China to spend $11bn on Tibetan infrastructure this year

The spiral loop at Guanjiao in eastern Tibet (Xue Siyang/CC BY-SA 3.0)
The Chinese government is to spend $11.3bn on infrastructure in Tibet’s western Xizang Autonomous Region this year, Xinhua reports.

The investment, equal to more than a third of the region’s GDP, is seen as central to the region’s development.

Yan Jinhai, chairman of Xizang’s regional government, said the money would be mainly spent on transport projects including railways, roads and as many as 10 airports, where work will be begun or will continue in 2024.

As well as transport, Yan mentioned the development of renewable energy sites.

According to China Daily, the region aims to achieve GDP growth of 8% and total fixed-asset investment growth of 13% in the coming year, with similar increases in the income of the population.

The Tibetan Review comments that the investment is in line with China’s grand strategy of “improving frontier security amid heightened border tensions with India in recent months”.

Beijing is also concerned with winning support from the residents of the region. There is a Tibetan independence movement, centred on the Dalai Lama, and in the past, China’s conduct in Tibet has attracted allegations from the US over suppression of Tibetan Buddhism.

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