The Chinese government spends millions to develop the Tibetan areas of China. But what can investment achieve in these remote regions? Can it create sustainable jobs and change people’s lives? The economist Carsten Holz of Hongkong University of Science and Technology has spent many months on the Tibetan plateau in Western Sichuan to study how Beijing’s policies affect local people’s lives. Roads have improved and access to education has increased, he says. But restrictions on travel, unequal pay and a heavy security presence fuel resentment.
Whoever travels to Beijing nowadays will quickly notice how the digital revolution has become a part of everyday life in China: Taxis rarely stop when you flag them, for example, because they are already reserved. Most Chinese book the drivers directly through the "Didi" smartphone app. At restaurants and noodle stands, they prefer to pay electronically rather than use cash.
September 28, 2017