China’s Money and Migrants Pour Into Tibet and Stir Unrest

The New York Times reports from Tibet on the impact the surge of Han Chinese migrants is having on the region:

…If the influx of money and people has brought new prosperity, it has also deepened the resentment among many Tibetans. Migrant Han entrepreneurs elbow out Tibetan rivals, then return home for the winter after reaping profits. Large Han-owned companies dominate the main industries, from mining to construction to tourism.

“Why did I come here? To make money, of course!” said Xiong Zhahua, a migrant from Sichuan Province who spends five months a year running a restaurant on the shores of chilly Nam Tso, the lake north of Lhasa.

A rare five-day official tour of Tibet, though carefully managed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, provided a glimpse of life in the region during a period of tight political and military control.

Tibet is more stable after security forces quelled the worst uprising against Chinese rule in five decades. But the increased ethnic Han presence — and the uneven benefits of Han-led investment — has kept the region on edge.

Some Chinese officials acknowledge the disenfranchisement of Tibetans, though they defend the right of Han to migrate here.

July 24, 2010 6:38 PM
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