(TibetanReview.net, Oct03, 2018) – China is moving residents of nine villages in eastern Tibet’s Chamdo City to two rural counties in the outskirts of Lhasa City as their land is taken over to build mining infrastructures, reported the Tibetan Service of rfa.org Oct 1. It is not clear how many villagers are being forced to move out.
The villages – all in the city’s Gonjo (Chinese: Gongjue) County – have been named as Chaka, Pallo, Yasha, upper Deb, lower Deb, Chulsum, and Garnyi. The county’s population, according to China’s 2010 census, was stated to be 40,000.
The report said residents of the designated villages have to have moved out by the end of this year. They are reportedly slated to be relocated in Meldrogungkar (Mozhugongka) and Toelung Dechen (Duilongdeqing) Counties in Lhasa City, and to areas in Lhoka (Shannan) City further west.
The Tibetan villagers have apparently not been told why they were being moved out. “The Tibetans in these villages believe that the local Chinese authorities in Gonjo plan to build an electric power plant and do mining in the area, and that this is why they are being moved from their ancestral lands,” the report quoted a local source as saying, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The report said affected villagers had started selling their livestock ahead of their being moved out.
Gonjo County is rich not only in mineral ores but also in caterpillar fungus, a highly prized medical fungus. “Under the terms of the China-ordered relocation scheme, the villagers are allowed to come back during harvesting of the caterpillar fungus for the next 20 years,” the report quoted the source as saying.
The report cited sources as saying that about 10 years ago, residents of several villages in the same county had been similarly forced to relocate to Nyingtri (Lingzhi) County in a city by the same name.
The report also cited sources as saying that in May 2015, Chinese authorities cracked down on villagers protesting against the building of a road to a mining site on a sacred mountain in Gonjo. Many were left injured with an unknown number being detained.