China rail link destroying Tibet: Dalai Lama – Reuters

From Reuters, via The Australian:

THE Dalai Lama accused Beijing today of using a new railway link to flood Tibet with beggars, prostitutes and the unemployed, destroying its culture and traditions.

“The railway link is a real danger,” said the spiritual leader, who fled to India from Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

“Beggars, handicapped people are coming. Their number is huge. Also jobless people facing difficulty in Chinese mainland are coming to Lhasa,” he told a religious gathering in the Indian city of Mumbai.

The 1,142km rail link opened last July. The world’s highest, it passes through spectacular icy peaks on the Tibetan highlands, touching altitudes of 5,000m. Beijing says the 13-hour connection from China’s far-western province of Qinghai to Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, will bring economic and social development to the long-isolated region. [Full Text]

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