Lhasa forum points way for Tibet

By Shan Jie and Bai Yunyi in Lhasa Source:Global Times Published: 2016/7/9 0:08:00

Consensus prioritizes sustainable, green development

The Lhasa Consensus of 2016, a document that includes expert suggestions for the development of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, was released on Friday at a forum in Lhasa, regional capital of Tibet, pledging a focus on sustainable and green development that suits the region.

Jiang Jie, head of the publicity department of Tibet, said that the document will help the world to better know Tibet, help build consensus about Tibet from all parties, and enable better development.

"The consensus reflects the concern from all sides on how to coordinate industrialization and social development in Tibet, and stresses that development should suit the unique geographic and climate conditions in the region," Pedro A. Garcia Bilbao, a professor of Political and Social Studies of King Juan Carlos University in Madrid, told the Global Times.

Yang Guoliang, head of the foreign trade department of Tibet's Department of Commerce, told the Global Times that "Tibet has found its own way to develop, and the key point is to put the consensus into practice in future."

Tibet has made great strides during the past decades, with per capita disposable income of urban residents in Tibet reaching 25,457 yuan ($3,808) in 2015, up 15.6 percent from the previous year, according to the regional government.

In China, the urban per capita disposable income was 31,195 yuan in 2015, the Xinhua News Agency reported in January.

"Tibet's development is on the right path, but there are things to improve, such as there are still people living in poverty, especially in remote and rural areas," Jim Stoopman, program coordinator at the European Institute for Asian Studies in the Netherlands, told the Global Times.

Stoopman noted that future development should focus on agricultural development and on improving the livelihoods of Tibet's rural population to give them the same opportunities as urban Tibetans.

Stoopman also noted that people in Tibet should benefit from the "Belt and Road" initiative in both tangible and intangible forms, to make it easier for people to travel and communicate, to learn from each other and understand the differences and similarities.

"I don't understand why [Western] media would always say that Tibet has no human rights and religious freedom," Ecuadorean Hector Enrique Villagran Cepeda, deputy director of the Center for Latin American Language and Culture under Beijing Language and Culture University, told the Global Times during the forum.

 "As far as I have seen, there are local people in ethnic costumes everywhere in Lhasa who pray in temples," he said, adding that everywhere he has been in China, he has observed that people have freedom of religious belief.

More than 130 guests from over 30 countries and regions worldwide participated and carried out field visits and exchanges in Lhasa and Shannan, in southeast Tibet.

The forum is the second of its kind in Tibet since 2014, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

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