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Sichuan-Tibet highway leads to 6-decade development in Tibet

07-12-2011 11:30 BJT Special Report:This is Tibet |

Road is the witness of a period of history, usually connecting two or more destinations and helping enhance communications between people of different areas. For Tibetan people living at an average elevation of above 4,000 meters, road not only shortens the distance and enhances the communications with the outside world, but also helps them shake off poverty which they had never dreamed 60 years ago.

With the start of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway renovation project on April 13, 1950, Tibet ushered in a new era in the history of transportation, a spotlight in the history of Tibet's development.

There was no single vehicle in Tibet 60 years ago, not to speak a decent highway in a modern sense. On this isolated plateau, the only thing that can "run" is the wheel of law on the top of temples and monasteries.

In the past, people had to use mules, manpower or sometimes cow-hide rafts to carry things or people from here to there. It took nearly one year or more from Chengdu of Sichuan to Lhasa. What is worse, the sluggish mule and Tibetan yak, the only means of transportation, usually died of starvation and coldness on the way.

In 1949, the People's Republic of China was officially found. In order to expel the imperialistic force from Tibet, liberate the whole China and defend the frontier in the southwest of China, Chairman Mao Zedong made a historical decision to liberate Tibet peacefully and dispatched the Detachment of the PLA Army No.18 to enter Tibet.

"In the matter of peaceful liberation of Tibet, politics is the main issue and more important than military affairs," said Deng Xiaoping at the work conference to work out the overall plan for the Army No.18.

After listening to the report of Cheng Mingyi, chief of the Army No.18, Liu Bocheng also said, "The key to liberate Tibet is transportation. In a sense, building roads and improving transportation are more important than taking battles."

On October 10,1950, with the first five-star red flag slowly rose on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Chamo Prefecture in the east of Tibet was liberated. The battle crushed the splittists' scheme of separating Tibet from China with the backup of imperialistic forces and brought the brutal feudal serfdom system to an end. What is vital is that the prologue of the glorious peaceful liberation in Tibet just began from here.

In the meanwhile, the construction of highways linking Tibet with the outside world was in the full swing.

With high elevation and harsh geographical conditions, the building of Sichuan-Tibet Highway is an unprecedented challenge to Tibet's highway construction. The Ya'an-Lhasa section covering a total length of 2,255 kilometers was completed in such a lofty mountain range. On May 28, 1951, five days after the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the construction of 1,572-kilometers Manigange-Lhasa section officially started. Five days ago, the workers were excited about the good tidings of the peaceful liberation of Tibet.

May 23, 1951 is a historical and significant day for the people all over Tibet and the whole China. It was on that day the "17-Article Agreement" was signed in Beijing—an agreement in the interest of all Tibetan people.

The reborn Tibet is eager for highways.


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