A Train to the Roof of the World – Andreas Lorenz

From Spiegel Online:

0,1020,657108,00The new railroad line, which nudges Tibet closer to the rest of the world, has also inaugurated a new way of thinking about time in the Himalayas. Residents and visitors are no longer forced to travel through the mountains on steep and tortuous roads or pay costly airfare. The train is inexpensive and comfortable, and the trip from Beijing takes only 48 hours.

Seventy thousand Chinese and foreign tourists have already taken the “heavenly railroad,” as the Chinese call it, to the Tibetan capital since early July. Young, educated Chinese are especially fascinated by Tibet’s exotic culture. Arriving in Lhasa, they encounter a world in which religion still shapes the daily lives of most local inhabitants. [Full text]

In the same issue of Spiegel, read an interview with Zhang Qingli, the head of the Communist Party in Tibet, and see a slideshow of the Qinghai-Tibet railway.

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