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Computers Altering Tibetan Lifestyle

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/02/019; February 19, 2002.]

Xinhuanet, 2 Feb 2002.
[Xinhua is the official news agency of the PRC]

LHASA: The world of computers was once unknown territory to most Tibetans but today has become a necessity for more and more people's daily life in Tibet.

In his spacious office, Nyima Cering, a young Tibetan, composes a letter on his computer using new Tibetan language software.

Computer whizz Tubdain has used computer-aided design technology to help his friend, Gaisang, combine the Potala Palace and a clear lake into a single picture, thus making the scene appear more dramatic.

Yang Song, vice-chairman of the regional government, usually surfs on the net for more than an hour every night before retiring.

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

"I am interested in 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," she said. "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 Tibetan New Year's eve, Liu Surong, who works in Lhasa, stepped into an Internet Cafe to send best wishes to her parents simply by clicking a mouse. Statistics show the number of registered dial-up Internet users in Tibet is more than 4,000. So far, there are more than 100 websites about Tibet in simplified Chinese and over 300,000 related web pages.

On December 15, 2001, a 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 Internet knowledge can compile application software programs in their native language.

The Founder Group, one of China's high-tech leaders, recently developed Tibetan language input software which makes it possible for every Tibetan citizen to use Tibetan characters on a computer.

Popularization of the Internet and software technology innovation has greatly boosted the local computer market.

In Lhasa, a computer street has opened. Major computer providers from domestic and overseas areas, such as Compaq, Toshiba, Legend, Founder and Canon, have all set up outlets there.

Dawa, carrying his new laptop computer, said surfing on the 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 even more.

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

Chen Yong, manager of the Founder outlet, said the Tibetan language input software sells 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, is eventually expected to facilitate a robust local economy as well as improve living standards for its residents. Xinhua

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