By Global Times
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, has visited Nyingchi in Southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region before he made an inspection tour to Lhasa, the regional capital, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday.
During his visit, Xi inspected a number of key local infrastructure projects including the Sichuan-Tibet Railway project and the Lhasa-Nyingchi, an important rail line under the project.
On Thursday, Xi went to Nyingchi railway station, learning about the overall designing of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway and the operation of Lhasa-Nyingchi railway section, which started service in June and then took the newly-opened train to the regional capital Lhasa. He inspected the construction along the railway during the ride.
Nyingchi is an important and strategic transportation hub along the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, which extends more than 1,740 kilometers from Chengdu, capital of Southwest China’s Sichuan to Lhasa. A major and strategic section of the railway that connects Lhasa with Nyingchi started operation in June, where China’s most advanced Fuxing bullet train for the first time ran on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and passed through the Yarlung Zangbo River. The Lhasa-Nyingchi railway is also Tibet’s first electrified railway.
Analysts said that Xi’s visit shows the central government’s emphasis on boosting the economic growth and stability of Tibet as well as improving local residents’ livelihoods in the next round of development.
“China has listed the development of border areas in the next five-year plan, and reducing the gap between western and eastern areas is also an important goal to be achieved marching toward the second centenary goal,” Lou Chunhao, deputy director of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Friday.
The Sichuan-Tibet Railway, once finished construction, will reduce the travel time from other regions to Tibet by 30 percent. Also, it will cut the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to 13 hours.
Observers said that the rail line could further enhance Tibet’s status in the national railway network, largely boost the region’s economic development and even generate
“As infrastructure connectivity improves, Tibet could also be built into a frontier of opening-up in Southwest China. For example, Tibet could facilitate trade and economic cooperation with Nepal,” Lou said, also noting that Tibet’s deep integration into the national rail enables the efficient transportation of bulk of goods and cargos in and out of the region.
In November 2020, China State Railway Group Co started the construction of Ya’an-Nyingchi section, another important section under the Sichuan-Tibet Railway.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s economic planner, has listed promoting the construction of the Sichuan-Tibet railway as a key project in the nation’s railway development. The Sichuan-Tibet Railway is the second railway running to Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.
Xi also made an inspection tour of Lhasa on Thursday. He visited the Drepung Monastery, Barkhor Street and the Potala Palace square in Lhasa to learn about the work on ethnic and religious affairs, the conservation of the ancient city, as well as the inheritance and protection of Tibetan culture.
Xi arrived at the Nyingchi Mainling Airport on Wednesday and was warmly welcomed by local people and officials of various ethnic groups. He then visited the Nyang River Bridge, to inspect the ecological preservation in the basin of the Yarlung Zangbo River and its tributary Nyang River on Wednesday.