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Special> China's Tibet: Facts & Figures> Background
UPDATED: March 30, 2009
Report on the Economic and Social Development of Tibet

VI. Conclusion: Prospects for Growth and Development

Although Tibet's social and economic development was affected by the March 14 Incident in 2008, the incident was quickly quashed, and Tibet's economic development has maintained a strong momentum. On-the-spot surveys and relevant statistics show that the impact of the March 14 Incident on most industries in Tibet was limited, except for temporary difficulties for tourism. The total grain output of Tibet in 2008 reached 950,000 tons, an increase of more than 10,000 tons over the previous year and topping 900,000 tons for ten years running. The grain yield per ha was 5,581 kg. In 2008 the output of rape and vegetables was 59,200 tons and 460,000 tons, an increase of 13.6 percent and 2.1 percent over 2007, respectively; the output of meat and milk was 3.4 percent and 2.0 percent higher than in the previous year. The added value completed by Tibet's secondary industry was worth 11.576 billion yuan in 2008, an increase of 7.9 percent over 2007. It is worth mentioning that as stability was restored to Tibet, tourism has shown notable signs of recovery. In the latter half of 2008, especially during the week-long National Day holiday, a considerable number of Chinese and foreign tourists were coming back to Tibet. Although Tibet's tourism performance in 2008 could not be compared with that of the previous two years, trade, transportation, and posts and telecommunications in Tibet developed rapidly. The added value contributed by Tibet's tertiary industry reached 21.964 billion yuan in 2008, 12.4 percent higher than in 2007.

Moreover, investment remains a strong driving force for Tibet's economic growth. In the first half of 2008, despite the disturbance of the March 14 Incident, investment in fixed assets amounted to 9.013 billion yuan, an increase of 9.2 percent over the same period of the previous year. At present, Tibet is increasing investment in accordance with the Tibet Autonomous Region's Project Scheme in the 11th Five-Year Plan Period (2006-2010), which had been approved by the central government. According to the Scheme, 77.88 billion yuan will be invested in Tibet for the construction of 180 projects. When these projects are completed, the total investment will exceed 100 billion yuan. Such an enormous investment will maintain Tibet's economic growth at a relatively high level, providing the region's economic development with promising prospects.

In addition to the stimulation of investment, local demand and consumption are giving an increasingly stronger impetus to Tibet's economic development. In 2008, the per capita net income of farmers and herdsmen in Tibet surpassed 3,000 yuan for the first time in history, 13.9 percent higher than in the previous year. A survey conducted among 100 households in the farming and pastoral areas of Tibet by the China Tibetology Research Center in 2008 shows that, with the increase of income, 30 percent of the households surveyed planned to build new houses in the next five years; nearly 60 percent planned to buy mobile phones in the next one or two years; 20 percent planned to buy tractors; 15 percent planned to buy motorcycles in the next three years; and five percent planned to buy automobiles in the next five years. Therefore, consumption demand and investment will probably form a joint force to promote the sound and rapid economic development of Tibet.


[1] Tibet Statistical Yearbook 2000. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2000. Tibet Statistical Yearbook 2008. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2008.

[2] The feudal upper class refers to aristocrats, government officials and upper class monks before the democratic reform in 1959.

[3] Gyaltsen Norbu and Dorje Tseten. A Brief History of Tibet's Economy. Beijing: China Tibetology Press, 2000.

[4] See the report by Karma Dorje and Lhapa Tsering carried on Tibet Channel in Xinhuanet dated December 28. The report originally appeared at http://unn.people.com.cn/GB/channel450/451/1352/200112/28/143468.html.

[5] Tibet Statistical Yearbook 2008. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2008.

[6] Tibet Statistical Yearbook 1990 and Tibet Statistical Yearbook 2008.

[7] Ditto.

[8] See relevant section in Part IV of this report.

[9] A traditional Tibetan farming technique--two oxen pulling a plow. One farmer guides the oxen, another supports the plow and a third sows the seeds. Or there is no such a person leading an ox, and clod is crushed with a mallet when plowing is completed.

[10] Tibet Statistical Yearbook 2008. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2008.

[11] Data of the Population Census of China in 2000: Tibet Autonomous Region. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2001.

[12] Tibet Statistical Yearbook 2008. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2008.

[13] Tibet Statistical Yearbook 2008. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2008.

[14] http://info.tibet.cn/focus2008/2008xzssysz/index.htm.

[15] "Tibetan Language Develops with Care and Protection", www.chinatibetnews.com, December 4, 2008.

[16] Tibet Statistical Yearbook 2008. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2008.

[17] Tibet Statistical Yearbook 2008. Beijing: China Statistics Press, 2008.

[18] Lhorong Dradul. On Poverty and Anti-Poverty in Tibet. Beijing: China Tibetology Publishing House, 2000.

[19] The program was the first poverty alleviation guiding principle with specific goals, objects, measures and deadline in the history of New China. In 1994, the Chinese government determined to launch a large-scale poverty-alleviation drive by mustering manpower, material resources and financial resources from all walks of life, striving to solve the problem of basic food and clothing of 80 million rural residents in poverty in seven years by the end of 2000.

[20] Guarantee of food, clothing, housing, medical care, and burial expenses for the elderly people who have no one to support them, the handicapped who have lost the ability to work and minors who have no source of income.

[21] http://news.xinhuanet.com/zhengfu/.

[22] Refer to www.china.com.cn for "facts and figures of 2008: Tibet, China."

[23] Data in Figs. 19 and 20 are taken from the book Tibet Statistical Yearbook 2008. Refer to Tables 10-9 and 10-11 in that book.

[24] They are Lunbugang Village in Medrogungkar County, Lhasa, Tsongdu Village in Lhundrup County, and Tashiling Village in Dranang County, Shannan Prefecture.

[25] Wang Weiguang (vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), "China Is Transforming from a Country with a Large Population to One with Strong Human Capital," Reform and Opening-up and Population Development Forum, Beijing, October 23, 2008.

(China.org.cn March 30, 2009)

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