www.TibetanReview.net, May 2, 2008
China is to relocate to new homes nearly 77,000 residents (17,067 households) of the Tibetan-inhabited Aba (Tibetan: Ngaba) Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province in a battle against an incurable endemic bone disease that leaves them unable to work and stuck in a life of poverty, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Apr 26. The report said a total of 1.1 billion yuan (157 million U.S. dollars) had been earmarked for moving the residents away from the region prone to Kaschin-Beck disease by the year 2013.
The report said there were 41,184 Kaschin-Beck patients in Aba, most of them Tibetans. The disease, which usually hits people in youth, bloats the joints, and leads to limb deformity or dwarfism. Its cause remains unknown but is suspected to be connected to the land inhabited by the victims. The report said Aba had the highest Kaschin-Beck incidents in the PRC since the disease was diagnosed there in 1950s.
The project’s aim was reported to be to cut the rate of new cases to 5 percent in ten years from the current 20 percent.