Urbanization Arrives in Tibet

Urbanization has been accelerating in China's Tibet Autonomous Region, a formerly agriculture and animal husbandry dominating region.

Officials with the regional government said that Tibet now has two cities, 72 counties and prefectures, and 112 towns. The townships have covered an area of 147 square kilometers.

According to the latest national census, Tibet's urban population has reached 495,300, accounting for 18.9 percent of its total population.

Half a century ago, there was no cities in Tibet, and Lhasa was regarded as a small town.

The urban area of Lhasa, capital of Tibet, only covered a total area of three square kilometers with an urban population of over 30,000 fifty years ago.

Lhasa now is claimed to be a modern city on the "roof of the world" with a forest of new buildings and luxury hotels, restaurants and stores.

With the comprehensive development of Tibet's economy, life quality and incomes of the urban citizens have improved a lot.By the end of last year, Tibet's daily drinking water supply reached 320,000 stere.

Nowadays, 60 percent of cities and towns in Tibet have been supplied with tap water. Gas stoves and solar energy stoves are also widely used.

According to an article issued by "China's Tibet" in 1998, the per capita annual disposable income of Tibet's urban citizen amounted to 6,262 yuan, 15 percent over the national average level.

Records show that the per capita income of Tibet urban citizens is ranked first in China's western region and also ranked higher in the whole country, only next to Guangdong, Shanghai,Beijing, Zhejiang, Tianjin and Fujian.

In addition, Tibet's urban environment has been greatly improved.

Now 24.4 percent of Tibet's urban area is covered by grassland or forests, which means every citizen owns 10.27 square meters grassland.

Some counties now also put great value on architecture style. They have built some buildings with distinctive Tibetan features, making the cities more attractive.

Experts predict that with the implementation of China's west development strategy, Tibet's urbanization will be furthered.

(People's Daily November 16,2001)

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