The Chinese government intends to invest more than £40 million into building 22 model villages in Tibet in an attempt to entice more tourists to the country, the Xinhua News Agency has announced. The plan revolves around Nyingchi County, 200 miles south of the capital Lhasa. If it goes ahead, the scenic sacred mountainous area will be transformed into a touristic destination for holidaymakers across the globe.
This announcement comes just weeks after Beijing's decision to ban foreigners from entering Tibet, which forced hundreds of travellers to cancel their trip during the peak season. The move was made in reaction to months of Tibetan protests against religious oppression by the Republic of China. The strife reached a peak in May this year when two Tibetans self-immolated outside Jokhang Temple, a major tourist site in the capital.
According to the Chinese Government, the aim of the model villages is to rejuvenate the Tibetan economy, which the Chinese government hopes will win them Tibetan support. Beijing maintains that locals will also benefit from the model villages on a personal financial level, for example by earning a living providing family hotel services. However, it remains to be seen whether Tibet's residents will oppose the proposals and react against China with more intense unrest, particularly considering the holy significance of Nyingchi County.
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