LETTER: Tibet Has Taken Big Steps Forward

Article excerpt

Sir: Two articles you published in August of this year painted a tarnished picture on Tibet. As a member of the International Association of Tibetan Studies, currently visiting the UK, I must say I have witnessed great progress in different aspects of social life over half a century in Tibet. In 2004, per capita GDP reached US$ 960 in Tibet, with overall GDP surpassing US$ 2.6 billion, 18 times higher than that of 1965 when the Tibet Autonomous Region was established. Ninety-five per cent of children of school age have access to school education compared with less than 2 per cent fifty years ago. Average life expectancy has risen from 35 to 67 years.

Along with economic development, Tibetan culture and tradition have been preserved and protected. More than 500 modern volumes of ancient Buddhist scripture, historical records and documentations in the Tibetan language have been recompiled and published. Since the 1980s, China's central government has allocated up to US$63 million to a special fund for the maintenance religion venues in Tibet. There are now some 1,700 Buddhist temples and monasteries in Tibet, accommodating 46 thousand resident lamas and monks. …