Friday, December 5, 2008

China to build six more railway lines into Tibet by 2020

China is planning to build six more main railway lines and several branches to connect Tibet with other parts of China by 2020, a kind of move that usually distresses Tibetans and critics.
“By 2020, six main railway lines and some branches connecting Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai [Tib: Amdo] Province with other parts of China, are expected to be built and put into operation,” Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday.
The report asserted that the construction of the more railway lines would enable a “closer economic and cultural exchange between Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and the whole nation”.
Tibetans fear that such kind of development, solely imposed by Chinese Communist authorities in the name of progress, will further accelerate the Han migration into their Himalayan territory and dilute their population and unique Buddhist culture. They also argue China’s extensive railway networking across the Tibetan plateau, the largest and highest one in the world, will cause unprecedented negative impact on its fragile ecosystems.
According to Xinhua’s report, the six forthcoming railways tying with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, are: Xining to Zhangye of Lanzhou-Urumchi 2nd Double Line Rail, Golmud to Dunhuang, Kuerle and Chengdu and Lhasa to Xigaze and Nyingchi prefectures.
The report said that the construction of the 2nd Line of Xining-Golmud Section of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was now in full swing and would be finished in 2012.
China’s first launch of the controversial Qinghai-Tibet railway on July 1, 2006 was met with protest demonstrations from Tibetan exiles and supporters calling it a “new instrument” for Beijing’s alleged plan to “Sinicize” the restive Himalayan region and to exploit its rich untamed natural resources.


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