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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

China pledges more investment, religious controls in Tibet

January 12, 2010

Jan 11, 2010

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese leaders have pledged to increase investment in
Tibet this year while keeping the restive region's Buddhist monks on a tight
leash, state media have reported, in an effort to use economic growth to
quell dissatisfaction.

Demonstrations in Lhasa that turned deadly on March 14, 2008 made the
Chinese central government more aware of the economic roots of unrest in
Tibet, although widespread demonstrations across the plateau were officially
blamed on separatists loyal to the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual

Economic growth for the remote region is targeted at 12 percent, and fixed
asset investment at 18 percent in 2010, regional governor Qiangba Pingcuo
announced this weekend, following estimated economic growth of over 12
percent in 2009.

Qiangba also said that the government planned to finish registering the
qualifications of all living Buddhas, monks and nuns, in a speech on
priorities for the upcoming year.

Tibet's monasteries are kept under a close watch by Chinese authorities,
since the monks and nuns have often called for more freedoms for Tibetans as
well as maintaining links to the exile community.

Tibet's economy has grown more quickly than the rest of China, sped by the
completion of a railway to Lhasa and large mining projects, but those
projects have also brought more Chinese migrants to Tibet, leading to many
Tibetans' perceptions that they have been left out of economic growth.

Since the demonstrations, the government boosted training programs and
subsidies to raise employment in Lhasa, the Xinhua news agency said in a
separate report Monday, which also implicitly recognized the economic roots
to the unrest.

The new investment targets helped lift Tibet-related stocks on Chinese stock
markets Monday. Engineering and construction firm Tibet Tianlu jumped by
over 7 percent on Monday, while Tibet Tourism and agriculture-to-Internet
conglomerate Tibet Galaxy rose by 10 percent.

The train line to Lhasa, which officially opened in mid-2006, has enabled
large-scale mining projects in Tibet, including the Yulong copper deposit,
under development by Western Mining and Zijin Mining Group Co Ltd. Spurs to
other Tibetan cities are expected to be completed this year.

The Tibetan demonstrations were followed by far more violent riots in July
2009 in Urumqi, capital of another ethnically distinct region where locals
feel they are not benefiting from China's economic development.
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