Tibetans' life opens foreign reporters' eyes
A group of foreign reporters, who just concluded a week-long tour of a Tibetan-inhabited area in southwest China, have said they were amazed by the experience.
The reporters from Germany, Japan, the United States and Singapore, visited monasteries, schools and homes in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, from Aug. 22 to 28.
Deeply impressed by the daily lives of Tibetans and the local infrastructure, Yohei Tada with Japan’s “Chemical Daily,” said the visit completely changed his opinion of the area.
He had imagined a remote, inaccessible area with neither power or Internet.
“All the people we spoke to said they hoped their children would go to a good university one day. Not necessary leave and live in a bigger city, but learn something that would enrich their own community,” said Lea Simone Deuber, a reporter with a German magazine.
“I was impressed to see how much the Tibetans preserve their own culture and at the same time are open to new developments,” she said.
“In addition, I was impressed about how much people value education and how hard they work to ensure their children have access to opportunities,” she added.
According to a teacher-turned-official of Hongyuan County, local Tibetans value education much more than before.
In the past, herdsmen underestimated the change that education could bring and so schooling was not important, said the official.
Now, however, all families send their children to school and many better-off families will send their offspring to schools in cities like Chengdu, the provincial capital, Mianyang or Dujiangyan, he said.
The foreigners were also impressed by tourism development. Many villagers have increased their income by opening their Tibetan-style houses to tourists as homestays.
“I think that developing tourism can help raise the living standards of herders while promoting their culture at the same time,” said Koh Ji Min, a reporter with Singapore’s Channel NewsAsia.
Sebastian Hesse, with German broadcaster ARD, said he would consider taking his family to visit Hongyuan, saying he thought it was an excellent place for a holiday.