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Vice-premier Hails Achievements in Building Qinghai-Tibet Railway

Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan Sunday praised the fruits achieved in building the world's highestQinghai-Tibet Railway in the past year, which witnessed major breakthroughs in tackling frozen earth, environmental problems andmedical security for workers.  

In 2003, the construction team moved further upward to an altitude of 5,000 meters above sea level to build the most arduousTanggula Mountain section of the railway.  

The past year has seen the fulfillment of 21 projects among allthe 32 key and tough projects along the railway. The length of thetracks has reached 347 kilometers, accounting for 30 percent of the railway's total.  

The gigantic construction project also boasted a "world miracle" because no workers have died of altitude disease since it started two years ago.  

The builders have been challenged by tough technical and healthproblems like highland cold, frozen earth, oxygen shortage and high altitude disease. In addition, any violent movements on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as "the roof of the world", could prove to be very dangerous.  

Lu Chunfang, general director of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Construction Headquarters, attributed the "zero death" miracle to the sound medical and logistics measures taken to protect the workers.  

He said the construction headquarters and construction units have invested about 200 million yuan (US$24 million) to buy medical equipment like oxygen-producing facilities, high-pressure cabins and anti-anoxia medicines.  

Zeng Peiyan called for further efforts in improving construction and living conditions for workers, preventing high altitude diseases and major epidemics, and protecting the ecological environment on the plateau. 

(Xinhua News Agency December 8, 2003)

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