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Tibetans proud of regional progress
By Hu Xiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-29 05:37

LHASA: Amongst the colourful prayer flags, aroma of juniper incense and throngs of devout worshippers in Lhasa, the advent of a new Tibet is taking place and Yixi Dorje is proud to witness and be part of it.

The 37-year-old Tibetan calls himself a "white-collar" worker in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in Southwest China. "I am so glad to witness all the changes that are happening now, changes, I believe, for the continued betterment," said Yixi Dorje.

Just last month, he bought a 160-square-metre house with a 80-square-metre dooryard in a Lhasa suburb. He plans to move his family into their new home in October.

"Living in the new house will make my family, especially my aged parents, proud," he said, recalling the previous dark, low and damp house he lived in with his family as a child.

Yixi Dorje's new house is just a glimpse of the eye-catching development in Tibet.

At an exhibition on the development of Tibet which opened yesterday, documents, materials and photos highlighted the achievements in the region.

The week-long exhibition, the largest of its kind in Tibet since 1985, attracted more than 500 local residents from all walks of life and a 52-member delegation from the central authorities to Tibet, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The delegation, headed by Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the top political advisory body, will also attend a series of celebratory activities in the following days.

The Tibet Autonomous Region was founded on September 1, 1965.

Dramatic upheavals have taken place in the past four decades since the establishment of the region and some are beyond imagination.

"I think the exhibition misses one problem of new Lhasa the traffic jams," said Phuntsog, 45, a local farm worker who bought a car in 2001.

He said that with more and more private cars in Lhasa, traffic jams have become a real headache for drivers.

"Sometimes, the line can stretch for more than 500 metres which was unimaginable a few years ago. It is a good example of Tibet's development, isn't it?" he said tongue in cheek.

Figures show that Tibet's economy really is booming.

Statistics show that Tibet has sustained a GDP growth rate of 12.7 per cent for four years in a row, with the total GDP value amounting to 21 billion yuan (US$ 258 million) in 2004. The improvement in living standards has allowed more people to buy their own cars.

There were more than 43,000 private cars in Lhasa the regional capital by the end of June, which means one car for every 13 residents, with the number of new automobile registrations in Tibet increasing by 23 a day on average, according to the local public security bureau.

(China Daily 08/29/2005 page2)

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