China recently announced plans to finish construction on Nagqu Dagring Airport. At 4,436 meters, or 14,553 feet, Nagqu Dagring with take over the title of the world's highest airport, and its runways will be higher than anything in the continental USA. Wow.
As with all the recent development and infrastructure improvements in Tibet, however, this will certainly be a mixed blessing. Like the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, completed in 2006, the Nagqu airport will certainly bring more commerce, trade, and development to the largely impoverished Tibetan Plateau. But, it will also bring an added influx of ethnic Han Chinese immigrants, diluting the culture of Tibet and further cementing Beijing's grip on the region.
It's always a mixed feeling for me when I see this development in Tibet. On the one hand, I am excited to see the lives of everyday Tibetans potentially bettered by such improvements. But, having actually seen and traveled in much of Tibet, I also know that little of the development manages to trickle down to the local population.
What are your thoughts...Are these improvements good, bad, or indifferent for Tibet and Tibetans?