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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."

Lhasa begins new district construction to protect relics

November 16, 2007

www.chinaview.cn
Xinhua is the official press agency of the Communist Party and the 
government of China

     LHASA, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Lhasa, capital of the Tibet 
Autonomous Region, is building a new district to divert the city's 
growing population and protect cultural relics that are currently 
downtown.

     The Liuwu New District, located at the southern bank of the 
Lhasa River facing the current downtown district, is to cover 42 
square kilometers, 70 percent of the size of the old urban area, with 
housing for 110,000 local residents, said Shi Wenjiang, head of the 
district government.

     Liuwu district is expected to take shape by 2009. The local 
government began the construction of four roads in the new district 
on Tuesday, at a cost of 114 million yuan.

     The new district will have a bridge linking the old downtown 
district about 10 kilometers northward as well as a highway to Gongga 
Airport, the largest in Tibet. The new district is also where the 
Lhasa Railway Station of the Qinghai-Tibet railway is located.

     "The new district will help ease the pressure on ancient 
buildings in the old downtown, caused by the increasing population in 
Lhasa over the past decade," said Shi.

     Situated 3,600 meters above sea level, greater Lhasa has seven 
counties and one district with a total area of 30,000 square km. It 
has a population of about 600,000, but nearly four-fifths of them 
live downtown in an area of only about 59 square km.

     The 1,300-year-old regional capital boasts many cultural relics 
related to Tibetan Buddhism, like the Potala Palace, which was listed 
as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1994.

     "With the economic development of Tibet, especially in tourism, 
more people are choosing to live in Lhasa and the limited area of the 
current downtown district can not meet the needs of development," 
said Shi.

     According to the official, the regional government plans to 
develop the new district into a high-tech industrial and business 
center of Tibet, which is expected to provide 114,000 jobs to local 
people.

     "Seventeen major companies in Tibet have decided to move their 
plants and headquarters into the new district with a total investment 
of 820 million yuan," he said.

     Shi also promised that the government will give full 
consideration to environment protection when building the new district.

     "The regional government will not only improve the environmental 
protection facilities in the old downtown district but will also make 
the Liuwu New district a garden district by using clean energy, 
reducing emissions and increasing greenery," said Shi.
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