[Buddha-l] China-Tibet Highway

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 15 03:07:12 MST 2010

And soon nowhere left for a Tibetan to hide.


China Links Last Isolated County to Highway
Published: December 15, 2010

Filed at 4:37 a.m. EST

BEIJING (AP) - China has moved a key step closer to linking its last 
isolated county to the country's highway system.

China Central Television showed workers dancing, cheering and tossing each 
other into the air Wednesday morning after they blasted through the last 
part of a tunnel that will link the Tibetan county of Metok to the rest of 
the country.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said the 2-mile (3.3-kilometer) Galongla 
Tunnel was built at an altitude of 12,300 feet (3,750 meters).

Rough conditions that include elevation drops from the Himalayas to tropical 
rivers cut off the county about nine months of the year.

Xinhua said the highway link will be complete a year from now.

The report said Metok county in eastern Tibet has a population of 11,000.

China has spent 140 billion yuan ($20 billion) on development in Tibet since 
2001, but critics say much of the money has gone to projects that benefit 
Chinese companies and migrants, while fueling resentment of Beijing's rule 
among impoverished Tibetans.

Key among development projects are ones that link Tibet to the rest of 

Tibet's fifth civil airport opened in November, and China in January 
announced plans to build the world's highest airport in Tibet by 2011, the 
14,553-foot (4,436-meter) Nagqu Dagring Airport.

At least six new railway lines in and around Tibet are in the works.

Critics worry the rush into Tibet could wreck much of the high-altitude 
region's delicate ecosystem, and an influx of the majority ethnic Han 
Chinese threatens its Buddhist culture and traditional way of life.

Tourists are part of the increasing traffic. The region had 5.6 million 
tourists last year, Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibet autonomous regional 
government, told Xinhua in March. 

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