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Tibet regional chairman: Tibet people real beneficiaries of reform, development

2008-04-11
BEIJING, April 9 (Xinhua) -- People of various ethnic groups living in Tibet have benefited from reform and development, said Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet autonomous regional government, here on Wednesday.

    "They are real beneficiaries," he stressed, citing figures of Tibet's development to refute the Dalai Lama's claim that the benefits of Tibet's development has been taken away by Han people and "cultural genocide".

    "The Dalai Lama's claims are lies to instigate antagonism between various ethnic groups and to cheat the international community," he said.

    Tibet has registered an annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of over 12 percent for seven consecutive years. In 2007, the region's GDP reached 34.2 billion yuan (about 4.88 billion U.S. dollars) with 12,000 yuan per capita, he said at a news conference.

    In the past five years, the central government has subsidized Tibet with 94.7 billion yuan and invested 60.1 billion in infrastructure construction, he said.

    Currently, the average life expectancy of people in Tibet has increased to 67 from 35.5 in the 1950s.

    He stressed the total population of Tibetans has risen to 2.5 million, accounting for 95 percent of total regional population, from 1.2 million in 1964.

    The average income of farmers and herdsmen reached 2,788 yuan last year after maintaining a double-digit growth rate for five straight years, he said.

    He said "after the March 14 riots in Lhasa, the various ethnic groups in Tibet will have a deeper understanding that stability will bring them fortune while turbulence will only bring them misfortune."

    "The Dalai clique's attempts to seek Tibetan independence through disruption of the Beijing Olympics is doomed to fail," he stressed.

    "No matter what happened, our determination to safeguard unification of the motherland, unity of various ethnic groups and social stability will remain unchanged," he said, stressing "nothing can shake this stance and determination,"

    "We firmly believe that the Beijing Olympics will be a success," he said.

    By the end of 2007, 612 townships had been connected by roads, accounting for 89.6 percent of all townships in Tibet Autonomous Region, and all townships had been linked with telephones.

    The government also took measures to solve the drinking water difficulties and ensure drinking water safety for 1.02 million farmers and herdsmen.

    By now, over 110,000 households with 590,000 farmers and herdsmen have moved into new houses since the Tibetan regional government has launched a program in 2006 to build homes for 220,000 local farming and herding households by 2010.

    Tibet also took the lead in adopting the free nine-year compulsory education, both in rural and urban areas.

    About 230,000 needy farmers and herdsmen with an annual income lower than 800 yuan are all covered by the minimum living allowance system, he said.

    In the past 20 years, the government has invested over 700 million yuan to renovate monasteries and cultural relics.

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