Tibet Insight News

January 3, 2018 By Centre for China Analysis & Strategy, CCAS

TAR NEWS

China’s Annual Conference on Rural Work discusses Tibet

An article in the state-owned Global Times on December 25, 2017 said that a high priority item for 2018 on the agenda of China’s annual central conference on rural work, which will set the tone for next year’sagricultural and rural development and is expected to convene in Beijing soon, is revitalising the countryside. It said, “poor villages along the borders of Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region with India, Nepal, Bhutan and other neighboring countries may receive more attention than usual”. The article said “Tibet has achieved rapid economic growth over the past few years, but many people in the region, which is locked away among the Himalaya Mountains, are still suffering from poverty”. It disclosed that since the 19th Party Congress concluded in October, “628 border villages in Tibet have gained more attention for their economic and human development. It is intended that every border village will have access to roads by 2020, as part of a broader effort to lift more rural areas out of poverty”. It said “Tibet’s rural poverty alleviation drive is complex and difficult, partly due to the poor infrastructure that has long plagued rural residents”, but said the situation is changing anmd Tibet must seize this rare opportunity to lift rural people out of poverty. It asserted that “with expanded preferential policies, per capita disposable incomes in border villages are expected to double by 2020”. The Global Times article asserted that “Tibet has seen great development and stability but confronting separatism remains a challenge for the region. Raising living standards for local residents is a fundamental way to guard against activity sabotaging China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Tibet’s rural poverty alleviation will help maintain stability in the border areas”. It added, “Tibet occupies a key strategic position connecting the rest of China with India and some South Asian countries and regions along the route of the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative. The total length of roads in Tibet is expected to reach 89,000 kilometers this year, up from 82,000 kilometers in 2016. More highways are likely to be built in the border areas next year, which will support the implementation of the B&R initiative”. Regretting that “Tibet still lags behind some coastal regions in terms of economic reforms and opening up to the outside world”, it said to promote the B&R initiative the situation has to be changed. Observing that Tibet “is greatly increasing the pace of its opening to its neighbors and driving forward the development of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor” it asked China’s central government to support these efforts”.It said “there is every reason for China to put more focus on the economic development of Tibet’s rural areas, and that is surely to happen next year.”[PDF]

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