Tibet Today

The population of the Tibetan Ethnic group is about six million and the majority live in Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan. In the Tibetan areas of Southwest China, reforms were introduced between 1955 and 1957 in the farming areas. Feudal land ownership and all feudal privileges were abolished.  In September 1965, the Tibet Autonomous Region was officially established.

Twenty to forty thousand Tibetans live in Nepal and one hundred and twenty thousand live in India. More than three million people live in the Tibet Autonomous Region and 8%, about 248,000, are Han Chinese.

The Tibet Autonomous Region is located on the Tibetan Plateau, the highest region on earth. In northern Tibet, elevations reach an average of over 4,572 meters (15,000 ft). Mount Everest is located on Tibet’s border with Nepal.

Religious activities are protected by the government. Temples have been renovated and repaired. Buddhist statues, volumes of scriptures, ancient porcelain articles and other precious relics lost during the ten-year turmoil of the “Cultural Revolution” have been returned to the monasteries. Among them was a bronze statue of Sakyamuni brought to Tibet by Princess Brikuthi from Nepal in the 7th century. It is now kept in the Qoikang Monastery in Lhasa. An institute of Buddhist theology has been set up and preparations are being made to restore the scripture printing house. Tibet now has several thousand lamas, and the government sets no limit to the number of monks in the monasteries.

According to Lonely Planet, “Tibet offers fabulous monasteries, breathtaking high-altitude treks, stunning views of the world’s highest mountains and one of the most likable peoples you will ever meet.”

Lonely Planet.com says, “For centuries, Tibet was cut off from the outside world by its remote location, extreme climate, and geographic environment. This far-flung region thwarted all but the boldest travelers and explorers — that is, until the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in 2006, which connected Tibet to the rest of China. …

“To protect passengers from high-altitude sickness, trains have an oxygen supply system that increases the oxygen in the cabin as the train ascends and cabins have private oxygen-dispensing outlets. The temperature in the train is regulated and pressurized and the windows are glazed with a UV coating to protect against the powerful high-altitude rays.”

CNN Travel reports, “Robbie Barnett, a Tibet scholar at Columbia University, says China has poured in huge sums of money to make the high-altitude region accessible for mass tourism.”

The UK’s Telegraph says, “According to Xinhua News Agency, Tibet received more than 20 million tourists for the first time in 2015, representing 190-per cent growth from five years ago. Tourism revenue reached 28.19 billion yuan (£3.42 billion) in the same year, equal to 27.5 percent of Tibet’s GDP.”


In this video, the CNN reporter says the rent could be high in a new Tibetan village, but rural Chinese seldom pay rent or make mortgage payments.

Twenty million tourists is more than six times the population of Tibet.

People.cn says, “Thanks to the improvement in medical services over the past six decades, average life expectancy in Tibet jumped from 35.5 to 67 years by the end of 2010, says a white paper issued by the Chinese government on Monday …

“Improvement has also been seen in education.

“The enrollment rate for school-age children was less than 2 percent and illiteracy rate was as high as 95 percent among the young and the middle-aged in 1951. …

“Sixty years later, the enrollment rate for primary school-age children of the Tibetan ethnic group has reached 99.2 percent and the illiteracy rate among the young and the middle-aged has fallen to 1.2 percent …”

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.

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