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CPC Policies on the Governance of Xizang in the New Era: Approach and Achievements

The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China November 2023

China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-11 12:11

I. Full Implementation of the New Development Philosophy

The main driver of the CPC's endeavors is the people's aspirations for a better life. Xizang has followed the people-centered approach to development and applied the new development philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development in full. It is addressing imbalanced and insufficient development, optimizing the industrial structure, and boosting growth. Xizang had long been plagued by poverty, but absolute poverty has now been eradicated. The region has now achieved all objectives for development set in the 13th Five-year Plan (2016-2020) as scheduled, and the economy is robust.

– Sustainable, sound and rapid economic development

The economy has witnessed solid and steady growth. Seeing that the market plays the decisive role in the allocation of resources and the government better fulfills its functions, Xizang has extended the reform of the economic system, and coordinated the tasks of sustaining growth, promoting reform, making structural changes, improving people's lives, preventing risks, and ensuring social stability. As a result, the economy is growing more dynamic. In 2022 Xizang's GDP reached RMB213.26 billion, an increase by a factor of 2.28 compared with that in 2012 at constant prices, representing an average annual growth rate of 8.6 percent. Its economic growth rate ranked among the highest in China. The industrial structure is being rationalized and the capacity for endogenous development has been significantly increased.

High-quality development has been realized in agricultural industries that leverage local strengths. Developing highland barley industry, high-quality animal husbandry, and protected agriculture have been treated as priorities. The days are gone when the Tibetan people lived at the mercy of the elements. A large number of industrial bases have been built for agriculture and animal husbandry adapted to local conditions, such as the cultivation of high-quality highland barley, the production of edible oil, pollution-free vegetable planting, standardized dairy cattle scale farming, and yak and Tibetan sheep farming. In 2022, the total output value of farm and livestock products processing reached RMB6 billion.

Progress has been made in industrial development. Secondary industry has achieved strong growth, and a modern industrial system with local characteristics has been established. From 2012 to 2022, the added value of industry increased by a factor of 2.77, and both the depth and breadth of industrial chains were extended. In 2022 the number of industrial enterprises of designated size (enterprises with a turnover exceeding RMB20 million per annum) expanded by 1.1 percent over the previous year, and the number of hi-tech firms reached 15.

There is greater vitality in the tertiary industry. With the support of the central government, Xizang is being transformed into a world-class tourist destination. The Tibetan Shoton Festival in Lhasa, Mount Qomolangma Cultural Tourism Festival in Xigaze, Yalong Cultural Tourism Festival in Shannan, Nyingchi Peach Blossom Festival, and Nagqu Horse Racing Festival have all become flagship tourist attractions. From 2012 to 2022, the number of tourists to Xizang climbed from 10.58 million to 30.03 million, with revenues from tourism surging by a factor of 3.2 from RMB12.65 billion to RMB40.71 billion. Zhaxi Qoiden community of Changzhu Township in the city of Shannan is a base for promoting Yalong Zhaxi Xoiba Tibetan Opera, an item on the national intangible cultural heritage list. As more tourists go to the community to appreciate the opera, locals have begun to operate household hotels, which have become a major source of income. Nima Tsering, a leading performer of Tibetan Opera, said: "In the old days, we performed Tibetan Opera to please the serf owners. Today, we do it to help ourselves and others live a better life."

Further progress has been made in reform and innovation. To expand reform of the rural land system, a significant effort has been invested in improving the management systems of land contracts, the transfer of rural land use rights, and ownership registration. In 2014, farmers and herders in Baidui Village of Quxu County received their immovable property rights certificates, which means they have the right to use contracted land. This was the first time in the history of Xizang that land certificates had been issued to villagers. A project developing new types of agricultural business entity is under way, and the leading role of family farms and professional cooperatives has been given full play in rural reform.

Reform of state-owned enterprises and state capital has been extended and efforts have been made to strengthen, expand, and increase the returns on state capital. By 2022 the total assets of state-owned enterprises in Xizang had increased by a factor of 14.05 compared with 2012. The tax and business environment has been optimized. Reform of the system separating operating permits from business licenses has been advanced to simplify procedures and to reduce time for business registration. The number of different market entities in Xizang has grown from 124,400 in 2012 to 437,600 in 2022. Innovation drives development. The added value of Xizang's digital economy has increased by more than 10 percent.

Investment and financial services have brought more benefits to the people. From 2012 to 2022, a total of RMB1.73 trillion in financial subsidies from the central government went to Xizang. With the financial support of the state, investment in fixed assets increased by a factor of 3.33 times between 2012 and 2022. The investment focused on infrastructure, public services and other fields that could reinforce the foundations of Xizang's economic and endogenous development. A large number of major engineering projects related to long-term development have been set up over time, greatly improving the people's working and living conditions. A total of RMB465 billion has been invested. Private investments are thriving. The system of financial institutions continues to improve, and a multi-level, diverse, and multi-functional financial system has taken shape for banking, securities, insurance, and other relevant activities. The role of finance in supporting economic and social development has expanded significantly.

Exchange and cooperation with other parts of the country and the world has been strengthened. Exchange and cooperation with neighboring regions has been strengthened. Xizang has actively integrated itself into regional economic circles, including the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle, the greater Shangri-La Economic Circle, the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia-Qinghai Economic Circle, and the Yangtze River Economic Belt. It has worked to transform itself into a vital channel for the country's increasing opening up towards South Asia. Integrated reform of customs clearance has been launched, and the South Asia Standardization (Lhasa) Research Center has been established. The Gyirong cross-border economic cooperation zone was set up with the approval of the State Council. The comprehensive bonded zone in Lhasa has passed acceptance review. Gyirong Port has been expanded as an international highway port, realizing the bilateral opening up of China and Nepal. In 2022, the total value of Xizang's foreign trade stood at RMB4.6 billion, and its trading partners covered 95 countries and regions. Events such as the Forum on the Development of Xizang, International Symposium of the Xizang Think Tank, China Xizang Tourism and Culture Expo, and the Trans-Himalaya International Extreme Cycling Race have become important platforms for promoting exchanges, mutual learning and cooperation between Xizang and the rest of the world.

Nationwide support for Xizang development has delivered remarkable results. Paired-up assistance from other parts of the country has made consistent progress. Between 1994 and 2022, a total of 11,900 officials and professionals were dispatched in ten groupings to assist Xizang. Coordination among provinces, cities and state-owned enterprises that assist Xizang has been intensified, and new models have been piloted in coordinated development, industrial cooperation, and management of paired-up assistance. Efforts have been made to coordinate assistance in the forms of financial aid, technical support, poverty alleviation, and facilitation of industrial development and employment, as well as sending teams of medical and educational professionals. The model of assistance has changed from one mainly relying on external support, such as providing funds and launching projects, to a self-sustaining model including developing industries, offering technical support, and nurturing talent. During the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020), 17 provinces and municipalities launched 1,260 projects to assist Xizang, representing a total investment of RMB20 billion.

– Improved infrastructure

There has been considerable progress in transport infrastructure. Based on highways and supplemented by railways, aviation, and pipelines, a comprehensive transport system has been developed and steadily improved. By early 2022, the total road length exceeded 121,400 km, including 1,105 km of high-grade highway. A road network covering the whole of Xizang has been formed, with 20 national highways as the foundation, supported by 36 provincial highways together with many border roads and rural roads. The railway network was extended from 701 km in 2012 to 1,359 km in 2022. The Golmud-Lhasa section of the Qinghai-Xizang Railway has been renovated. The Ya'an-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Xizang Railway is under construction, and the Lhasa-Nyingchi section has entered service. The Fuxing high-speed train series is now operating in Xizang and reaches as far as Lhasa. The pipeline network transported 31 million tonnes-km in 2022. Tibet Airlines has been successfully launched, with 154 international and domestic routes connecting 70 cities. In 2022, passenger throughput handled by the Xizang Autonomous Regional Administration of CAAC reached 3.35 million.

Major breakthroughs have been made in the construction of the power grid. Xizang has made a historic shift in electrical power from rationing to surplus output. The Qinghai-Xizang, Sichuan-Xizang, central Xizang, and Ngari electric transmission lines have been built. Major electricity grid projects in western and southwestern regions have provided Xizang with ample supply of power. A safe and reliable power grid covers all counties/districts and main towns/townships in Xizang. The grid, described by the local people as a "grid of light, livelihood and happiness", has transmitted more than 13 billion kWh of clean energy-generated electricity. Now, 96.5 percent of villages have access to three-phase power supply. Electricity consumption increased from 2.88 billion kWh in 2012 to 11.98 billion kWh in 2022, recording one of the fastest rates of growth in China for many years. The Ngari power grid, operating in isolation for a long time, has now been connected with the central Xizang power network, and thus becomes part of the integrated regional network.

Further progress has been made in water conservation facilities. During the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-2020), total investment increased by 52 percent compared with the previous period, and several landmark water conservancy projects were completed. The Lalho project was selected as one of the top 10 water conservancy projects in China. The Pondo and Lalho water conservation projects are generating electricity and providing irrigation. The Xianghe River water conservation project and the supporting irrigation facilities are under construction. More local people are benefiting from water conservation. Flood control and disaster reduction efforts have become more effective and the eco-environment of Xizang's rivers and lakes has steadily improved. Safe drinking water is now available in most rural areas. The capacity to provide secure water supplies in urban and rural areas has been significantly increased.

Digital infrastructure has made remarkable progress. The autonomous region's e-government websites, unified basic cloud platform and big data control center are largely complete. Xizang has actively participated in the national move to channel more computing resources from its eastern areas to its less developed western regions. It has built its first cloud computing center, and received the title of national green data center. A total of 8,099 5G base stations and nearly 312,600 km of fiber-optic cables have been built. 5G networks now cover all counties/districts and main towns/townships in Xizang. All 3A-level (and above) scenic spots now have mobile signal coverage. Optical fiber broadband, 4G, radio and TV signals cover almost all administrative villages. Modern cloud and network integration has enabled local people to connect with the world online.

– Eradication of absolute poverty

Xizang has eradicated absolute poverty. It has implemented five key measures — new economic activities, relocation from uninhabitable areas, recompense for eco-protection, education, and social assistance for basic needs — through which people have been lifted out of poverty. By the end of 2019, through the basic strategy of targeted poverty alleviation, the autonomous region had lifted 628,000 registered poor residents and 74 counties/districts out of poverty. This represented victory in the battle against extreme poverty that had plagued Xizang for thousands of years. The per-capita income of those lifted out of poverty reached RMB13,800 in 2022, growing faster than the per-capita disposal income of rural residents. Those people lifted out of poverty have reliable access to food, clothing, housing, education and medical care, more harmonious living and working conditions, more convenient infrastructure and basic public services, and a proper social security system.

Rural revitalization has accelerated. Since 2021, Xizang has built a total of 300 beautiful and livable villages and created and certified 505 demonstration villages. Efforts have been made to develop high-standard farmland through mechanical deep tillage, build state-level demonstration farms for standardized livestock and poultry husbandry, and provide all townships with comprehensive service centers for agriculture and animal husbandry. The number of new rural collective economic organizations reached 6,172, resulting in higher-level and larger-scale agricultural production. The region has developed local highland industries and green and organic farming. Xizang now hosts four special industrial clusters, seven modern agricultural industrial parks, and eighteen towns with strong farming industries. The region has consolidated and expanded the outcomes of the fight against poverty. More than 200,000 former victims of extreme poverty have found jobs outside their hometowns. A total of 173 intangible cultural heritage workshops have been built, offering opportunities for people who have been lifted out of poverty to work at or close to their homes. Xizang is turning a new page in all-around rural revitalization.

– Promotion of common prosperity

Xizang has seen a rapid rise in incomes. By 2022, the per-capita disposable income of urban residents has risen to RMB48,753 from RMB18,363 in 2012, representing a 2.7-fold increase. The per-capita disposable income of rural residents more than tripled from RMB5,698 in 2012 to RMB18,209 in 2022. The income ratio between urban and rural residents dropped from 3.22 in 2012 to 2.67 in 2022, narrowing the income gap. The per-capita disposable income of the region's residents as a whole rose to RMB26,675 in 2022 from RMB8,568 in 2012, representing the country's highest growth rate for eight consecutive years since 2015.

The consumer market has been more buoyant. The retail sales of consumer goods increased by a factor of 2.3 from RMB31.84 billion in 2012 to RMB72.65 billion in 2022. In 2022, total freight turnover reached 13.09 billion tonnes-km, effectively expanding links between centers of production and centers of consumption. The revenue of Xizang's postal services (excluding direct revenue of postal savings banks) reached RMB744 million, and 178.83 million courier delivery packages had been handled in 2022, including 12.19 million express delivery packages. Nineteen large national e-commerce and express delivery businesses have settled in Xizang, and cold chain storage space stands at 113,000 square meters. E-commerce services are available at city, county, township and village levels. In 2022, online retail sales reached RMB9.14 billion.

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