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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibet's population growth may be faster than fastest in PRC

September 9, 2010

Tibetan Review
September 8, 2010

China says the population of Tibet Autonomous
Region (TAR) had reached more than 2.9 million at
the end of 2009, which it said was a 140%
increase over the figure of 1.228 million in
1959. Citing latest data released by Tibet's
Strategic Research Forum on Population
Development, China’s online Tibet news service Sep 6 claimed that most of this
increase was due to the growth in local Tibetan
population. However, no one knows the TAR’s
actual population as China deliberately does not
count non-resident immigrants there from China.

The report cited Tibet's Economic and Social
Development Report released in 2009 as saying the
local Tibetan population in TAR had increased
from one million in 1956 to 2.7 million in 2008.

And the report said the annual growth rate of
resident population in TAR over the past ten
years was above 10%, although the official Sep 9 said it was 1% per year as
against the PRC’s average of .5%.

The actual population as well as growth figures
are likely to be substantially higher, especially
after the launch of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in
2006, because of the massive influx of
non-registered Chinese immigrants. Of course,
growth in “local Tibetan” population includes
Chinese immigrants registered as residents in the TAR.

No official figure exists for the number of
non-registered Chinese immigrants in the TAR, as
recent groups of China-based Western reporters
brought to the region in tightly controlled tours
found out. However, as witnessed by them, they
totally dominate the cities and most of the towns in the TAR.

And as China continues its policy of
urbanization, development, and preferential
economic policies in the TAR, and publicly
encourage more Chinese to come to work or do
business there, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway will
continue to bring in ever more Chinese settlers.

The report said the life-span of Tibetans had
increased from 35.5 years in old times to 67
years. Maternal mortality rate was reported to
have dropped from 50% in the period of “Tibet's
peaceful liberation” to 3.1% in 2007, with infant
mortality rate over the same period having
dropped from 430% (sic) down to 24.5%. The report put these figures at 430
and 24.5, respectively, per 1,000. The population
above 60 years old was stated to be 200,000, or 10% of the total.

While all this may be true to an extent, the
reality remains that the TAR’s actual population
is definitely much higher than that officially
stated by the Chinese government and no one knows
by how much as this is a politically no-go area of query.
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