Chugga Chugga Choo Choo, moving toward Mt. Everest

via Railways in Tibet: Mount Everest is singing for joy | The Economist.

“MOUNT EVEREST is singing for joy and the Brahmaputra River swirling with happiness”. Or so says an official Chinese newspaper (using the Tibetan names, Qomolangma and the Yarlung Tsangpo). After much delay, China has started to extend its controversial railway line in Tibet that will draw more tourists to the mountain and boost trade with South Asia. How happy the outcome will be is not so clear.

The proposed railway will bring more Han Chinese to Tibet, further diluting the influence of Tibetans, and possibly damaging the environment of Qomolangma.

It also challenges India’s influence in the region, and could ignite more unrest in the area of Arunachal Pradesh, claimed by both India, who controls it, and China, who wants it.

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Unease in Tibet Over Influx of China’s Money and Migrants

At the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, images of the exiled Dalai Lama have been banned.

via Unease in Tibet Over Influx of China’s Money and Migrants – NYTimes.com.

Han Chinese workers, investors, merchants, teachers and soldiers are pouring into remote Tibet. After the violence that ravaged this region in 2008, China’s aim is to make Tibet wealthier — and more Chinese.

And its working.  Although the vast majority of the permanent residents of Tibet are Tibetan, the migrant Han Chinese are uncounted, and their numbers are growing.   They are the managers and owners of the new factories that employ the Tibetans, who are likely to be unskilled laborers.

China is also interested in the reserves of metals in Tibet, including the country’s largest chromium and cooper resources. Ethnic tension has increased along with the influx of migrants.

… a heavy security presence is needed to keep control of Lhasa. Around the Barkhor, the city’s central market, paramilitary officers in riot gear, all ethnic Han, march counterclockwise around the sacred Jokhang Temple, against the flow of Tibetan pilgrims. Armed men stand on rooftops near the temple.

After the riots of 2008 the Chinese government is taking no chances, and the people of Tibet are growing increasingly frustrated.

Tibetans interviewed independently expressed fear of the security forces and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

One high school student complained that Tibetans could not compete for jobs with Han migrants who arrived with high school diplomas. “Tibetans just get low-end jobs,” he said.

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