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Tibet

Tibet Project

We visited the villages and school surrounding Hongyuan, where we found that the water supply line is frequently inoperable. USU-EWB wanted to design a solar-heated water system to provide water for showers and washbasins at these schools. Unfortunately, however, the Chinese Government informed USU-EWB and the other universities working in the region (Tufts) that they would not approve permits into Tibet for our teams in the future.

Tibet's History

For nearly 2000 years Tibet was a nation that maintained its own government, religions, language, laws, and customs. In 1949, however, the Chinese army crossed into Tibet, defeated the small Tibetan army, and began occupying the country. In 1950 the United States joined other countries and the United Nations to formally condemn the Chinese "aggression" and "invasion" of Tibet. During the New Year celebration in 1959, crowds of Tibetans demonstrated in the streets of the capitol city of Lhasa. The Chinese responded with massive military might and killed between 10,000 and 15,000 unarmed Tibetans in the sacred Buddhist precincts of Jokhang.

Today Tibet is an official "autonomous region" of China. This means an ethnic Tibetan heads the regional government, but major decisions are made by the central government in Beijing. Chinese members of the Communist Party are the most powerful officials everywhere in Tibet, even in the rural communities.

Subsistence agriculture is the primary source of existence in Tibet. Families grow grains, potatoes, and various fruits and vegetables. In the Tibetan Plateau region most people raise yak herds and other livestock for their primary occupation.

Read more about Tibet at www.SaveTibet.org.

Tibet Facts

Tibet: Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)

Location: Southwest China, bordered by the Himalayas, Karakoram Range, and the Kunlun Mountains

Area: 471,841 sq. miles

Climate: Cold, dry. Average temp is 34F

Natural Resources: Gold, copper, uranium, salt, iron ore, coal, and borax

Population: 2,620,000

Nationality: Mongolian

Ethnic Groups: Tibetan, Han Chinese

Languages: Tibetan, Mandarin Chinese

Government Type: Communist

Capital: Lhasa

Agriculture: Wheat barley, potatoes, millet, turnips, grazing yaks, goats, and sheep