China’s leaders laid out a strategy last week for bringing “leapfrog development and lasting stability” to the Tibetan regions, the state news agency reported late Friday.
President Hu Jintao and other leaders at a Tibet planning conference decided that “more efforts must be made to greatly improve living standards of the people in Tibet, as well as ethnic unity and stability,” the Xinhua reported.
The emphasis on economic development indicates that China still sees the solution to the problem of Tibet as one of supplying creature comforts.
But an uprising among Tibetans in 2008 and tensions since have shown that even though the region’s economy has been growing quickly, Tibetans still feel economically disadvantaged and culturally threatened. In conversations, Tibetans express rage over the suppression of traditional Buddhist practice and over the influx of ethnic Han migrants to Tibetan areas.
China has invested $45.6 billion in Tibet since 2001, Xinhua says. Tibet’s gross domestic product, estimated to be $6.4 billion last year, has increased 170 per cent since 2000, it said. Despite those numbers, ethnic nationalism remains a potent sentiment across almost all Tibetan areas of China.