Scientific Exchanges and Cooperation
Alongside the country's reform and opening-up, Tibet opened its door to the outside world with its unique attractions. In addition to extensive cooperation with domestic scientific and technological institutions, it has conducted exchanges and cooperations with more than 20 countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, Austria and Nepal. In 1987, the region's Bureau of Light Industry, Textile and Handicraft Industries imported dyeing techniques and formulae from Switzerland's Sandoz AG, and invited Swiss experts to Tibet to hold a training course for carpet dyeing. The training course helped solve a long-standing color-fading problem and boost the development of local handicraft industry. The completed leather- and shoe-making equipment and technology, imported from Germany in 1992 by the Lhasa Tanyard, laid a foundation for the best use of livestock resources. The initial exploration of the local geothermal energy resources attracted a lot of domestic and overseas geologists and energy experts. Through inspection, the United Nations and Italian experts concluded that Tibet had a bright future in geothermal development. Therefore, they successively invested US$9 million in the construction of geothermal fields of Yangbajain, Nyingzhong, Nagqu and Latogka. A second-phase geothermal project, through grants from the UN Development Program and Italy, began construction in 1989. China and various foreign parties have conducted widespread exchanges on the exploration, development and use of geothermal resources. They also arranged many overseas investigation tours, training courses and participation in international geothermal conferences. In 1993, advanced technologies and equipment were imported for the construction of a dual-cycle geothermal demonstration power station at Nagqu. At the same time, highly-efficient drilling machines and directional drilling tools were imported. Geothermal experts of Japan, the United States, Denmark, Iceland, Mexico, Australia, Canada and other countries also showed their desires to take part in the exploration of the Yangbajain Geothermal Field.
The region's geothermal energy resources, with the highest reserves in the country, finally woke up and began to serve people after lying underground for ages. However, Tibet still has a long way to go in scientific and technological development compared with other provinces and regions. The great support and assistance from other areas and from the Central Government, as well as people from all walks of life, have enabled Tibet to keep pace with the developments of the times.
The Party Central Committee and the State Council have adopted a series of favorable policies to make Tibet a "special economic zone''. In order to accelerate regional development, the Party Central Committee and the State Council held the Third Work Meeting on Tibet in July 1994, approving 62 aid-Tibet construction projects. With a total investment of 2.38 billion yuan, the projects involve transportation, energy resources, telecommunications, urban construction, agriculture, animal husbandry and medical and health services, as well as other sectors related to people's daily life. With the implementation of the aid-Tibet policy, scientific and technological assistance was also unveiled. The State Science and Technology Commission and provincial-level commissions respectively made plans to support Tibet. They not only sent scientific workers and management personnel, but also provided capital and equipment. In the second half of 1996, the National Work Conference on Supporting Tibet with Science and Technology was held in Lhasa by the State Science and Technology Commission. This further confirmed the implementation of various projects to move Tibet onto a new plan of science and technology.
In order to stimulate the enthusiasm of scientific workers, the people's government of the Tibet Autonomous Region allocated 1 million yuan in 1993 to set up an award fund for scientific and technological progress. Various enterprises and institutions in the region generously donated a further 1 million yuan for this purpose.
Nowadays, a new practice of learning from science, loving science, and respecting knowledge and talented persons is on the upsurge in Tibet. A more beautiful and prosperous new Tibet is bound to appear as a result.