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Eyes on Tibet(April. 06)

  • Source : China Tibet Broadcast Station Author : Time : 04/06/2016 Editor : Tenzin Chodron

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    Hello and welcome to Eyes on Tibet, brought to you by China Tibet Broadcasting. I’m your host Xiaoyue in Lhasa. Coming up on today’s show, great changes on people’s life have taken place in an ethnic township in the border county Medog, especially after the highway reached Medog in 2013. Stay tuned with me to find out more. 

     

    Located in the southeast of the Tibet Autonomous Region and at the lower branch of Yarlung Tsangpo River, Medog County, known as “secret lotus”, covers an area of more than 30,000 km². The average altitude of the county is only 1,200 m above sea level.  

     

    Medog has a favorable climate caused by the relatively low elevations in parts of the county (down to just 600 m above sea level in the Yarlung Zangbo river valley) and by the South Asian monsoon, which brings moisture from the Indian Ocean. This has led to lush vegetation and many species of wild animals. There are subalpine coniferous forests in the north and temperate coniferous forest in the south in the low-lying area of the Yarlung Tsangpo gorges. Besides, the annual average temperature is about 16and the lowest temperature in the year is above zero. 

     

    Damu Lhoba Ethnic Township is located in the northeast of Medog county seat. As a Lhoba Ethnic Township, there are, in fact, people from six different ethnic groups such as Menba, Tibetan and Han. Gesang Droga is head of Damu Lhoba Ethnic Township. She introduced the latest demographics of the township. 

     

    “I’m Gesang Droga, head of Damu Lhoba Ethnic Township. I’m a member of the national committee of CPPCC. Our ethnic township has 1089 people and 660 of them belong to Lhoba ethnic groups, while the rest people are from 6 different ethnic groups.”  

         

    The around 3,000 people of the Lhoba ethnic minority have their homes mainly in southeastern Tibet. Lhoba people speak a distinctive language belonging to the Tibetan-Myanmese language family, Chinese-Tibetan language system. Having no written script, Lhoba people used to keep records by notching wood or tying knots. 

        

     In the past, Lhoba men and women are mainly farmers skilled at making bamboo objects and other crafts. They bartered such objects and animal hides, musk, and dye for farm tools, salt, wool, clothing, grain and tea from Tibetan traders. Their pilgrimages to monasteries were good opportunities for bartering. 

       

     Hunting is essential to the Lhoba people. Young boys start early to join adults on hunting trips. Upon reaching manhood they tracked animals in deep forests either collectively or alone. The animals they caught were partly distributed among villagers, partly used for bartering. 

     

    Customs, habits and dress of different clan members vary. Men in northern Luoyu wear sleeveless, buttonless, knee-length black jackets of sheep's wool. They wear helmet-like hats either made from bear skin or woven from bamboo stripes or rattan laced with bear skin. They go barefooted and wear bamboo earrings, necklaces and carry bows and arrows or wear swords at their side. Women have narrow-sleeved blouses and skirts of sheep's wool. Apart from their silver or brass earrings, bracelets and necklaces, the women wear a variety of waist ornaments such as shells, silver coins, iron chains and bells. Heavy ornaments are considered a symbol of wealth.

     

    Diets also vary in different localities. Staple foods are dumplings made of maize or millet flour, rice or buckwheat. In places near Tibetan communities people have zamba, potatoes, buttered tea and spicy food. 

      

    Conditions have greatly improved for the Lhoba people after the liberation of Tibet in 1951. Production has been boosted and people's living standards and general health have been improved. With the help of their Han and Tibet neighbors, they have adopted advanced, intensive farming methods. Before liberation, most of the Lhoba people were illiterate. Now children accept education, and more and more young people are studying in higher institutions. Also, there are clinics and health centers in Lhoba villages. 

     

    As a Lhoba ethnic and the one and only member of the national committee of CPPCC among Lhoba people, Gesang Drogala has noticed the great changes happened in Damu Lhoba Ethnic Township. She introduces the present economic situations in the township.  

     

    “In 2015, our Township achieved the total revenue of 15,743,200 Yuan; per capita income reached 10,033 Yuan, which includes government subsidies like subsidy for border inhabitants and public welfare forest subsidy, 1000 yuan or so per capita, and the subsidy increases each year.” 

     

    Gesang Drogala talks happily about the subsidies the local people could receive.  

     

    “The locals could enjoy the subsidy aimed at prospering frontier and enriching people. There’s also subsidy on industry. In a word, more and more subsidies are in place and benefit local people.” 

     

    Unlike other parts of Tibet, Medog county receives plenty of rain, thus the local people can grow tropical and subtropical fruit like banana and lemon, and plant crops such as rice and chicken-claw millet. This is Gesang Drogala again. 

     

     

    “The highway just reached us in Medog a few years ago. The main source of income comes from planting crops like corn and rice. The second major source of income stems from transport service. Thirdly, some people began to run family inn in the past two years. Our government gives a support to those people who run family inn that mainly provide food and accommodation to tourists. This is still in a start-up stage.” 

      

    Since the highway was built to Medog County in 2013, the tourism industry there has seen rapid development. Last year, Medog welcomed a total of 70,800 tourists. Meanwhile, since Medog began selling tickets for entrance to its scenic areas in 2014, total ticket sales have exceeded 5 million yuan. 

     

    The county is famous at home and abroad for its natural ecology and highland tropical climate. It is knows as a “hiker’s paradise”. Tourists think very highly of the mysterious and unique cultures of the local Menba and Lhoba minorities.  

     

    Gesang Drogala shows her wish to develop the local tourism industry. She says more and more local people ask her and her colleagues about the ways to attract tourists and the government subsidizing programs on tourism.  

     

    “Next, we’ll focus on tourism. Now the revenue of our township from tourism is not high enough, about 400,000 Yuan. An increasing number of local people come to ask us the government subsidy policies on tourism.” 

    Zhaxi Rural Inn is the leading family inn in the township. It could not develop so well today if without the government support.   

     

    “Since I began working in the township, there was only one family inn called Zhaxi Rural Inn, which is now the most profitable one in our township with an annual net income of 80,000 to 90,000 Yuan. This leading family inn has been supported by county-level Poverty Relief Office and Ethnic Affairs Commission. With the subsidy, Zhaxi Rural Inn repaired the house and rebuilt the surroundings with ethnic characteristics. It’s the best family inn in our township, another seven or eight family inns have developed gradually.”   

     

    Next time, we’ll continue to talk more about Gesang Drogala’s work and the changes taking place in Damu Lhoba Ethnic Township.  

     

    With that we wrap up this edition of Eyes on Tibet. “Eyes on Tibet” is brought to you every Wednesday and Thursday. More information about program could be found at our website www.vtibet.com/en/. I’m Xiaoyue in Lhasa. Thanks for listening! Wish you a pleasant weekend…see you next time. 

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