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Hefty govt investment in Tibet from 2006-2010

July 30, 2010

Xinhua (People's Republic of China)
July 28, 2010

LHASA, July 27 (Xinhua) -- China's central
government spent 137.8 billion yuan (20.3 billion
U.S. dollars) to boost Tibet's development from
2006 to 2010, the regional government said Tuesday.

The money funded 188 key projects covering
infrastructure building, urban development,
environmental protection and cultural
conservation, the regional government said in a press release.

Among them were eight new projects including a
highway linking Lhasa's city center with the Gonggar Airport, it said.

The initial plan for Tibet's development from
2006 to 2010 included 180 projects with a total
investment of 109.76 billion yuan, and eight new
projects were approved this year to accelerate regional growth.

The plan helped 80 percent of Tibet's villages to
be connected by road, provide safe drinking water
for all its 2.76 million people and free
education up to high school level for all children.

The funding also helped build power plants and
telecommunications facilities in remote villages.

Aimed at improving living conditions in Tibet's
rural areas, the plan funded the building of
15,000 new homes for Tibetan farmers and herders, and 95 village hospitals.

It also financed construction of Tibet's fourth
airport, the Gunsa Airport in the northern Ngari
Prefecture that opened on July 1, and a
100,000-kilowatt photovoltaic plant in Ngari.

Though it had reported fast growth over the
years, Tibet remains one of China's most
underdeveloped regions due to its tough natural
conditions and a weak economy, and relies heavily
on investment from the central government.

The central government launched an aid program in
Tibet in 1994, under which officials and
professionals from other parts of the country are
encouraged to work in the plateau region.

In the first half of this year, Tibet's GDP grew
by 11.2 percent from the same period last year to
reach 20.32 billion yuan (about 3 billion U.S. dollars).

Padma Choling, chairman of the regional
government, said Tibet's economy had been
restored to the level it was before March 2008
when riots disrupted social and economic development.
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