Join our Mailing List

"For a happier, more stable and civilized future, each of us must develop a sincere, warm-hearted feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood."

Tibet Watch publishes Special Report entitled 'Perversities of Extreme Dependence and Unequal Growth in the TAR'

August 24, 2007

Tibet Watch 28 Charles Square, London N1 6HT, UK Phone: +44 (0)20 7324 4612 Email:

Press Release 20 August 2007

Contact: Matt Whitticase:; tel: +44 (0)207 324 4612 (o)/mobile +44 (0)7904 063746

Tibet Watch publishes Special Report entitled 'Perversities of Extreme Dependence and Unequal Growth in the TAR'

Tibet Watch(1), a research-based organisation established in London in 2006, today published the first of a commissioned series of independent analyses by academic, Andrew Martin Fischer(2). The series will examine Chinese claims about specific aspects of conditions in Tibet through detailed study of statistics published by the state.

In this, the first of the series, Fischer examines the rapid growth that has been generated in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) through China's extremely heavy spending and investing strategies.

His analysis leads him to a number of insights into official Chinese claims that current development strategies are helping Tibetans: * Instead, statistics supplemented with observations from the ground reveal that, in reality, the majority of Tibetans are being increasingly marginalised from rapid growth.

* This is primarily because of their inability to access the state networks that control the subsidies and investment, which are the dominant sources of wealth in the economy.

* Government administration itself is one of the largest sectors of the economy although it employs a very small and possibly shrinking share of the Tibetan workforce.

* The other sectors of the economy where most growth is concentrated and which are more accessible to the general workforce, such as construction, or tourism, trade, commerce, and other urban services, are those that advantage workers and entrepreneurs with Chinese- fluency, Chinese work cultures, and connections to government or business networks with China.

* In contrast, illiteracy in the TAR was still at 45% in 2005 and the share of the population with secondary education or above was only about 12%. The latter share represents those Tibetans who might have some degree of Chinese fluency. For these reasons, most of the booming sectors of the economy remain dominated by non-Tibetan out-of- province companies and migrant workers from elsewhere in China, whereas the local Tibetans who are reaping large gains from recent growth are restricted to a small minority.

* Other local Tibetans might be experiencing some marginal gains through 'trickle down', although in this context, Fischer argues that we should be more concerned about rising inequality, particularly given the extreme state of external dependence and local disempowerment that characterises growth in the TAR.

Notes to Editor:

(1) Tibet Watch is a sister organization to Free Tibet Campaign. (2) Fischer, a Teaching Fellow at the London School of Economics, is a development economist researching Chinese development strategies in the ethnic minority areas of Western China, with his main focus on Tibet. He published the book State Growth and Social Exclusion in Tibet: Challenges of Recent Economic Growth with NIAS Press in 2005.

CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank