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China to forcibly resettle one million Tibetans by end of 2014 PDF Print E-mail
[27 June 2013] According to a report published by Human Rights Watch, the Chinese government are planning to forcibly rehouse and relocate over one million rural Tibetans over the next 18 months. Since 2006, China has resettled over two million Tibetans, mostly nomads and farmers, into "New Socialist Villages".

HRW report coverThe report, entitled "They Say We Should Be Grateful: Mass Rehousing and Relocation in Tibetan Areas of China analyses the Chinese government's programmes to resettle rural populations in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in Tibetan prefectures incorporated into Chinese provinces.

According to Human Rights Watch, the 115-page report "documents extensive rights violations ranging from the absence of consultation to the failure to provide adequate compensation, both of which are required under international law for evictions to be legitimate. The report also addresses defects in the quality of the houses provided, absence of remedies for arbitrary decisions, failures to restore livelihoods, as well as a disregard for autonomy rights nominally guaranteed by Chinese law in Tibetan areas."

Tibetans in resettlement villageOver two million Tibetans have already been forcibly rehoused and relocated in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and 300,000 nomads in Qinghai province have been forced to leave the grasslands of the Tiebtan plateau. The Chinese authorities intend to continue the programme, with a further 900,000 Tibetans to be resettled in the TAR by the end of 2014 and 113,000 nomads in Qinhai province.

Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch's China director, said, The scale and speed at which the Tibetan rural population is being remodeled by mass rehousing and relocation policies are unprecedented in the post-Mao era. Tibetans have no say in the design of policies that are radically altering their way of life, and in an already highly repressive context no ways to challenge them.

HRW logoThe report also provides testimonies from Tibetans interviewed by Human Rights Watch. The comparison to official views published by the Chinese government is stark. For example, Dekyi, a Tibetan quoted in Chinas Tibet Magazine in March 2009, said, "Today I am living in new house with a comfortable life. I am so happy. All of my fortunes do not come from my prayers, but rather from the Communist Party."

A Tibetan from Gyamda in the TAR, interviewed by Human Rights Watch, said, "People in the village are desperate about abandoning their homes and having to resettle. They dont have any other skills than farming, and wont have any herds or land worth speaking of anymore. How is the next generation going to survive as Tibetans?"

Further reading: HRW press release I Download report

BBC article (27 Jun)  I BBC video report (2 mins, 28 Jun)

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