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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

State employees the biggest winners in Tibet’s collapsing tourism

February 16, 2009

(, Feb 13) – While China keeps saying that tourism in
Tibet was fast recovering and the situation there was stable, Reuters,
which was a part of a 19-member delegation of journalists from Chinese
and foreign media organizations taken on a rare and tightly controlled
four-day visit there, said Feb 12 that the ground reality was very
different. It said the mountain city was divided between migrants
looking to flee and locals short of work as tourism had collapse,
leaving state-linked employees the biggest winners.

The report noted that many workers and traders from other ethnic groups
who had moved to the remote region in search of a better living were
saying they were considering leaving for good, driven away by the
tourism slump and icy anger of local Tibetans. It said tourism has
plunged with just a trickle of Western visitors while greusome
television footage of the riots and stories of unrest in other
ethnically Tibetan areas deter Chinese visitors.

The Tibetan boycott of their New Year as a mark of mourning for the many
Tibetans killed by Chinese troops during last year’s uprising is adding
to the disappointment of the migrant Chinese traders. "Business has not
been good at all. People have less money and now many of them are not
planning to celebrate the New Year. They are not coming in to buy
anything for the house," the report quoted an ethnic Muslim fabric
seller from northwest China who had been in Lhasa four years as saying.
He has spoken of growing ethnic tensions ever since the Mar’08 Tibetan

"Before the Tibetans were friendly when they came in to buy things. Now
it's just about business, they don't even want to chat," he was quoted
as adding.

Failing tourism coupled with Chinese expulsion from Lhasa of all
Tibetans not registered as residents in the city in the wake of the
Mar’08 protests meant that Tibetan livelihood too suffered severely.

The biggest winners, the report noted, may be those who moved to Tibet
as officials or to work in state-linked jobs such as writing for
official magazines. They are offered salaries sometimes more than twice
hometown levels to tempt them to the plateau, it said. "For graduates we
can offer 2,400 yuan ($350) a month, while in (Sichuan provincial
capital) Chengdu they would only earn 1,000 yuan," it quoted one media
worker as saying.
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