Criticism of environmental record in Tibet defended

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 March, 2003, 12:00am


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The central government has defended its environmental and development record in Tibet while denouncing critics as seeking to split the nation.

The State Council's Information Office on Monday released a white paper outlining the government's record on environmental protection in Tibet.

The report, excerpts of which were released by Xinhua, said the government had effectively managed the region's ecology while pushing forwards with economic and social development.

'The environmental quality in Tibet is good, and most parts are basically in a primordial state,' the report said.

It said that thanks to the central government, the region was protected by strict environmental laws.

It said forest cover had increased five-fold since the 1950s and that the central government had spent about 368 million yuan (HK$347.1 million) on environmental protection since 1996. It added that an additional 22 billion yuan would be spent by 2050.

The paper also touched on the region's agriculture, species diversity, and desertification, admitting the region suffered poor water and soil conservation.

Critics including the Dalai Lama have accused the government of wreaking ecological havoc and cultural destruction in Tibet while exploiting the region's natural resources. They have voiced particularly strong opposition to the new Qinghai-Tibet railway project.

The report labelled such criticisms as part of a campaign by the 'Dalai-clique' who 'shut their eyes to the progress in the ecological improvement and environmental protection work in Tibet and spread rumours all over the world'.