By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 22: In yet another incident of Chinese government seizing properties on the Tibetan plateau, many residents of Rebkong in Eastern Tibet have been directed to handover their homes and lands.
Locals who own homes and lands in the vicinity of the Guchu River, in Rongbo (Ch: Longhu) area, are now being forced to leave in the name of development by the Rebkong (ch:Tongren) County Government in Qinghai Province, Tibet Watch reported.
The rights group shared a ‘house-confiscation notice’ in Tibetan language directing Tibetans to hand over the property to authorities. The purpose of the evictions, Chinese authorities cited were to “modify, urbanize and beautify the area”.
“Chinese authorities often boast about the positive impacts their development and conservation programs are having in Tibet. However, these projects are often carried out without the consent of local Tibetans and often have undesirable consequences,” Tibet Watch stated.
An unnamed Tibetan victim of the incident was quoted as saying, “Rebkong is gone. Developments, dams, train stations and power stations will be built by taking land from local people. The government has already taken land from villagers with minimal compensation. The prime motive behind this development is a plan for more Chinese to migrate to Rebkong. According to local officials this has been happening since 2013.
“Tibet is being turned into China,” the Tibetan lamented.
In the long list of incidents where Tibetan lands and properties have been forcefully seized over the years, the incident of Dzoege County is perhaps the most apparent.
In 2010, Chinese authorities forcefully evicted around 20 families from their land and nomadic grazing tracts in Thangkor Township in Dzoege County. The houses were demolished under the pretext of an environmental initiative to ‘turn the town green’ by the Chinese authorities. The 20 families were relocated and government assurances of proper compensation are yet to be given even after almost 5 years after the incident.
This was followed by locals from Dzoege submitting pleas to authorities, protests as well as arrests of 11 Tibetans in 2015, who were merely asking the Chinese government to give them back their land or appropriate compensation.