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China approves "modern redesign" of Lhasa



17. Mar 2009
(Reuters) Beijing has approved a "modern redesign" of Tibet's capital Lhasa, state media said. By 2020, Lhasa will become an "economically prosperous, socially harmonious, and eco-friendly modern city with vivid cultural characteristics and deep ethnic traditions", according to a document carried on the central government's website (www.gov.cn). The official China Daily said the plan would make Lhasa "a coordinated and distinctive modern metropolis by 2020". Lhasa's downtown population would be capped at 450,000 - the city only has 500,000 residents in total today - and just 75 sq km of land would be allowed to be used for urban development. The urban makeover plan said local authorities should "pay great attention to protecting the historic, cultural and aesthetic characteristics" of Lhasa." That includes controlling the number, height and even colour of buildings. Pay attention to the legal preservation of sites of necessary religious activities [and] satisfy the needs of the religious lives of believers".

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