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Most Tibetans have stable jobs, income (09/05/02)

 Losang's parents are farmers and have never seen a train, but their son knows he will be one of the first Tibetan railway managers in the autonomous region.


Losang, 20, became a freshman at Lanzhou Railway Institute in northwest China's Gansu Province this week -- a long way from Zhanang County, in Tibet's Shannan Prefecture, where his parents grow highland barley.


It sounds like a dream to his mother and father -- their son earning his living from the railway, rather than the plough.


But to Cering Wanglag, 58, the future seems more assured. He works for Xigaze Prefecture People's Congress, the local legislature, while his wife, Qunggyi, works at the Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Bureau.


The couple feel content that their three sons all became civil servants after graduation. "The whole family's annual income is over 100,000 yuan (12,048 US dollars)," said Cering Wanglag.


Tibet assigned jobs to nearly 4,000 students who graduate from college or technical secondary schools each year, said Xie Zhihong, head of the service and management of labor and employment bureau of Tibet.


The latest figures from the region's Bureau of Statistics show that 176,000 people are employed in urban areas in the region, where the registered unemployment rate is 1.13 percent. The national figure was below four percent from January to June this year.


The average disposable income per person in Tibetan cities reached 7,119 yuan (858 US dollars) last year, while the national average was 6,860 yuan (827 US dollars). Farmers and herdsman, whom ake up 80 percent of Tibet's 2.61 million people, earned an average 1,404 yuan (169 US dollars).


Most Tibetans in Tibet had a stable job and income, but there were still 519 laid-off workers who had not yet found new jobs, Xie said.


"Tibet has limited job opportunities due to its relatively underdeveloped economy," said Xie, adding that some failed to get employed because of a lack of skills, and because the employment service system had yet to be perfected.


Zhaxi Namgyai, 45, took driving lessons offered by the labor department of Lhasa City after he was laid off. He bought a truck two years ago to transport goods all over Tibet. "Now I can earn nearly 80,000 yuan (9,639 US dollars) of net income a year," he said.


According to the Labor and Social Security Department of Tibet,2,680 laid-off workers and jobless people found work after receiving training such as driving, typing, and other technical skills by the end of June.


The growing economy and an increasingly open society are attracting more farmers and herdsmen to the cities as migrant workers during their slack season. They took home nearly 200 million yuan (24.1 million US dollars) last year. Meanwhile they have got good harvests for 14 consecutive years.


Being monks and nuns once was considered a traditional career in Tibet half a century ago. Today Tibet has 46,000 monks and nuns, according to statistics from the region's Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee.


Samye, the oldest temple in Tibet, built in the mid-eighth century about 180 kilometers southeast of Lhasa, earns around two million yuan (240,964 US dollars) a year with its businesses. Enditem





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