Lhasa building boom heightens divisions in Tibet

By Helen Roxburgh, Hong Kong Free Press. 

Under towering mountains, cranes and newly-built blocks of flats stretch up to blue skies around the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, as a construction boom creates a two-tier system of property wealth between state workers and everyone else.

A huge infrastructure and building drive in Tibet has brought airports, roads, railways and new flats, which Beijing says are improving life across the remote mountainous plateau.

But the boom is also changing the historic Buddhist city and pushing property prices out of reach of many residents, Tibetans say, sharpening divisions in a region well-known for discontent under Chinese control.

A short distance from the Potala Palace, the former home of the exiled Dalai Lama, construction workers crawl over high-end condo towers being built by Chinese developer Country Garden.

They are priced similarly to many major Chinese cities, despite average Tibetan incomes still being among the country’s lowest.

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