By Tenzin Dharpo
A Tibetan nomad encampment. file photo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 7: Tibetan nomads in Golok region have appealed to the Chinese authorities against the government drive to remove Tibetans from their traditional grasslands. The appeal written in a detailed and categorical fashion by the Dernang people in Golog region urged senior authorities to review the same as per the laws of the Chinese constitution and environmental concerns.
The appeal comes after Tibetan nomads in Darlag county in Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai province were ordered to move from their traditional grazing lands earlier last month. Nomads in a township in Mangra county in Tsolho prefecture, Qinghai province were also threatened of fines and prohibited from using their summer pastures few months ago.
The English version (translated by ICT) of the petition stated that, “officials started implementation of a new policy restricting the rights of native pastoralists to use their pastures. Some small communities were prohibited from using most of their pastures, and some others entirely deprived of their summer pasture,” which the Tibetans argued were “not in accordance with law and in contravention of customs”.
The entreaty argued that the local Tibetans have been suddenly forced to abandon their old way of life without any consultation and any official correspondence prior to the implementation of the order.
“It is said rearing of cattle should be abandoned to protect the environment. In general, to protect the environment, mining, which drains the vitality of the earth and causes the vitality of the creatures living on it to dwindle, and all the construction and factories that pollute the air, need to be prevented and stopped. That cattle rearing does not harm the natural environment is corroborated by the experience of the nomads themselves,” the appeal states.
Also stating relevant laws within the Chinese constitution as well as the Qinghai province grassland law, the petitioners appealed that they are, “forced to appeal in the hope that the officials of the People’s’ Republic of China’s People’s Government, putting the interests of the people first, and being committed to the principle of ‘ruling the country by law’ and ‘ruling the country as per law’, will show concern, and make a decision that is in accordance with law and not against custom.”
Sporadic reports from rights groups and independent researchers have suggested that Tibetan nomads have been pushed away from their traditional lifestyles to make way for mining operations and tourist destinations hindering, both the integral part of Tibetan way of life as well as the fragile ecosystem that had been sustained and supplemented by the nomadic way of life.