Construction site of a new police station being built near Muge Monastery.(Photo/TCHRD)
DHARAMSHALA, July 13: In another major incidence of official land grabbing, large areas of farming land and grassland used by Tibetans in the Muge region of Sungchu in eastern Tibet have been confiscated by local Chinese authorities.
The Dharamshala based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in a report Friday cited sources as saying that local Chinese authorities have appropriated all farmlands in Achu nomadic camp in lower Muge area in the name of hydropower projects to generate electricity.
Traditional grasslands in Achu camp used by local herds for grazing in autumn, in addition to farmlands in neighbouring A-ngag and Agon camps have also been confiscated for ‘development’ projects, the group said.
“The Chinese authorities gave no explanation for the large scale land-grab,” TCHRD noted. “They were not consulted before, during or after the execution of the so-called development projects. Their participation and agency in shaping policies conducive to local conditions were denied.”
The security apparatus in the region has also seen a new boost with the ongoing construction of additional police stations in the region.
“At the time of reporting, a new police station is being built near Muge Monastery. The initial plan was to build the police station within the monastery. But the plan was changed when the authorities met with stiff resistance from the senior monastic staff,” TCHRD said while adding that the upcoming police station has “heightened concerns and tension” among local Tibetans in Muge.
The group said that currently no reports are available on whether any displacement occurred during the confiscation of farmlands, particularly in Achu camp, which lost all farmland. No information is also available on official compensation given to the aggrieved families.
“Local accounts report that local Tibetans are facing enormous challenges in freely expressing their grievances given the violent official reprisals,” TCHRD said. “Addressing these legitimate grievances peacefully should be the priority of to ensure true harmony and stability in Tibet.”
Earlier this year, a Tibetan man Gachoe, around 35, was arrested on January 19 for taking part in a public-led protest against Chinese government land seizures from local Tibetans in Nangchen region.
Protests against land seizures by Chinese authorities in Tibet have led to mass demonstrations and at least two self-immolations by Tibetans.
On September 13, 2012, Passang Lhamo, 62, set herself on fire in China's capital city of Beijing in protesting the illegal land grabbing in her native Keygudo region of eastern Tibet.
She was reportedly taken to hospital where she was treated for "severe burn injuries."
Passang Lhamo was forced to head to Beijing after local authorities in Keygudo refused to allow her to retain her ancestral home following the major rebuilding process in the region in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake. Repeated appeals to the central authorities in Beijing had also failed to yield any concrete results.
Also last year, a Tibetan mother of two, Dickyi Choezom had set herself on fire on June 27 in Keygudo town during a public protest against Chinese government policies of forced eviction and land seizures. She was reportedly taken to a hospital in Siling following which no information on her wellbeing and whereabouts have been made available.