By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, July 11: In an alarming new development in Riwoche County, Chinese officials have been forcefully buying lands from local Tibetans at a nominally low price and selling the same at higher prices to Chinese developers, thus spinning a hefty profit for themselves.
The County officials in the Riwoche County in the Chamdo have even threatened local Tibetans with imprisonment saying the land belonged to, “local government and the ruling Chinese Communist Party”, according to source of the Radio Free Asia Tibetan Service.
The source who is a resident of the Riwoche County said, “They offer compensation at a nominal rate of 25 yuan [$ U.S. 3.74] per square meter of land, with anyone refusing to sign on these terms threatened with jail time. The same piece of land could easily bring from 1,500 to 2,000 yuan [$ U.S. 224.57 to 299.42] in the current market.
The unnamed source added, “These officials are secretly colluding with the builders to make profits at the common people’s expense.”
The plan to extort Tibetans off their lands appear to have been apparently set months in advance as the authorities made an formality announcement when most of the locals were off on their seasonal harvesting of the medicinal fungus. The announcement however contained stern warnings for those refusing to abide by the norms or reaching the Central government in Beijing.
“Riwoche county officials called a meeting of local Tibetans at the end of May and announced their intention to take over the land for development. But they held the meeting at a time when most of the area’s Tibetan residents were away in the hills collecting cordyceps (a valuable medicinal fungus),” the same source said.