Tibet: Plan to Increase Urban Population Entails 280,000 New Chinese Immigrants
The Chinese administration of Tibet has announced a plan to increase the urban population of the region by a further 30 percent by 2020. The plan entails moving approximately 280,000 ethnic Chinese into Tibet. However, Tibetan activitists warn that this will further threaten the religious, cultural and national identity of the region.
Below is an article published by The Speaker:
During a government meeting on urbanization this week [January 2015], the administration of Tibet stated their decision to increase the permanent urban population of Tibet by 30 percent by 2020 — a figure that represents roughly 280,000 new Chinese immigrants to Tibet.
The urban population of Tibet has risen dramatically since the 1980s, when China launched a “National Strategic Project to Develop the West” following the end of the Cultural Revolution.
Before the campaign, under 300,000 people lived in 31 towns and cities in Tibet. According to Chinese estimates for 2013, over 740,000 people now live in 140 towns and cities in Tibet. The new push will bring that number to over one million.
Because the majority of new residents in Tibet are ethnic Chinese, many Tibetans have expressed concern about a threat to their distinct cultural, religious and national identity. The Chinese population has increased in all Tibetan regions since China invaded Tibet in 1959.
In the administrative capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Lhasa, Chinese outnumber Tibetans three to one, while in 1990 there were only 81,200 Chinese in all of TAR.
In addition to the Chinese resident population measured in government figures, there are also an additional 300,000 to 500,000 (150,000 to 250,000 in TAR) ethnic Chinese stationed in Tibet as cadres, administrative staff, and ordinary and military police.
The chairman of the Tibetan regional government, Losang Jamcan, said at the meeting that Tibet still lagged behind many regions of China, and that urbanization especially was lagging behind the rest of China.
Losang said that Tibet wanted to improve public services in urban areas in order to attract more people to move to Tibet, and to boost local economies.