By Tenzin Dharpo
Fencing the Tibetan pastureland. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 13: Chinese authorities at the Hoh Xil Nature Reserve in Qinghai in occupied Tibet’s eastern region has issued a notice banning access to anyone including Tibetan nomads. Authorities issued a notice on November 27 which stated, “Any unit or individual will be prohibited to enter the three major nature reserves and carry out activities without the permission.”
The Hoh Xil Nature reserve (Achen Gangyap in Tibetan) which was accorded a UNESCO world heritage site status in July this year, is home to Tibetan nomads who have lived off the land and sustained its fragile ecology for thousands of years. Authorities added that only security personnel and authorities will have access to the nature reserve.
“Any unit or individual who breaks the rules and causes damage to the natural resources and ecological environment will be punished by the Public Security Organs,” the official notice further stated.
Rights group International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) have raised alarm over the development calling it the rights of Tibetan nomads, whom they said, “have made skillful use of the remote, wild landscape here and across the plateau for centuries, co-existing with wildlife and protecting the land. It appears to counter Chinese assurances to UNESCO that they would “fully respect” local herders and “their traditional culture, religious beliefs, and lifestyle”.
ICT argue against the official take that “traditional pastoral land-use of the Tibetan plateau as a ‘threat’ to the environment” and asserts that, “the involvement of Tibetans – and nomads in particular – as stewards of the fragile high-altitude landscape in Hoh Xil and adjoining areas is essential to sustaining the long-term health of the ecosystems, and the water resources that China and Asia depend upon.”
“Chinese government policies of settling Tibetan nomads, confiscating their land, and fencing pastoral areas are”, ICT said, “threatening one of the world’s last systems of sustainable pastoralism, and leading to increasing poverty and social breakdown,” and that the official decree goes against scientific studies and independent research.