Modern Media Brings Tibetans Closer to Outside

People's Daily, 20 December 2001

An increasing number of Tibetans are beginning to take an interest in the outside world through information from newspapers, TV programs and in recent years the Internet.

Located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the roof of the world, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region used to be closed to the outside world, due to its inaccessibility.

However, Tibet now has access to many newspapers, which allow local residents to catch up with great events around the country and the world.

Many domestic newspapers like the Global Times and South Weekend, have information about China and overseas, and cover political events as well as human interest stories, and are very popular among Tibetans.

Newspapers with sporting and entertainment information also sell well in the region.

The local newspaper industry is also taking shape. Currently, the Tibet Economic Daily has about 8,000 subscribers, of which 500 are individuals, according to statistics from the newspaper's publishing department.

The Lhasa Evening News now has over 10,000 subscribers, 20 to 30 percent of which is made up of individual customers, says the director in charge of the marketing of the Lhasa Evening News.

The rapid cultural development in Tibet has greatly promoted television, which gives Tibetans the chance to observe major events worldwide.

In Tibet, 76 percent of the population have television sets. This year, over 30 television and radio relay stations were built in the rural areas surrounding Lhasa, capital of Tibet.

Namgyai, a local truck driver, says that he was moved when he saw the live television broadcast of Beijing winning the bid for the 2008 Olympic Games.

This year is China's lucky year. I have watched on television the key match that brought China's football team into the World Cup finals. I also stayed up late at night to watch China finally signing the agreement to enter the World Trade Organization, says Namgyai.

Sangmo, an old retired woman, says that she has a 29-inch television set, which can receive nearly 40 channels.

I am glad that I can watch the news reports from Beijing and many other places in the country every evening, says Sangmo.

In addition, an increasing number of Tibetans are becoming hooked by the Internet.

Currently, Lhasa has about 35 Internet bars. Though it is a small number, they all attract a steady flow of customers who want to look up data or read news on line.

Mr. Zhao, manager of the Yitian Bar in eastern Lhasa, says that most Internet users in his bar prefer to browse the news pages. Those with a good command of English always visit English websites, such as

Tibet University student Migmar says, the Internet has provided students with easy access to outside information. I would never have imagined before that that we could find anything we want to know about the world simply by clicking a mouse lightly.