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10:50 Mar 30 2009

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China publishes report on Tibet's economic, social development
10:40, March 30, 2009  

The Beijing-based China Tibetology Research Center published a comprehensive report on Tibet's economic and social development on Monday, in which it outlined the region's changes over the past 50 years through facts and figures.

The authors, all scholars having long been engaged in Tibetan studies, compiled the report from in-person surveys and case studies after two trips to Tibet last year.

The authors said in the report's foreword that their goal was to give a comprehensive view of the economic and social development of contemporary Tibet and a reference for policy makers to work on the region's further development.

Tibet's per capita gross domestic product (GDP) was 13,861 yuan (2,029 U.S. dollars) last year, a giant leap from the 142 yuan recorded in 1959 when the Chinese central government began democratic reform there, the report said.

Although the 2008 figure was still much less than the national average of 22,698 yuan, the report said the fact should be taken into account that the region's economic growth started from a very low level.

The report attributed the robust economic development to the central government's fiscal transfer payment and input for various projects in the region, as well as assistance from more-developed inland provinces and cities.

From 1959 to 2008, transfer from the central fiscal account to Tibet amounted to 201.9 billion yuan. From 2001 to 2008 alone, transfers totaled more than 154.1 billion yuan, which made up 93.7percent of the region's financial revenue in the period.

"This means that for every 100 yuan that Tibet spent, more than90 yuan came from the central government," the report said.

In infrastructure, a 51,300-km network of highways had connected every Tibetan county as of the end of last year. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the 1,956-km rail link that began to run on the "roof of the world" in 2006, did much to spur growth in tourism, cars, housing, catering and entertainment.

The telecommunication sector in Tibet also registered unprecedented progress in the past half century, with the number of telephones rising from 276 in the whole region in 1959 to 55 for every 100 people now. With some 800 websites, its Internet population has also neared 200,000, according to the report.


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