The Qinghai-Tibet Railway.
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Introduction The Qinghai-Tibet Railway originates in Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, which is 1,142 kilometers (713 miles) long. With about 600 kilometers of the railway is built within the Tibet Autonomous Region, it is however, the first railway that linking Tibet with the western part of China, and it will extend from Lhasa, the Tibetan capital to Golmud, a traffic hub in Qinghai Province. Once the construction completed, it will become the longest and most elevated railway built on highlands in the world, and will later be extended to Shigaze and Linzhi in Tibet, and Yunnan Province in southwest China. The acme of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is 5,072 meters above sea level, and more than 960 kilometers, or four-fifths of the railway will be built at an altitude of more than 4,000 meters. Nearly half of the railway (550 kilometers) will be laid on continuous and permanent frozen earth, and the rest of the railway will pass through the grasslands, natural reserve zone, wetlands, and also the arid desert region. The Chinese Government has wanted to build such a railway since the 1950s, shortly after the Communist Army took over control of Tibet.
Currently, the only transportation to Tibet is limited to ground and air transport, which is deficiency to meet the demand for developing Tibet's economy. In compare to the prosperous eastern seaboard, Tibet remains as the most backward region in China at a little bit more above the national average income for farmers and herdsmen. According to the Himal South Asian magazine (Sept 2002); the current disparity between rural, "impoverished" Tibetans and urban, "developed" Chinese then, is a problem for the Beijing administration. The dominant point of view in Beijing is that Tibet has been a messy backyard that remains an embarrassment; for they realize that a radically under-developed Tibet will tarnishes the image of a new China. It is neither the result of a coherent and successful policy, nor a carefully crafted plan to keep Tibetans down. It is an undeniable fact that, once the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is completed, it will bring a convenient transportation way to and from Lhasa, and it eventually lead to a result of overwhelming influx of Chinese migrants, unemployed, and the laid-off workers of the over-saturated eastern coastal cities to migrating to the Tibet Autonomous Region seeking for working and business opportunity.
Looking at it another way, once the railway is completed, Tibetan herdsman can easily sell their sheer product outside the border, plus more consumer products can enter Tibet which can be improve Tibetans' living standard, where the price will go down due to scarcity of goods. This will greatly benefit Tibetan throw off poverty and enter to a much faster economy development track, isn't it just great for everyone? As business is business, the company needs not to get involve into politic that much. Like the Chinese saying "The water that bears the boat is the same that swallows it"; if you take weapons like gun for example, it can be use for murder, robbery, self-protection, and of course, use by authorities to saving civilian's life. Thus, it is absolutely depending on how people use it; anything else is out of the question. What the Tibetan Action Committee worries can be taken as a consideration for the company while considered the offer, but it shall not be the sole consideration factor that affects the company on the railway contract offer by the Chinese Government.
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