"Who actually benefits?
... the question is: At what cost to indigenous populations and the environment? "Nobody disputes that there are now many miles of roads and many airports and people coming in on planes," said Robert Barnett, a Tibet expert at Columbia University. "It's misleading to just ask if there's been economic progress. Who benefits from it? What is the cost locally, culturally and politically?"
Nicholas Bequelin, a China expert with the Asian division of Human Rights Watch, said: "It's not a people-centered modernization program. It's a top-down program that has mostly benefited state enterprises and the party-controlled institutions."
Xinjiang is China's largest region, making up one-sixth of its landmass, and Tibet is the second-largest, twice the size of Texas and accounting for one-eighth the area of the country.