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China punishes Tibetan nomads for refusing resettlement

A Tibetan herder woman rounds up her herd of yak in Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in northwest China's Qinghai province, March 8, 2012. (Photo courtesy: RFA)
A Tibetan herder woman rounds up her herd of yak in Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in northwest China’s Qinghai province, March 8, 2012. (Photo courtesy: RFA)

(TibetanReview.net, Nov09, 2014) – China has imposed severe punishment on Tibetans in Yulshul (Chinese: Yushu) Prefecture of Qinghai Province for refusing to give up their pastoral life to live in fixed settlement towns, thereby belying its claim that the program is entirely voluntary and the nomads have welcomed it. Radio Free Asia (Washington) reported Nov 7 that a number of such Tibetans in Dzamar Village of Domda Township, Tridu (Chenduo) County, had their residency permits and other personal documents such as IDs and driving licenses confiscated for allegedly disobeying government orders and a central government policy.

The confiscation was carried out after Tibetans, including those named as Kalsang and Nyima, of Dzamar Village refused to move from their nomadic area to newly but poorly built town residences when ordered to do so on Oct 24 or 25.

Later on Nov 1, a delegation of 10 villagers went to the township authorities and sough the return of their documents. But the officials demanded a fine of 10,000 yuan (US$ 1,633) each for their return. The amount was beyond the means of any of the poor nomads to pay.

The report suggested that part of the reason for the nomads’ refusal was that in 2013, nearly 200 nomads from Domda area were moved to resettlement towns where the housing conditions were very bad. They were also built in very remote and inaccessible areas and many Tibetans sold their new homes for nominal prices of 1,500 to 2,000 yuan (US $245-327) and left the place.

The second reason was that the resettled nomads had no viable means of livelihood, with the promised government help and support being either grossly insufficient or altogether non-existent.

The report cited Gabriel Lafitte, author of the recently released Spoiling Tibet: China and Resource Nationalism on the Roof of the World, as saying Tibetan nomads are now banned from grazing in, and being required to move from, “some of the best pasture land in all of the Tibetan Plateau, especially in the key prefectures of Yulshul and Golog (Guoluo) prefectures of Qinghai Province.

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