From The Opposite End of China Blog:
With little hope of generating enough profits to match a price tag of $3.7 billion, the rail line to Tibet that opened this past summer has generated a lot of scepticism about the motives of the Chinese government. Many have worried about the influx of tourist hordes into a once-remote area. Some have worried about the military implications. Others have worried about the impact on the environment (from Xinhua):
There are 60.9 million hectares of national nature reserve on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau through which the 1,142-kilometer railway runs, but Huang Difu, chief commander of the Qinghai-Tibet Construction Headquarters, revealed how environmental protection was made an expensive priority.
And the loser is… the environment! Congratulations to all of you whom – albeit without a great deal of scientific conviction – just somehow knew that this railway was going to ruin the pristine environment on the Tibet-Qinghai plateau (from Mineweb):[Full Text]