By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, APR. 6: Chinese authorities in eastern Tibet’s Chamdo region have ordered close to 200 Tibetan families to vacate their homes to make way for a government project without giving any proper explanation.
Panic-stricken families in Dzogang County have been ordered to move away to towns on the banks of the Gyalmo Ngulchu (Salween) river in Chamdo on their own expenses, according to a Radio Free Asia
report published on April 4.
An anonymous source cited by the agency said, “The local Tibetans believe that mining or some similar project is being planned for the area, and that this is why they are being told to leave against their own wishes. The families who are being forced to move have had to register their names with the authorities.”
To make matters worse, the earlier assurance of compensation of 12,000 to 20,000 Yuan (U.S. $2,176 to $2,901) for registered families to abandon their homes and moving expenses were withdrawn, according to the same source who added, “This has placed many poor families in jeopardy, since they cannot stay at their present location, and if they move they may have to do this with money they don’t have.”
Although families have filed petitions to remain in their homes, the orders were issued to relocate the Tibetan families to the new location.
No conclusive explanations were given to the people of Dzogang County for the orders issued by the local Chinese authorities. However, local Tibetans believe it could be any of the hydro-power dams along the Salween, a road project or mining project by China in the region.
Mining operations have been rampant along the banks of Gyalmo Ngulchu (Salween River) that runs through Tsawa Dzogang County, considered sacred by the Tibetans. On May 7, 2014, Phakpa Gyaltsen and Rigzin stabbed themselves to death in protests against Chinese mining there.