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Tibet: Computer Popular On 'World Roof'

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/01/30; January 30, 2002.]

[Xinhua is the official news agency of the PRC]

LHASA, Jan 29 (Oana-Xinhua) -- The word of computer, was once almost unknown to most Tibetans, but is now a necessity for many Tibetans in their daily life.

Computer has changed work style and rhythm of life of the Tibetan people.

In a spacious office, Nyima Cering, a young Tibetan writes a letter by computer using new Tibetan language software.

Tubdain, also a computer whizz, is using Computer Added Design (CAD) technology. He once helped his friend, Gaisang combine the Potala Palace and a clear lake in one picture, making the scene more dramatic.

Yang Song, vice-president of the regional government, usually surfs on the net for more than an hour every night before going to bed.

During weekends and public holidays, he often uses the net for two to three hours a day.

"I am interested in all information about the development of the western region and all matters relating to Tibet," Yang said, " I can get much information and material about these on the Internet."

Ceyang, a female professor at Tibet University, has equipped her study with one PC and one portable computer.

"The Computer paves the way for me to have better communication with my overseas counterparts. Moreover, I get new information from the Internet and can add it to my lectures.

Many lecturers at Tibet University are now familiar with the world of the Internet as they spent most of their spare time on it.

On the eve of New Year, Liu Surong, who works in Lhasa, stepped into an Internet Cafe to send her best wishes to her parents simply by clicking a mouse.

Statistics show that the number of registered dial-up Internet users in Tibet is over 4,000. So far, there are more than 100 websites about Tibet in simplified Chinese and over 300,000 related web pages.

On Dec 15, 2001, multifunctional integrated software in Tibetan, Chinese and English languages developed by the Northwest China Institute for Nationalities was approved by experts. Using the software, Tibetans with computer and the Internet knowledge can compile application software programs in their native language.

The Founder Group, one of China's high-tech leaders, recently invented a Tibetan language input software which makes it possible for every Tibetan citizen to write with Tibetan character into a computer as easily as they write with Chinese character into a computer.

The popularization of the internet and software technology innovation has greatly boosted the local computer market.

In Lhasa City, capital of Tibet, a 50-meter-long computer street has opened. Major computer providers from domestic and overseas such as Compaq, Toshiba, Legend, Founder and Canon have all set up outlets there.

Dawa, carrying his new laptop computer, said that surfing on Internet and designing web pages occupied most time of his life now, therefore he had decided to buy a new and more advanced computer so that he could enjoy his computerized life more.

Not only are the customers pleased, but computer salespeople are also in a happy mood.

Chen Yong, manager of the Founder outlet, said that the Tibetan language input software sell very well in Lhasa. Some organizations such as the office of the "Tibet Daily" and Tibet university ordered their computers in batches.

Tibet's modernization, especially its computerization should be eventually facilitate the local robust economy and people's improved living standard.

Wangqug, a farmer in Bainang county, said that in the past he support his family only by farming. It was impossible for him to buy a luxury computer.

He said, "In recent years, my income increased and the living condition has been greatly improved."

"I opened a department store and set up a hotel. My daily income exceeded 10,000 yuan. Recently, I bought a "Compaq" to manage my business better," he added.

Statistics show that last year, the per capita net income of Tibetan farmers and herdsmen reached 1,410 yuan in 2001, up 5.9 percent from 2000.

The per capita income of Tibetan urban residents amounted to 7,090 yuan last year, 4.34 times more than that in 1990. -- Oana-Xinhua

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