jobs for urban residents. With this support, 8,829 Tibetan people, including more than 5,000 who had been laid off, have found jobs.

Local telecom officials said that on the 1.2 million square kilometer Tibetan Plateau there are now 61 optical fiber cables for county-level use and more than 400 satellite phone stations. Telecommunication service coverage has risen above 90 percent and about 85 percent of all the villages in Tibet enjoy phone services.

(Xinhua News Agency May 8, 2004)

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China Tibet Information Center
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