Poll Seeks to Silence Redevelopment Critics
[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/07/27; July 27, 2002.]
Xinhua yesterday published a survey of more than 1,000 Tibetan families apparently to rebut criticism an urban redevelopment programme in Lhasa carried out by the central government has ruined Tibetan culture. The programme, which began in April, is expected to be completed by the start of next year. It was costing 170 million yuan (HK$160 million) and offered residents improved facilities in old residential buildings in Lhasa, Xinhua said.
Under the programme, residents are having their homes repaired and flush toilets and kitchens added. Ninety-six per cent of the families surveyed said they wanted the toilets and all families supported having kitchens, Xinhua said.
The survey also sought public feedback on how to preserve Tibetan architecture in the redevelopment programme. Some families, however, complained the programme did not address problems such as traffic.
Zaxidunzhu, an official of the local people's congress, which organised the survey, said residents' opinions were sought in order to improve the redevelopment programme.
The survey was carried out among residents in 17 districts in Lhasa selected for redevelopment. The poll came after some rights groups accused the Chinese authorities of "systematically demolishing entire Tibetan neighbourhoods in an alleged campaign to eradicate Tibetan culture".
According to critics, Lhasa in previous urban development programmes has been "fabricated into a Chinese city, and only two per cent or historic homes in Tibet's ancient capital have survived the onslaught".
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