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Stability, Steady Growth Are Common Wish of Tibetans

Lhasa, in the view of local businesswoman Como, has changed daily over the past decade, except for the temples and the people worshipping in front of them with prayer wheels.

Como, who runs a store in the bustling Bargor Street, said that she was proud that the city, with its unique culture and history, has attracted a growing number of overseas tourists.

Tall buildings with Tibetan features, broad highways and a well-built infrastructure added modernity to the city. But "the March 14 violence has sabotaged the environment for Tibet's development," said Xinzha Dainzin Qoizha, a living Buddha and vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Regional People's Congress. "I couldn't understand why they did this."

Lonyi, who lives in Lanbani village, Qamdo County, said: "We have larger houses, more cars and cash. Everybody is happy. But without stability, we wouldn't have had all this."

The per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen in Tibet posted double-digit growth for a fifth consecutive year and reached 2,788 yuan (US$398) in 2007.

The economy has been growing at an annual rate of 12 percent or more over the past seven years. In 2007, the region's gross domestic product was 34.2 billion yuan, or 12,000 yuan per capita -- double the 2002 figure.

In 2006, the regional government launched a program to build homes for 220,000 local farming and herding households by 2010. More than 570,000 people have since moved into new residences and regional government spending has totaled 1.3 billion yuan. The per capita housing area for herders has reached 36.4 square meters, 16.8 sq. m. more than that before the project.

Tibet's development would not be guaranteed without social stability, said Xinzha Dainzin Qoizha.

"It was against Tibetans' will when some people caused unrest," said a Lhasa resident, Lozhoi Yexe. "Take a look at the burned homes and injured civilians, and you could hardly contain your indignation," he said.

Eighteen civilians and one police officer were killed in the Lhasa unrest, and 623 people -- including 241 police and armed police -- were injured. Damage is estimated at more than 244 million yuan.

(Xinhua News Agency April 2, 2008)

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