Tibetans in western China ordered to vacate land for dam construction

New Delhi:  Chinese authorities have ordered Tibetans living in Rebgong county in western China to vacate their land for the construction of a hydropower dam, forcing them off the farmlands they need to make a living, media reports said.

Authorities in Lingya village, about an hour’s drive from Rebgong, issued the order on May 23, requiring residents of seven villages in the region to move so that the Chinese government can begin the first phase of construction 10 days after the notice’s issue date, said a Tibetan from Rebgong who now lives in exile, RFA reported.

“The land that is being confiscated by the Chinese government is farmland, which is the livelihood of Tibetans,” said the source, adding, “The authorities have warned the Tibetans not to show any kind of condemnation.”

Rebgong, called Tongren in Chinese, is in Malho, or Huangnan, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a Tibetan-populated area in China’s Qinghai province, RFA reported.

Chinese authorities tightly control the residents of the restive Tibet Autonomous Region and Tibetan-populated regions of western China, restricting their political activities and peaceful expression of cultural and religious identity.

Chinese infrastructure and development projects in these areas have led to frequent stand-offs with Tibetans who accuse Chinese firms and local officials of improperly seizing land and disrupting the lives of local people.

Many result in violent suppression, the detention of protest organisers and intense pressure on the local population to comply with the government’s wishes, RFA reported.

Another Tibetan living in exile said authorities have begun confiscating land, but they have not discussed compensation for residents forced to move.


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