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tv   Asia Insight  PBS  September 3, 2016 12:00am-12:31am PDT

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♪ the tibetan plateau makes up one quarter of china's land mass. the region spreads across the southeastern portion of the
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plateau. at the center is lattah. its name is tibetan for sacred place. rapid development has brought dramatic changes to the city over the past ten years. development has also radically changed the local environment and the way residents live and work. many people have moved here from outside the region to take advantage of new opportunities.
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in this episode, we'll offer a rare inside glimpse of this ancient tibetan capital. more than 3500 meters above level in the heart of the tibetan autonomous region. it plays a central role in tibetan buddhism and watts once the capital of tibet. the breath taking palace is a world heritage site. the palace has an area of 13,000 square meters and some say it has 2,000 rooms. it used to be the moment home of the dalai lama, the country's spiritual and former political leader.
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nearly 13 million tourists visited the region in 2014. 90 percent of them were from other parts of china. foreign nationals need special permission to enter the tibet autonomous region. such permission is not easily guaranteed. the influx of chinese tourists has led to the construction of five star hotels which would once have been unimaginable. the population has increased by more than 100,000 in the past decade to over 500,000, a majority of the residents are from other provinces.
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along with the palace, there's another must-see destination in lhasa. it's the jokon temple in the center of the ancient city. this image of the temple was taken 12 years ago.
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people are flying flat on the ground. it's an act of worship. the temple was built in the middle of the seventh century. pilgrims come from far away. these days, visitors must undergo a thorough check off their body and belongings before entering. officials say this is to screen out people who might engage in disruptive behavior.
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the square in front of the temple looks very different now. it remains the center of tibetan worship, but it's packed with tourists. the route around the temple has changed. it was once the only market for residents and pilgrims visiting the temple. the route was filled with street
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vendors and shops offering antiques and symbols of tibetal symbolization as well as daily necessities. it was lined with traditional tibetan buildings. while some of the faithful lie on the ground, others walk around carrying religious objects. they move in a clockwise direction. when large scale renovations were completed, the street vendors were not included in the plan. the walls were decorated with china's national flag roontly,
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it's become a fad for tourists to have their picture taken dressed in traditional tibetan attire. one store has been operated by tibetans for 30 years. this family-run enterprise sells jewelry and religious items decorated with coral. most of the customers are chinese people visiting lhasa for work or pleasure. business has been very good. thee years ago, the shop began selling out of some items during tourist season.
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in the end, this shopper negotiated a $130 discount on the necklace.
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there is more space in front of the shops now, but business isn't as good. the street vendors were moved to a location 15 minutes away. they're now in an l-shaped building on a newly renovated street. the building has three floors, vendors sell souvenirs, clothing, accessories and food. from above, it looks a bit like the old days.
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these shops sell mostly the same items found in
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2014 is a special year of pilgrimage for tibetan buddhists. the streets are filled with pilgrims. an ethnic hahn chinese was visiting the store. he converted to tibetan buddhism. he made a pilgrimage to the sake reds area from his home in beijing.
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the buddhist monk he considers his mentor has to way. he came here to learn tibetan words from a fellow follower. he'll inscribe the words on to a flag he'll carry on his pilgrimage.
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at his hotel, he decided to write down the characters he just learned. he knows lots of young people who are interested in tibetan buddhism. for him, buddhism offers a calm oasis in the midst of his busy life.
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but some younger chinese consider tibetan culture traditions cool and fashionable. he hopes they will come to appreciate the beliefs and values that underlie tibetan buddhism. one man found discuss after moving to lhasa 20 years ago. now operating 12 companies, they include businesses engaged in construction materials, real estate, trading and restaurants.
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>> construction surround way wherever you look.
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after a ten-minute drive from jokhon temple, we spot a large development zone.
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office buildings, banks and shopping centers are being constructed one after another. the site, measuring a total of 430,000 square meters, will be the center of lhasa with the layest facilities. >> beijing allotted $540 billion to tibet's economic development
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in its 12th five-year plan. a massive construction project is also planned along a river that runs south from lhasa. a two-level bridge will run for 3,000 meters to a commercial complex on the other side. the two-year project should be completed in 2014.
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many of the laborers are from elsewhere in china. so much ethnic chinese have migrated here for work that they are now the primary population. vegetable vendors often wind their way through the streets of
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lhasa. tibetans once ate vegetables that could be grown at high altitudes such as white radish and chinese cabbage. now they can get all kinds of produce. one tibetan man is trying to get more people to try a traditional tibetan staple called naked barley. tibetan farmers modified regular barley so it could be grown at altitudes up to 4,500 meters. people here take pride in this agriculture accomplishment.
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local farmers flou now grow greenhouses.and cucumbers in the naked barley promoter is creating new recipes and offering them at a restaurant he runs. he also makes traditional cheesecake and dishes he discovered while studying in beijing. but his top selling item is naked barley bread.
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>> he dreams of one day selling this bread in other parts of china. in 2006, a railway line connected lhasa to shanghai province in western china, bringing even more development to tibet. in august 2014, another line opened. it stretches west from lhasa. it connects lhasa to shigase. the fair from lhasa to is between $6.50 and $28 u.s.
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that's a bit pricey for locals, but the train was crowded. 14 stations were built along the 241 kilometer line. officials plan to extend it to the front tier.
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. farther additional tibetan ways of life are being swept up in a continuing wave of government funded economic development. what kind of future awaits people here? that question has yet to be answered.
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anchor: on "global 3000" this week -- a visit to the u.s., which had a tragic 2015. more young african american men died from police brutality than ever before. we head to chicago to find out why. diving into mexico's caribbean coast, home to the delicious caribbean spiny lobster. how do they catch them sustainably? but we start our journey in singapore, where it's all about learning and more learning, no matter how tiny you are. signals pass between synapses in a child's brain incredibly quickly. the process starts in the womb. at two years old, the most important connections have already been made. over time, the child develops their physical coordination,

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