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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."

Tibet's economy expects to grow 10.1% this year

December 23, 2008

Special: Focus on Tibet
    LHASA, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Tibet's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow 10.1 percent year-on-year to reach 39.2 billion yuan (5.8 billion U.S. dollars) this year, a senior local official has said.
    It would be the 16th year that the Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China has had double-digit economic growth, said QiangbaPuncog, chairman of the regional government.
    The fixed assets investment would hit 31 billion yuan, up 14.3 percent from a year earlier, he told an economic work conference held Sunday.
    "Farmers and herds people are the beneficiaries of the economic development," he said, citing that per capita net income for them would reach 3,170 yuan, up 13.7 percent year-on-year.
    He said the economic growth was achieved against the backdrop of a string of difficulties this year, including the March 14 riot, earthquake in Damxung County, the snow disaster in Shannan Prefecture and the global financial crisis.
    "To cope with the challenges, the local government published a series of regulatory measures to keep the economy growing steadily and rapidly," he said.
    In addition, the central government invested more than 16 billion yuan in Tibet this year to support development, he said.
    But the tourism industry would shrink this year because of the March 14 riot that led to a temporary suspension of tour groups.
    The tourist arrivals would reach 2.2 million this year, QiangbaPuncog said. He did not provide an estimate about the tourism revenue.
    The riot caused a 69-percent year-on-year decline in first-half tourist arrivals in this plateau region, to just 342,000 people, the Tibet Autonomous Regional Tourism Bureau said.
    The regional government's tourist income stood at 290 million yuan in the first half, down 71 percent.
    The riot led to the deaths of at least 18 civilians and one policeman. It also left 382 civilians and 241 police injured, businesses looted and residences, shops and vehicles torched.
    Tibet received 4 million tourists from both home and abroad in 2007, up 60 percent from 2006. The tourism revenue reached 4.8 billion yuan last year, accounting for more than 14 percent of the region’s GDP.
    In the first two months of this year, the tourism business grew robustly in the region, greeting 110,000 tourists, including 6,000from overseas, up 60 percent year on year.
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