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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Natural reserves cover one third of Tibet, says regional chief

March 8, 2008

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- About 34 percent of Tibet's vast land has
been zoned as natural reserves, Qiongba Puncog, chairman of the
government of the Tibet Autonomous Region, said here Friday.

Tibet now has nine state natural reserves, six regional ones and 23 at
city and county levels with a total area of about 400,000 sq km, he
told reporters after a panel discussion of the Tibetan delegation to
the First Session of the 11th National People's Congress, China's top
legislature.

Meanwhile the region is also home to seven national parks and two
national geo-parks, in addition to 17 ecological function reserves,
Qiongba Puncog said.

As the ecological environment in Tibet is vital to China and the whole
Asia, the region is investing much and working hard to protect it, he
said.

"We are protecting the environment in the same way of taking care of
our eyes," he said, adding that so far Tibet has reported no pollution
accident or acid rain.

"Tibet is still what it was and one of the places in the world that
boast the best natural environment," he said.

A project will not be approved without environmental assessment, he
said. "We will say no to any environment-damaging project even if it
yields gold."
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