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Loans a Boost to Tibet Development

The central government is to provide Tibet with 6 billion yuan (US$ 740 million) in subsidized credits. The funds will help the region's key infrastructure construction, and basic and pillar industries.

The announcement was made on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the founding of Tibet Autonomous Region by the China Development Bank (CDB), at the opening ceremony of its Lhasa Representative Office.

"The support of infrastructure construction and key industries in Tibet has been listed as an important strategic task for the CDB," said CDB Governor Chen Yuan at yesterday's ceremony.

The CDB, a development-oriented financial institution, has issued an accumulated total of 2.4 billion yuan (US$296 million) in subsidized loans to key projects in Tibet since the bank's establishment in 1994, according to Chen.

The central government has rendered 96.87 billion yuan (US$12 billion) in investment or subsidies to Tibet in the past 40 years.

The 117 construction projects in Tibet arranged by the central government in 2001, including the Qinghai-Tibet Railway project, have been proceeding smoothly and most of them have entered the final stage.

Prior to the latest 117 projects, another 105 infrastructure projects financed by a nation-wide aid programme 43 since 1984 and 62 since 1994 have all been turned over to the region to operate. These included power stations, hotels, schools, hospitals, gymnasiums, cultural centers, department stores, workshops, highways and railways.

Earlier, Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top political advisory body, addressed a conference of local officials.

"Tibet's unprecedented achievements in the past 40 years show the superiority of the regional autonomy system for minority nationalities, and of a series of policies for Tibet development adopted by the Communist Party of China and the State," said Jia, calling local officials to make more efforts to narrow the development gap between hinterlands and urban areas in order to assure the continuous improvement of the Tibetan people's standard of living.

Jia, also head of central authorities delegation to Tibet to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, suggested specific measures which should be taken:

Priority should be given to agriculture, rural areas and farmers in order to increase income of farmers and herdsmen;

Strengthening of infrastructure construction and ecological development;

Improving industries with local characters;

Promoting social welfare;

Deepening reform and opening-up.

In order to improve the living conditions of local farmers and herdsmen, Jia said, the central government has decided to distribute 395,000 solar cookers to them as anniversary gifts.

Today, at the foot of the Potala Palace in Lhasa capital of the autonomous region there will be a grand rally to celebrate the anniversary. More than 20,000 people from all walks of life will participate in the large gathering.

(China Daily September 1, 2005)


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