Chinese authorities plan Tibetan model villages

by Emily DUNBAR on June 25, 2012

The Chinese government will spend over £40 million constructing 22 model villages across Tibet, in an attempt to boost foreign tourism to the often-troubled region.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, these villages will be built in Nyingchi County, the picturesque region that is around 200 miles to the southeast of Lhasa, Tibet’s capital.  China, attempting to expand Tibet’s economy with the hope of winning over the region’s ethnic residents, wants to transform Nyingchi into a world-renowned tourist destination.

Government officials have said that residents will be able to make more money by providing hotel services from their family homes. However, the plan might be opposed by a large portion of Tibetans, who continue to accuse the Chinese government of persecuting them on religious grounds while assimilating their cultural, all in the hope of economic development.

China’s announcement comes just a matter of weeks after the decision was made to ban all foreigners from visiting Tibet – a move that was partly motivated by several months of both protests and unrest over Chinese rule. Last month, two Tibetans shockingly set themselves alight outside Lhasa’s Jokhang temple, the Buddhist shrine that often welcomes thousands of visitors per day.

While at least 37 people carried out protests of a similar nature since March last year, the mentioned incident was the first-ever recorded self-immolation in Lhasa, an incredibly popular destination for tourists from overseas.

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