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Tibet’s Development Shared by All Ethnic Groups, Governor Says

China rejected claims by Tibetans that ethnic Han Chinese settlers have disproportionately benefitted from a more-than 100-fold growth of the economy since it took over the mountainous region in 1951.

The economic development of Tibet is shared by people from all ethnic groups, with Tibetans making up about 90 percent of the population, Padma Choling, governor of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, said in Beijing today.

“There’s no such thing as the Han ethnic people enjoying most of the economic development,” he said at a press conference marking the 50 year anniversary of Chinese rule.

Tibet’s gross domestic production reached 50.7 billion yuan ($7.8 billion) in 2010, 111.8 times more than half a century ago, Padma Choling said. Spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled into exile eight years after Chinese troops took over the capital of Lhasa, and Tibetan groups have since accused the government of discrimination against indigenous people and exploitation of the region’s resources.

The Han is an ethnic group in China constituting the majority of the country’s population. Anti-Chinese riots in Tibet in 2008 were the largest in almost two decades. China says at least 19 people died in the unrest. Tibet’s government-in-exile said more than 200 Tibetans were killed in the ensuing crackdown.

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