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Foreigners Marvel at Social Order in Tibet
Sarah Jacoby, a female student from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, has led a busy and substantial life at the Tibet University over the past six months.

She attended class during the day and strolled in streets of Lhasa at night to see the life of local people. This is her second visit to Tibet and she had learned to speak Tibetan.

"When I was in the United States I dared not go outside at night because lots of people have guns. But I felt it is safe in Tibet and often had a walk around by myself after dark," she said.

A New Zealand student studying in Tibet, Maria Stuart, shared her view, saying, "Both the scenery and social order in Tibet are excellent."

Luc Comhaire, a Belgian expert working at a Sino-Tibetan medical cooperation project, said, "Life in Tibet is comfortable and substantial. I can't see any problem in safety here."

Good social order has boosted development of tourism in the region, said Jinme, head of the Marketing Sector of the Regional Tourism Bureau.

Statistics showed tourists to Tibet increased at an annual rate of 20 percent over the past five years. The region played host to 680,000 Chinese and foreign visitors in 2001, generating 700 million yuan in profit annually.

An opinion poll recently conducted by the Tibet Regional Academy of Social Sciences showed 80 percent of the Tibetan people consider the region enjoys a good social order and they have a sense of security.

Cering Puncog, a sociologist with the Tibet Regional Academy of Social Science, said that in old Tibet, some people had to steal and rob to survive. With the growth of economy in the Tibet Autonomous Region, there were fewer and fewer people involving crimes.

The Bargor Street in Lhasa, the regional capital, is a busy shopping center as well as a favorite place of pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists. It has become a barometer of social stability since a handful of separatists rioted in the street in late 1980s.

Wang Xiaoping, director of the Police Station in Bargor Street, estimated more than 60,000 people coming to the street each day. Many Buddhists kept chanting and praying till late at night. "Only 13 disputes occurred in the street last year. Most were quarrels arising from business entanglements."

The night fair on the 600-meter Doxing Street, another commercial center in Lhasa, attracts numerous visitors. Many don't leave the snack food booths until the next morning.

"I have never seen any case of robbery or theft since I set up a booth on the street four years ago," said Ma Zhenbiao, a man of Hui Nationality selling kabob in the street.

Bomi Qambalozhub,81, said the number of temples in Tibet is 300 more than the figure in 1959 and they keep on good terms with the local government.

Gesang, a young Tibetan man, said people of all ethnic groups in Tibet are dedicated to economic development. Minor disputes are likely to be settled with a polite apology.

In vast rural and pastoral areas, residents kept their doors unlocked when they leave home. The number of guard dogs has declined.

To date, there are 2,300 criminals in prison, or about 0.9 per thousand of the region's total population, much lower than the national average rate, said Meng Deli, director of the regional Department of Justice.

Reoffending by released prisoners in the past decade was about four percent, three percent less than the national average rate.

There were no cases of crimes in Baingoin and Rutog Counties for several years.

Tonga Crown Prince Tupouto'a said, "I can see from the faces of Tibetan people that they are satisfied with their present living conditions."

(Xinhua News Agency March 29, 2002)

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