By Tenzin Monlam
A Tibetan nomad in Hoh Xil. Photo-AFP
DHARAMSHALA, July 13: Chinese Foreign Ministry has claimed that the government has not and will not forcefully relocate anyone from Hoh Xil (Tibetan: Achen Gangyap) following concerns raised by Tibetan organizations.
The high-altitude plateau in Tibet, which was recently listed as world heritage site by UNESCO on July 7 is traditional grazing land for Tibetan nomads. The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) had demanded more detailed examination of the nomination prior to inscription.
“The traditional nomadic life of Tibetans must be respected and guaranteed as a precondition for the inscription, with a land use plan that establishes the right of Tibetans to graze their animals,” the Washington DC-based NGO had said on July 7.
The Chinese foreign ministry yesterday said that its application documents for the status for the site shows its resolve to fully respect the wishes, traditional culture, religious beliefs and lifestyles of the nomadic people who live there.
“The Chinese government has not, is not and will not in the future do any forced evictions in the Hoh Xil nominated area,” it said in its statement sent to Reuters.
The Hoh Xil nature reserve, located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, is home to over 200 animal species and it is now the China’s largest world natural heritage site covering 45,000 sq km.
The Tibet advocacy group fears that Hoh Xil will face a similar faith as that of the ‘Three Parallel Rivers’ protected area of Yunnan. Since the actual rivers were excluded from the defined protected area, that allowed China to construct hydro dam resulting in decline in wildlife population and difficulties for the local Tibetan population.
According to ICT, the inscription of Hoh Xil without further detailed assessment would effectively signify endorsement from the international cultural heritage body of China’s ambitious policies including the displacement of Tibetan nomads from their land and the criminalization of traditionally productive and sustainable activities such as pastoralism and gathering medicinal herbs.