Intro to Tibet
Tibet Autonomous Region (西藏自治区 Xīzàng Zìzhìqū) is a province-level region of the People's Republic of China. It is governed by a People's Government, led by a Chairman. In practice, however, the Chairman is subordinate to the branch secretary of the Communist Party of China. As a matter of convention, the Chairman has almost always been an ethnic Tibetan, while the party secretary has almost always been a non-Tibetan. The current Chairman is Padma Choling and the current party secretary is Zhang Qingli, who was previously the party secretary of Tai'an and Lanzhou, and commander of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
Tibet is truly the roof of the world. This high plateau in the far west of China is set along the northern edge of the Himalayas. Here you find many of the worlds highest mountains including the famous Mount Everest. Tibet is one of the least populated regions of China. As such, it remains largely unspoilt by modernity. Here you will find peasants and monks living a lifestyle that has remained unchanged since time immemorial. Lasha, the capital city of the region, is the main destination for tourists. The key tourist attraction being the Potala Palace in the centre of the city.
To the north, Tibet borders Xinjiang and Qinghai regions. To the east lies Sichuan province. Yunnan province is to the south east. The souther borders of Tibet mark the international borders with several countries including India, Bhutan and Nepal. Few roads and only one rail line cross Tibet, which is extremely high in altitude and very mountainous. The vast distances between towns and cities means that most tourists only visit a few of the most well known tourists sites.
Travel within Tibet is usually no problem. However, at certain times the Chinese government posts travel restrictions on foreigners visiting this region at short notice. Thus if you are planing visit Tibet, it is advisable to have a backup plan just in case. At all times, foreign tourists are required to apply for a special travel permit to enter the region. This permit is in addition to your visa for entering China. Your tour operator will be able to arrange this permit for you.
Culture of Tibet
The Tibet Autonomous Region has the lowest population density among China's province-level administrative regions, mostly due to its mountainous and harsh geographical features.
In 2000, 92.8% of the population were ethnic Tibetans, who mainly adhere to Tibetan Buddhism and Bön.
Han Chinese comprised 6.1% of the population However, the region has seen some Han migrants began early in the decade, especially since the 2006 completion of a railway line linking Tibet with the rest of China.
Muslim ethnic groups such as the Hui and the Salar have long inhabited Tibet Autonomous Region. Another Muslim group is the Tibetan Muslims, who are ethnically Tibetans but believe in Islam. They are counted as Tibetans by the Chinese government.
Smaller tribal groups such as the Monpa and Lhoba, who follow a combination of Tibetan Buddhism and spirit worship, are found mainly in the southeastern parts of the region.
Industry of Tibet
The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture. Due to limited arable land, livestock raising is the primary occupation on the Tibetan Plateau. This includes the raising of sheep, cattle, goats, camels, yaks, donkeys and horses. The main crops grown are barley, wheat, buckwheat, rye, potatoes, oats, rapeseeds, cotton and assorted fruits and vegetables. In recent years the economy has begun evolving into a multiple structure with agriculture and tertiary industry developing side by side.
Development of GDP
||GDP in Bill.Yuan
Tibet's GDP in 2008 was 39.6 billion yuan. The Central Chinese government exempts Tibet from all taxation and provides 90% of Tibet's government expenditure.
In recent years Tibet's tourism has expanded rapidly, especially after the finish of Qingzang Railway in July 2006. Tibet received 2.5 million tourists in 2006, including 150,000 foreigners. According to the Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Qiangba Puncog, Tibet's economy has grown on average 12% per year from 2000 to 2006. The per capita GDP reached 10,000 RMB in 2006 for the first time in Tibet's history.
In the first six months of 2008, economic growth in Tibet was halved after the Lhasa riots led to a slump in tourism, consumption and output. The region’s economy expanded 7.4 percent in the period from 2007, down from 14.7 percent in the year-earlier period.
From January 18-20, 2010 a national conference on Tibet and areas inhabited by Tibetans in Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai was held in China and a substantial plan to improve development of the areas was announced. The conference was attended by Chinese President Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang signaling the commitment of senior Chinese leaders to development of Tibet and ethnic Tibetan areas. The plan calls for improvement of rural Tibetan income to national standards by 2020 and free education for all rural Tibetan children. The country has invested 310 billion yuan (about 45.6 billion U.S. dollars) in Tibet since 2001. Tibet's GDP was expected to reach 43.7 billion yuan in 2009, up 170 percent from that in 2000 and posting an annual growth of 12.3 percent over the past nine years.
Tourists were first permitted to visit the Tibet Autonomous Region in the 1980s. While the main attraction is the Potala Palace in Lhasa, there are many other popular tourist destinations including Jokhang Temple, Namtso Lake, and Tashilhunpo Monastery. Some areas remain restricted to tourists. To visit tibet, foreign tourists must apply for a entry permit from the Tibet police. Most tourist agents in China will be able to assist you in getting this entry permit.