Having finally linked the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to Beijing via rail in 2006, the Chinese now have another six regional railways in the pipeline. The new transportation routes were explicitly designed to create a smoother back-and-forth flow of people, raising concerns about de facto colonization.
As for the question "who wouldn't want a shiny new airport," the answer might well be "ethnic Tibetans who are more interested in preserving their environment than in building new airports and railways." Again they might not have a choice, but the response from the other side is that it's paternalistic to insist that locales wouldn't want to improve their regional economies.
As always with these kinds of questions there are no easy answers. We'll just have to wait and see how the development proceeds, and what toll it takes on the local people and environment.
[Photo: Luo Shaoyang / Wiki Commons]
· China to build world's highest airport in Tibet by 2011 [USA Today]
· Airport News [Jaunted]
· <Tibet [Jaunted]