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How China is Changing Tibet

Journalist Abrahm Lustgarten To Explain How One Railway Transformed a Culture

At the Nixon Library on May 21, 7:00 p.m.

April 30, Yorba Linda, CA—In July 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao announced the opening of a railway from Qinghai province to the Tibetan capital Lhasa. The railway was a technical accomplishment that required years of work, breakthroughs in engineering, and billions of dollars to overcome the challenges of building through the permafrost of the Himalayas. In a talk drawn from his new book, China’s Great Train: Beijing’s Drive West and The Campaign to Remake Tibet, journalist Abrahm Lustgarten will explain how that railway is transforming Tibet and its people day by day at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum on May 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Although the government of the People’s Republic of China has long claimed that Tibet is an indivisible part of China, for more than half a century the Beijing government had no reliable ground route to Tibet. The Qinghai-Tibet railway changed that, making it possible for immigrants from the Chinese heartland to move to Lhasa and other cities. Lustgarten tells the story of the engineers, officials, and laborers who built the railway and how it has transformed life in Tibet.

“Lustgarten lifts the rug off the grand national project of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. His compelling descriptions of bureaucratic struggles and bitter human costs are contrasted with the great Chinese national pride and the heroism of those who tried to solve the problems to make the train work. This is an insider’s view and an important contribution to understanding the enigmas of China.”

James R. Lilley, former U.S. ambassador to the People’s Republic of China

About the Nixon Library: The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, a nonpartisan federal institution, is a part of the National Archives and Records Administration. For more information, contact (714) 983-9120 or visit

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