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China to invest heavily on new infrastructure in Tibet this year

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(TibetanReview.net, Jan07’24) – The Chinese government is to boost its infrastructure construction spending in Xizang Autonomous Region, the western half of Tibet proper, this year, with an injection from Beijing of 80 billion yuan (about $ 11.26 billion), reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jan 7. This is more than a third of the region’s estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year. China considers infrastructure spending in Tibet crucial for both strategic and internal security reasons.

Southwest China’s Xizang Autonomous Region is expected to receive 80 billion yuan from the central government for the region’s development in 2024, the report said, citing Yan Jinhai, chairman of the regional government.

Presenting his government work report Jan 7 at the second plenary session of the 12th People’s Congress of the Xizang Autonomous Region, Yan has said the fund will be spent on the region’s infrastructure construction, including railway, highway, and airport projects.

In particular, the construction of 10 general aviation airports in the region will start or be ongoing this year, he has said.

The Qinghai-born Tibetan with Chinese name, who is also deputy secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Tibet Committee, has said efforts will also be made in the construction of clean energy bases in the region.

China’s massive infrastructure spending is the main reason why the region has kept reporting high rate of GDP growth over the past several decades. Yan has said the region’s GDP was estimated at 230 billion yuan (about $32.38 billion) last year.

The region has set a GDP growth target of about 8 percent for 2024, he has added.

It was earlier reported by Reuters Sep 4, 2020 that China was planning a more than 1 trillion yuan push to accelerate infrastructure investment in Tibet.

The renewed push to step-up development of the remote and impoverished southwestern region signals Beijing’s intent to bolster frontier security amid heightened border tensions with India in recent months, the report said, citing two of the three Chinese government sources it mentioned and who were not named as they were not authorized to speak with media.

The week before, during a senior Communist Party meeting on Tibet’s future governance, President Xi Jinping lauded achievements and praised frontline officials but said more efforts were needed to enrich, rejuvenate and strengthen unity in the region, the report noted.

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