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China Reports Massive Spending in Tibet

  • VOA Tibetan

China says it has spent almost $50 billion on hundreds of development projects in Tibet since taking control of the region in 1951.

The figure appears in a white paper published in Chinese newspapers Tuesday to mark the 60th anniversary of Chinese rule in Tibet. China describes the event as the "peaceful liberation" of the territory, although many Tibetans still regard it as a military occupation.

The white paper says China has approved more than 400 major projects since 1951 at a cost of more than $46 billion to advance Tibet's long-term development. It says the central government has also provided Tibet with preferential policies on banking, finance and taxation, health and education and other areas.

The paper, which paints Chinese rule in Tibet in glowing terms, also stresses that China guarantees freedom of religious belief for all ethnic groups in Tibet.

That contrasts strongly with the views of Tibetan exile groups, which say China uses discriminatory practices to suppress their form of Buddhism and their cultural traditions. They also say China has encouraged thousands of Han Chinese to migrate to the region, where they increasingly dominate the government and the economy.

Hundreds of people were arrested or disappeared after ethnic frustrations broke out in rioting in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, three years ago, and an increased Chinese troop presence remains evident in many places. Currently, China maintains a high security presence around a Tibetan monastery in Sichuan province where a young monk set himself on fire to protect Chinese policies in March.

Thousands of Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, fled into exile in India following an anti-Chinese uprising in 1959. China's Communist Party leadership says the Dalai Lama is intent on creating an independent Tibet, although the spiritual leader has said often that he would accept autonomy for the region within China.

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