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    1. Home > News > Tibet through the Eyes of Foreigners >

      Economic assumptions turn upside down
      update:December 05,2018
      China Reform and Opening – Forty Years in Perspective

      Economic assumptions turn upside down

      Editor's note: Laurence Brahm, first came to China as a fresh university exchange student from the US in 1981 and he has spent much of the past three and a half decades living and working in the country. He has been a lawyer, a writer, and now he is Founding Director of Himalayan Consensus and a Senior International Fellow at the Center for China and Globalization.

      He has captured his own story and the nation's journey in China Reform and Opening – Forty Years in Perspective. 

      Dec. 5, 2018 -- The author films "Searching for Shangri-la" as part of the Himalayan Extreme Expeditions series that received the National Geographic Water and Conservation Fund Award. [Photo provided to]

      Lhasa, 2005: It was already 9:30 am. But the narrow whitewashed adobe alleyways of Lhasa’s old city were just beginning to awaken. That is because things start later in Lhasa.

      At 3,600 meters above sea level, breathing becomes difficult. Having just arrived the night before, I still felt wheezy from the altitude, as if everything was in slow motion.

      I stopped for breakfast at a food stall selling palip Tibetan flat bread. “How much for one flat bread?” I asked the woman.

      “Five jiao (50 cents),” she said, smiling.

      As I pulled five Chinese 10-cent coins from my pocket, three children rushed up. They tugged at my sleeves, hands held out, begging.

      I handed the 50 cents to the stall lady. Smiling, she leaned over and gave each begging child one 10-cent piece. “Now go,” she told them. “Leave the foreigner alone.”

      • People of Tibetan ethnic group celebrate Shangjiu Festival
      • Students in Lhasa enjoy colorful learning activities during winter vacation
      • People relocated to tackle poverty
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