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Tibetan Farmers Not Marginalized in Economic Progress

Tibetan farmers are not being marginalized amid the region's economic progress, a study by a Chinese researcher reveals.

Zhalo, a scholar of ethnic studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) think tank, said on Wednesday that a research program on Tibet's economic development was conducted in 120 Tibetan villages over the past eight years.

"We have found no marginalization of Tibetan farmers in the process," said Zhalo, himself a Tibetan.

He said Tibetan farmers' income was mainly from four sectors: traditional activities such as stock breeding and herb collecting and new ones like construction and service.

"In traditional sectors, the Tibetans nearly face no challenge at all," Zhalo told a press conference.

"We have been especially concerned about the Tibetans' involvement in the new sectors," he said. "We found that in the infrastructure construction sector, although the boss of a construction team might be from neighboring Sichuan Province, the workers were nearly all local Tibetans."

He attributed this to the fact that many Tibetans lacked the relevant knowledge and had to go through a learning process.

"However, the Tibetans are very good at learning," he said. "We've found in our research many Tibetan entrepreneurs with Han and Hui people working for them. The Tibetan people are well involved in different sectors and different levels."

(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2008)

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