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Lhasa stable, recovering from riot, says mayor

Source: Xinhua | 03-06-2009 16:17

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LHASA, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The social and economic situations in Lhasa are turning for the better a year after violent riots scarred the Himalayan city, said mayor Doje Cezhug Friday.

The city is now stable as economic and social situations are turning for the better, Doje Cezhug told Xinhua on the sidelines of the national parliament's annual meeting which started Thursday in Beijing.

Local economy, mainly driven by tourism, however, was "severely hurt" by the March riots last year, said Doje, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC).

Lhasa received 1.35 million tourists in 2008, down half from the previous year, and the tourism income dropped by 58.66 percent to 1.17 billion yuan (about 172 million U.S. dollars).

"We were also faced with other difficulties such as halt of factory production and investment outflow and shrink because of investors' panic after the riot," said the mayor.

The violent riots resulted in the deaths of at least 18 civilians and one policeman. It also left businesses looted and houses torched.