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Tibet Can't Follow Beaten Track in Large-scale Western Development

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 00/03/27 Compiled by Tseten Samdup]

People's Daily, March 27, 2000

This report, written by Our Staff Reporters Yue Furong and Wang Jianxin, is about their interview with Chen Kuiyuan, secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The report runs as follows:

The CPC Central Committee has decided to carry out the strategy for the large-scale development of western regions, the bugle to advance has been sounded. How will Tibet seize this opportunity to pitch into the large-scale western development? Recently, these reporters had an interview with Chen Kuiyuan, secretary of the Party committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Reporter: What are Tibet's advantages and restrictive factors for faster development in the process of implementation of large-scale development of the west?

Chen: Generally speaking, Tibet is a region yet to be developed, on this stretch of land which accounts for one-eighth of the national total area, most of the resources above- and under-ground have not been tapped and utilized. This represents our advantage of joining in the massive development of the western regions. Tibet's shortages stem from the low level of economic development, the lack of talents and the lagging of infrastructure construction. Although significant development and progress have been achieved in recent years, we must remain to be clear-headed, we should see the widening gap, objectively appraise Tibet's level of development and progress and take the factors restraining accelerated development seriously. Tibet's economic development is presently placed at the end of other provinces and cities, many of its indexes are not on the list of ranking. This is the case viewed not merely from economic aggregate, because our region's population is limited, its economic aggregate naturally cannot match those provinces whose economic aggregate is several and even several dozen times greater than ours. Worse still, compared with most other provinces and cities, Tibet is at a different level of development. The industrialization level of some provinces and cities is very high and they have entered the fully developed market economy; some others have a fairly developed information industry, whereas Tibet is still at the stage of the agricultural economy. The fact that Tibet lags so far behind the national average has its historical and natural reasons, as well as its subjective and working factors. To win the opportunity offered by the large-scale western development, we must resolutely break with the closed and conservative concepts and overcome the idea of doing nothing. We must clearly judge our advantages and potential, gap and obstacle, correctly understand the essence of the Central Committee's decision on the large-scale development of the west, integrate the decision of the Central Committee and the reality of our region, we must make clear the orientation and tasks for accelerating development, immediately go into action and join in the ranks of the large-scale development. This is the central task of the Party committees and governments at all levels of the Tibet Autonomous Region at present and for a considerably long period of time to come.

It is no easy task to eliminate the gap stemming from dozens of years of development and make up for the regional shortfalls of the plateau, achievement of that task is hardly conceivable without special opportunities. Now that the Central Committee has called for implementing the strategy for the large-scale development of the west, this provides us with an opportunity to narrow and eliminate the development gap between Tibet and inland provinces and cities. We must fully understand the strategic significance of the gigantic development of the west, grasp the opportunity, lead the people of the whole region to greet the upsurge in the massive development of the west and join in the tide of the large-scale development. We will strive to fundamentally change the backward state of Tibet after 10-20 years of hard struggle and embark on the road of advancing side by side and in step with our fraternal provinces and cities.

Reporter: In the past, the central authorities have given Tibet quite a few of preferential policies and adopted many measures supporting Tibet's development. What are the characteristics of the new opportunity provided by the large-scale development of the west, when compared with previous opportunities? How will Tibet grasp the present opportunity?

Chen: The Party and State have always been concerned about Tibet's economic and social development. The central authorities have granted Tibet several special opportunities. In 1980, 1984 and 1994, the central authorities successively held three forums on Tibet's work, and at each time, a series of special policies and measures were adopted to promote and support Tibet's development. These special opportunities were given to Tibet alone, and it was clearly stated that other provinces and cities could not compare with Tibet in this regard. The situation this time is different, the present large-scale development of the west represents an opportunity to be shared by provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, we cannot but strive for the opportunity through competition with many provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions which are much stronger than us. As regards whether or not we can join in the ranks of the large-scale western development in a faster and better way, the most fundamental and decisive factors lie in whether or not the organizations and leading cadres at all levels of the Tibet Autonomous Region have the spirit of making vigorous progress. To hold ourselves responsible for Tibet's prosperity and development and for its long-term peace and stability, we must firmly grasp the present opportunity offered by the gigantic development of western regions, every step we take should be solid and vigorous.

Reporter: In carrying out the large-scale development of the west, what ideas does Tibet have?

Chen: Grasping the opportunity cannot be merely a kind of desire, more importantly, we should have clear-cut and scientific decisions and have an idea that conforms to Tibet's reality and be adapted to the strategy for the large-scale development. At the end of 1999, centered around the key topic concerning how to participate in the large-scale development of the west, the Tibet Autonomous Region held a forum on the whole region's economic work, at which the idea of the whole region was put forward. In light of the resources distribution and productivity condition of our region, we must focus our efforts on infrastructure construction, the comprehensive development of agriculture and animal husbandry, and the construction of ecological environment; we should further open up both internally and externally and integrate development with helping the poor and assisting farmers and herdsmen to get rich; relying on the major projects that have a strong promotional force, a high degree of connection and play a big role in boosting the follow-up development of the whole region's economy and society, we should adopt effective and practical policies and measures to propel the large-scale development of the region's resources and great economic development.

We must not follow the beaten track in carrying out the large-scale development and big advancement. We must not rely on State investments for the construction of State-owned enterprises as we did in the past. With the exception of hydroelectricity, railways, highways and other construction projects, we cannot employ the old methods for the construction of State-owned enterprises, nor can follow the old way of completely repeating contracted projects by inland areas practiced since the second and third forums on Tibetan work. We should broaden our field of vision, we should consider both State investments to help us in infrastructure construction and work out some policies and measures to seek multi-faceted horizontal association, we should encourage and attract inland enterprises and foreign businesses to Tibet to participate in resources development. We can steer some development projects to the market. We should actively support local enterprises of various types of ownership and people of different circles in throwing themselves in the large-scale development.

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