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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

China says to boost incomes in restive Tibet areas

October 17, 2008

October 16, 2008

BEIJING, Oct 16 (Reuters) - China has pledged to boost incomes and
infrastructure in remote Tibetan areas where resentment over wealth
gaps are blamed in part for sparking deadly rioting earlier this
year, state media said on Thursday.

Violent protests broke out in Lhasa, capital of Tibet, in March, then
spread to ethnic Tibetan areas of neighbouring provinces in the
biggest challenge to Chinese rule in years.

China blamed the Dalai Lama and his "clique" for the unrest, claims
which the Tibetan spiritual leader denied, saying that he only
supported greater autonomy for the region.

Authorities were set the task of boosting urban and rural incomes in
Tibet and ethnic Tibetan areas of neighbouring provinces of Qinghai,
Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu to "match or approach the average" in
western China by 2012, the official People's Daily said in a report
on its website.

"By 2020 ... urban and rural incomes should approach the national
average," the paper said, citing notes from a meeting of China's
cabinet, the State Council, chaired by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.

"Environmental protection, livelihoods and the economies of these
regions have improved ... but in their cold, oxygen-thin areas, the
environment is fragile, natural disasters numerous, infrastructure
weak, and self-development capacity is not strong," it added.

After a massive security operation to quell unrest after the riots,
the Chinese government has announced projects to boost economic
development, including spending more than $3 billion by 2013 on
mining and industrial zones.

The cabinet meeting emphasised that development in Tibet would remain
key policy.

"Realistically solve the long-term sustenance of nomadic herders who
have switched industries and employment," it said.

China, which has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since marching troops
into the region in 1950, says its development plans, including
mining, forestry projects and settling nomadic farmers into fixed
housing have boosted prosperity.

But many Tibetans feel the benefits are being shared unequally and
say industrialisation of the Himalayan plateau is destroying
traditional culture and ways of life.

Chinese delegates and Dalai Lama aides plan an eighth round of talks
on easing tension in Tibet later this month, a special envoy to the
Dalai Lama said last week, warning that the issue had reached a "cross-roads".

The Dalai Lama, who is recovering from surgery to remove gallstones
last week, has called for a special meeting of Tibetan exiles in
November or December to discuss the unrest in Tibet and the future of
the Tibetan movement. (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Macfie)
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