Posts tagged ‘Lhasa’


China’s top graft-buster breaks taboo by discussing Communist Party’s ‘legitimacy’ | South China Morning Post

Open discussion by top graft-buster Wang Qishan about the legitimacy of the ruling Communist Party – a topic long deemed unquestionable – has raised the eyebrows of some commentators. Graft-buster Wang Qishan has raised some eyebrows with his comments on the Communist Party's 'legitimacy'. Photo: AFP

“The legitimacy of the Communist Party of China derives from history, and depends on whether it is supported by the will of the people; it is the people’s choice,” Wang said when meeting some 60 overseas attendants of the Party and World Dialogue 2015 in Beijing on Wednesday. ADVERTISING Analysts said the aberration was a step forward but some disagreed with Wang’s interpretation of “legitimacy”.

Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based commentator, said Wang’s remarks reflected a shift of attitude in the party as a result of intensified social conflicts and increasing pressure from an underperforming economy.

“In the past, the issue was not allowed to be discussed, because the [party] thinks [its rule] is justified unquestionably. As the old saying goes, ‘political power grows out of the barrel of a gun’. They fought their way into the ruling position, instead of being elected into it,” Zhang said. [The Communist Party’s] legitimacy was maintained by relying on economic growth, but now economic growth is facing problemsZHANG LIFAN, COMMENTATOR

“Its legitimacy was maintained by relying on economic growth, but now economic growth is facing problems. In the past people thought [the party] could continue governing and did not have strong opposition to it because they still had money in their pocket. Now the size of their pockets have shrunk,” he said.

Zhang Ming , a political scientist with Renmin University, applauded Wang’s courage, but disagreed with his use of “legitimacy”. “You can’t talk about legitimacy merely from a historical perspective. How to let the people express their approval or disapproval [of the government]? The ballots are the most obvious way,” he said.

Steve Tsang, a senior fellow at the China Policy Institute of the University of Nottingham, said the “legitimacy” Wang mentioned did not mean democratic accountability.

“The will of the people, in China’s political reality, is collected and reorganised into something in line with what the party wants,” he said.

“Then [it] uses the powerful propaganda machinery to ensure the people embrace the newly reformulated views as their own.”

Source: China’s top graft-buster breaks taboo by discussing Communist Party’s ‘legitimacy’ | South China Morning Post


In Tibet, two celebrations coincide – China –

The streets are more crowed and business is booming in Lhasa at the approach of Losar, Tibetan New Year, which coincides this year with the traditional Chinese Spring Festival.

In Tibet, two celebrations coincide

This year, New Year falls on the same day, Thursday, in both traditions. Losar dates to about 100 BC, the time of the ninth king of Tibet, Pude Gungyal. The celebration runs as long as 15 days.

Although the heavy snow that fell in Lhasa two days ago has not melted yet, residents are gearing up for the festival. Many of the hot shopping spots, such as the Ramoche Road and the Barkhor Shopping Mall, are packed with customers.

“My business is much better than last year. With the New Year festivals together, I had more shoppers,” said Basang Lhamo, a stall owner in the Barkhor market.

“I did not have time to prepare for my own Losar,” said the 38-year-old, adding that she will close her business on Tuesday, one day before New Year’s Eve.

As hordes of shoppers prepared for the festival, some bus drivers find it difficult to avoid traffic jams. “Ahead of Losar, with buses and streets crowded with people, it is hard to keep the bus moving smoothly,” said Nyima Tsering, a driver in Lhasa.

Karma Sonam, 43, a restaurant owner in the city, said his business has boomed this month. “My restaurant has been so full that my wife and our staff don’t have time for lunch most of the time,” he said. His family will travel to Xigaze for the festival, and he will give the staff a 15-day holiday.

Sonam Droma is a Tibetan woman who married a Han. They plan to spend the festival on the grassland. “It is more fun to embrace Losar in a remote grassland, as we enjoy the evening bonfire dancing and singing,” Sonam Droma, 27, said. “It is happier on the grassland.”

via In Tibet, two celebrations coincide – China –


China Focus: Nation rises after 65 years of development – Xinhua |

One need look no further than China’s railways to see the enormous development of the country since its foundation on Oct. 1, 1949.

At the 65th anniversary of that formative moment, every Chinese citizen has access to a modern train service. In 1949, the nation’s railways extended only 22,000 km, with half the track in poor condition.

In comparison, the mileage had expanded to 100,000 km by 2013. More than 10,000 km was high-speed infrastructure, and another 12,000 km was under construction at that time.

This modernization is transforming the lives of Chinese people. For Tsering Dekyi, for example, his wish to send his children from their remote home to far-off schools for a better education is no longer a wild dream.

“I heard that the trains are very fast and safe. It takes only two hours from here to Lhasa. I really hope that my three kids will be able to attend schools in Lhasa or inland cities by train in the future,” Tsering Dekyi said from Xigaze City, some 200 km west of Lhasa in southwest China’s Tibet.

This is possible after an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was put into operation in August, linking Xigaze and Lhasa like never before.

Via the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, launched in 2006 as the world’s highest plateau rail track, Xigaze locals can even travel further off to major cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Train track mileage is not the only data that makes clear the positive changes in China since 1949. In 2010, China overtook Japan to become the world’s second-largest economy. China is the world’s top goods trader. The nation also ranks third in global investment…

Meanwhile, the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will come to Beijing in November, with leaders gathering in the Chinese capital to discuss important economic issues for the Asia-Pacific region. China will take center stage once more.

Behind the huge economic achievements made especially since the reform and opening-up policy was introduced in 1978, the nation has made huge, unprecedented strides in providing basic education and welfare for its population of 1.3 billion, the world’s largest.

Sixty-five years ago, a shocking 80 percent of the population were illiterate, but by 2008, free nine-year compulsory education programs were fully implemented across the country. This year, 7.27 million university students will graduate, marking a historical high.

Nutritious meals are being provided to students from poor families with billions of yuan budgeted each year by the government.

About 32.29 million rural students have benefited from the 46.23 billion yuan (7.52 billion U.S. dollars) in subsidies the central government has allocated since 2011, when it launched the nutrition improvement program. Also, more than 10 million university students have completed their studies after being granted student loans under programs adopted since 1999.

The 660 million people that China has lifted out of poverty since 1981account for more than 70 percent of the world’s total.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has worked hard to provide basic healthcare for its people, with over 95 percent of the population covered by different sorts of healthcare programs by 2011.

However, there remain problems among the achievements, and they must be dealt with increasingly urgently. The issues include restraints on future development from the environment and resources, wide gaps between the wealthy and the poor, industrial overcapacity and imbalanced regional development.

Meanwhile, the Chinese economy must also brave challenges imposed from an economic slowdown after a boom over the past decade, as employment and structural control are key agendas for the government.

In order to cope, the Chinese leadership has showed political courage in pushing comprehensive reforms, including fighting corruption. Overhauls of administrative management, fiscal and financial systems are steadily being carried out as well.

There is no doubting the truth of Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s assertion that today’s China is nearer to its great goal of rejuvenation than at any period in history.

via China Focus: Nation rises after 65 years of development – Xinhua |


Tibet on track to become global tourist attraction[1]-

Tourism increased in the Tibet autonomous region in the first four months of the year, as the region aspires to become a world-class travel destination.

Tibet on track to become global tourist attraction

The region had more than 830,000 tourists from January through April, a year-on-year increase of 23.4 percent, the regional tourism bureau said on Tuesday.

Foreign tourists numbered 20,000, an increase of 10.3 percent, and the number of domestic tourists was 810,000, an increase of 23.8 percent.

Meanwhile, the revenue generated by the tourism industry was 926 million yuan ($148.4 million), an increase of 26.2 percent, it said.

Karral Millar, 62, an Australian tourist, said she had a good time in Tibet.

“It’s wonderful. It’s been three days now. We have visited the Potala Palace and many temples, and we are learning new things about Tibetan Buddhism and history,” Millar said on Tuesday.

Cycling has become a popular way to tour the region in recent years, as many tourists want to have close contact with the natural scenery and culture of Tibet.

“It’s my second time in Tibet. I am absolutely impressed with the natural scenery and unique culture. I feel as if I am at home here,” said Liu Xiaojun, from Hebei province.

“I am also overwhelmed with the hospitality and politeness of the local people,” said Liu, adding that he plans to make a bicycle tour to Zhangmu Port in Tibet’s Xigaze prefecture.

Many businesses near the scenic spots in Lhasa see the coming of summer peak season as a harvest.

“Compared with the same period last year, we had more guests this year. We have 62 rooms, and more than half are booked every day,” said India, 41, a receptionist at the Kyichu Hotel, a Nepalese hotel in Lhasa.

Tibet received more than 12 million tourists from home and abroad lastar.

The region hopes to have 15 million tourists this year.

via Tibet on track to become global tourist attraction[1]-

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Swelling lakes in Hol Xil pose railway threat – Xinhua

Swelling lakes on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, a notable sign of global warming, are threatening the safety of the world\’s highest railway, according to climate and ecological experts.

One flooded lake is now only 8 km away from a section of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in the depopulated area of Hol Xil Nature Reserve, according to the latest satellite monitoring by the Qinghai Provincial Academy of Meteorological Sciences.

Liu Baokang, engineer with the academy\’s remote-sensing and ecological evaluation center, said several lakes in the nature reserve have been overflowing since 2011 after receiving an increasing volume of melted snow from glaciers on the plateau, known as the \”roof of the world.\”

Liu said the center\’s research shows that the lakes have become a threat to the railway\’s roadbed and roads on the Qinghai-Tibet Highway as well as important oil pipelines, cables and power facilities that run through the region.

Sitting 4,600 meters above sea level, the 45,000 square km Hol Xil nature reserve is China\’s largest unpopulated area and is home to wild yaks and endangered Tibetan antelope.

Major lakes in the reserve, namely Zhuonai Lake, Qusay Lake and a salt lake, are all holding water at historically high levels.

Following a dyke breach in 2011, water has flowed from Zhuonai Lake and fed into Qusay Lake. The latter\’s overflow has resulted in swelling of the salt lake downstream, which has more than tripled its 2011 size, endangering the rail line.

Wang Xinwen, a spokesman with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Co., said the company has \”prepared a comprehensive set of contingency plans to cope with an emergency.\” But he declined to give details of measures to be taken if the rail track were to become submerged in lake water.

Wang affirmed that, so far, no harm to the railway\’s foundation from the flooding lake has been monitored.

The railway boasts a length of 1,956 km at an altitude of over 4,000 meters, connecting northwest China\’s Qinghai Province and Lhasa, capital of southwest China\’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

Data from the provincial weather bureau showed that temperatures in the Hol Xil region rose by an average of 0.38 degrees Celsius every ten years.

\”Rising temperatures have accelerated the melting of glaciers. Increased precipitation in the region has also contributed to the expanding lakes,\” said Liu.

He said lake flooding has also triggered changes in the landscape.

Rangers patrolling the region this year discovered that a gorge, which appeared after the 2011 dyke breach on Zhuonai Lake, is blocking the migration route of a herd of about 3,000 Tibetan antelope. The animal has lately grown accustomed to giving birth by the lakeside instead of travelling to its traditional pasture for breeding, which has affected vegetation in the area as the antelopes graze on nearby plants.

\”This has accelerated desertification by the lakeside,\” said Zhao Xinlu, director of the Zhuonai Lake Conservation Station.

The provincial government has organized meteorological, hydrological and environmental protection experts to closely monitor flooding on the lakes.

via Swelling lakes in Hol Xil pose railway threat – Xinhua |


* Tibet to invest $563m to protect environment

China Daily: The government of the Tibet autonomous region plans to invest more than 3.5 billion yuan ($563 million) in 2013, 10.5 percent more than last year, in environmental protection.

Potala Palace, Lhasa

Potala Palace, Lhasa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the draft budget of 2013, which the regional finance department submitted for the legislature’s approval on Thursday, the investment will also support the building of an ecological safety screen on the plateau.

More than 3.23 billion yuan will be used for major forestation projects and for compensating and rewarding locals who protect and grow grass and forests and conserve wetlands, lakes and water resources.

More than 50 million yuan will be allocated to support environmental improvement projects and preserve resources, according to the draft budget.

According to the autonomous region’s environmental protection department, the plateau’s fragile and sensitive environment faces a worsening situation of land desertification, soil erosion and threats to deteriorating biodiversity.

New challenges are emerging from increasing urban pollution related to tourism, traffic and mining.

However, environmental protection has also received “unprecedented” attention over the past five years, the department said.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, listed the protection and building of a safety screen of environment in Tibet as a State-level major eco-project in February 2009.

The project aims to pour in 15.5 billion yuan to basically finish building the screen by 2030.”

via Tibet to invest $563m to protect environment |Society |


* Tibetan men in first self-immolations in Lhasa

BBC News: “Two men set themselves on fire in the Tibetan city of Lhasa on Sunday, Chinese state media said, confirming earlier reports. One of the men died and the other “survived with injuries”, Xinhua news agency said.

The self-immolations are thought to be the first in Lhasa and the second inside Tibet. But they follow a series of self-immolations, mostly involving monks and nuns, in Tibetan areas outside Tibet. “They were a continuation of the self-immolations in other Tibetan areas and these acts were all aimed at separating Tibet from China,” Hao Peng, head of the Communist Partys Commission for Political and Legal Affairs in the Tibet Autonomous Region, was quoted as saying.”

via BBC News – Tibetan men in first self-immolations in Lhasa.

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