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Radio, TV Reach Administrative Villages in Tibet

Recalling the time twenty years ago when he carried the hulking box from village to village and showed people something named "color TV", He Ren of Tibet TV Station feels bitter-sweet.


When Tibet TV Station celebrates its 20th anniversary this September, TV and radio coverage has reached every corner of the plateau.


Currently, all the 7,333 administrative villages in China's Tibet Autonomous Region have access to radio and TV, thanks to a nationwide radio and TV coverage extension project launched in 1998.


The Chinese government started the project in Tibet in 1999 and has invested a total 180 million yuan (22.2 million US dollars) to expand TV coverage to every village.


However, with an average altitude higher than 4,000 meters, the sparsely-populated "roof of the world" is the most difficult area in which to carry out the project.


"Our staff risked their lives to achieve today's goal", said Gaisang Puncog, head of the technical department of Tibet regional radio and TV bureau.


He said it is common for his staff to walk long miles to villages that cannot be reached by vehicles. "They even eat snow and solid food on the way," he added.


Now TV has become an integral part of people living on the plateau.


Dawa Cering, an entrepreneur in southern Tibet's Naidong County, said he got the idea of opening a vermicelli processing plant from watching TV. "The information about demand and supply of different goods was very useful."


He has also started to grow fungus, earning over 10,000 yuan (1,233 US dollars) a year.


With the acceleration of radio and TV coverage expansion, Tibetan language programs are becoming increasingly welcomed. Dubbed films have attracted the most Tibetan viewers in recent years. News items of China Central Television (CCTV) now are broadcast in the Tibetan language with no time lag.


"Now the Tibet TV Station has two satellite TV channels and one cable TV channel. The TV programs broadcasted are as long as the whole day," said Hand Hui, head of Tibet TV Station.


Zhang Chongyin, director of the regional radio and TV bureau, said the provincial government will work to diversify TV programs for rural viewers and enable them to access five to eight TV channels.


(Xinhua News Agency October 2, 2005)

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