Tourists pose for photos in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, on Feb 1, 2023. (Photo by Palden Nyima/For chinadaily.com.cn)
The Tibet autonomous region has made remarkable achievements in high-quality development over the past decade, and will further improve its growth pattern based on its advantages, officials and experts said.
Tibet has maintained rapid economic growth while investing heavily in education, healthcare, culture, housing, employment and social security, and has caught up with the national effort to build a well-off socialist society in an all-round way, officials and experts said at the 2023 Forum on the Development of Xizang, also known as Tibet, in Beijing on Tuesday.
Wang Junzheng, Party secretary of the Tibet autonomous region, said at the forum Tibet's high-quality development will adhere to the general principle of seeking progress while maintaining stability while actively serving and integrating into the new development paradigm.
"We will attach great importance to cultivating and developing industries and the real economy, continuously optimize the business environment, vigorously promote the development of strategic emerging industries such as clean energy, digital economy, general aviation and cultural tourism, and actively develop industries closely related to the production and daily life of the people, striving to protect and improve people's livelihoods," he said.
Tibet is an important channel for China to open up to South Asia, and will vigorously revitalize border areas and enrich its people by upgrading infrastructure, public services and industrial development, improving port clearance capacity, expanding border trade and further deepening cooperation with neighboring countries and regions, he said.
Maria Gustava, ambassador of Mozambique to China, said during her visit to Tibet, she witnessed the Tibetans' strong commitment to hard work, conservation of the ecology and upholding peace and stability in order to consolidate achievements made so far in poverty alleviation.
"The region has gained vitality and is really going through a tremendous transformation and development…Tibetan people are living in much better conditions and their traditions, culture, language, religion and beliefs are being preserved and respected," she said.
She also praised the philosophy of inclusiveness pursued in all endeavors for rural development, enabling each region to develop based on its conditions and protect local cultures.
According to the regional government, the gross domestic product of Tibet increased from 71 billion yuan ($10 billion) in 2012 to 213.2 billion yuan in 2022. Some 628,000 poor families were lifted out of absolute poverty during the same period.
In the first quarter of 2023, Tibet's GDP grew 8.2 percent, and per-capita disposable income for urban and rural residents increased by 4.1 percent and 6.4 percent respectively, ranking at the forefront of the country.
Wang Jingcai, deputy director of the region's development and reform commission, said Tibet boasts significant advantages in and unique characteristics such as natural resources like mountains, water, forests and grasslands and abundant energy reserves, mineral resources and tourism resources, which will support the region's comprehensive development.
"Tibet's overall strength has made significant progress, from lagging behind by a significant margin to advancing at a rapid pace, and Tibet's high-quality development is now on the express lane," she said.
Boosted by infrastructure interconnectivity including the China-Nepal Railway, Tibet has great potential, she said. In recent years, Wang added, its total economic output has achieved new breakthroughs, fixed asset investment has grown rapidly, the pace of infrastructure construction has accelerated, characteristic industries have been promoted and the living standards of residents have significantly improved, further narrowing the gap between Tibet and other provinces and cities.
In addition, education in Tibet has also achieved comprehensive progress, providing support for the region's overall development, with unprecedented enrollment rates and student populations at all levels and types of education, said Dang Jing, head of the regional education department.
By the end of 2022, Tibet had 3,409 schools and 944,000 students, accounting for one quarter of the total population. The gross enrollment rate for preschool education is 89.5 percent, compulsory education is 97.7 percent, high school is 91 percent and higher education is 57.4 percent. The average length of education for the working-age population is 10.2 years, Dang said.