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China to relocate over 73,700 Nomadic Tibetans in Kanlho intopermanent homes: state media

By Phurbu Thinley
PhayulAugust 18, 2008

Dharamsala, Aug. 18 -- The Chinese government will move more than 73,700nomadic Tibetans living in Gannan (Tib: Kanlho) “Tibetan AutonomousPrefecture” (‘TAP’) into permanent brick houses, under a government-ledprogram, in the next five years, state media said on Friday, acontroversial practice rights groups say has been marked by gross abuses.A nomadic Tibetan community in northwest China’s Gansu Province will soonfollow the lead of their kin in Tibet and settle down inpermanent brick houses, under a government-led program, Xinhua news agencysaid, citing a Chinese Communist official.
Under the program, more than 73,700 nomadic Tibetans living in Gannan(Southern Gansu) Prefecture will move from their ancestral homes at theheadwaters of the Yellow River, a degraded pasture area, in the next fiveyears, head of the headquarters for the resettlement program, WangHongwei, was cited as saying last Monday.
The government of Gannan Prefecture took steps in 2004 to encourageTibetan nomads to rear livestock in fenced shelters instead of moving fromplace to place to feed their herds, Xinhua report said.Government funding for the settlement of the nomadic Tibetans inGannan would reach 1.3 billion yuan, the report cited Wang.Kanlho (Gannan) prefecture saw one of the most vigorous Tibetanunrests against Chinese rule in March this year, forcing communistauthorities to issue written warning notice for protesters who tookpart in the series of demonstrations to turn in before midnight of March 25 or face harsh consequences.Large military troops and police were deployed to quell series ofanti-China protests that rocked Sangchu (Ch: Xiahe), Luchu (Ch:Luqu), Machu (Ch: Maqu), Chone (Ch: Zhouni), Tewo (Ch: Diebu)Counties and in Hezuo city, all under Kanlho (Ch: Gannan) “TAP”,Gansu Province in March.
Also, this month, Chinese authorities reportedly prohibited theperformance of an annual ritual “deer dance” scheduled for Aug. 8 at Boramonastery, in Sangchu (Xiahe) county in Kanlho TAP.The government has spent 1.3 billion yuan in the past two years “tohelp farmers move into brick houses from wood-and-earth residences andnomadic herders to settle down”, Xinhua’s Friday report said.The government’s housing project will see 80 percent of Tibet’sfarmers and herders move into permanent houses by 2010, the report said ofthe controversial resettlement program engineered by Chinese Governmentsince 2006.
The report, however, gave no clue whether Tibetans were given a say indetermining a change in their traditional livelihood under the program. China says nomadic Tibetan herdsmen in Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansuprovinces and the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) are increasingly relocatedinto fixed residences to help protect the environment and boost livingstandards. It says, in addition to assisting Tibetan herders in gettingloans to build heated shelters, it offers technical help in shelterbuilding and animal husbandry. However, reports in the past hadhighlighted the plight of Tibetan nomads forced to abandon theirtraditional lifestyles with many driven to frustration and despair andunable to cope with the pressures of earning their livelihood throughmeans alien to their traditions and upbringing. Also resettlements ofteninvolve the slaughter of animals belonging to the mostly nomadic herders,relocation to poorly built accommodation and inability to find work due tolack of skills, HumanRights Watch had said last year.Others are forcibly evicted to make room for public works projects, likedams and roads, the group said in a report.Between 2006 and 2007 alone, China forced some 250,000 Tibetans, nearlyone-tenth of the population, to resettle to new “socialist villages” fromscattered rural hamlets, ordering them to build new housing largely attheir own expense and without their consent.

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