By Tenzin Dharpo
image representational only
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 5: Tibetan families have reportedly been made to give up their ancestral land and homes by Chinese authorities in occupied Tibet’s Gonjo County in Chamdo Prefecture. The land which sits on resource rich deposits have been on Chinese government radar since the last decade.
Tibetan villagers consisting of around twelve families, who were not given any reason for their eviction, were loaded in a bus on March 31 and taken away accompanied by police cars, Radio Free Asia
The evicted families are said to have resisted the Chinese government orders to move, despite government promises for new housing and land in the neighbouring Kongpo prefecture.
An anonymous source cited by RFA said, “But the Tibetans could not trust the Chinese government, and they were unwilling to abandon their ancestral land to which they were strongly attached, so they had ignored the Chinese orders to relocate.”
While some Tibetan families have moved away following Chinese government orders, many including farmers have held on to their lands and livelihood until they were moved by force.
Another source said, “Some Tibetan families in Gonjo had already moved out of the area long ago for business. But many other Tibetan families remained in their native place, as they depended on their land for farming. The region is also a source of a variety of fruits.”
Forced relocation, land grabs and urbanisation are reoccurring issues in occupied Tibet in the last few decades with Tibetans at the receiving end of Chinese government policies. Beijing has been establishing mining operations and migrating ethnically Han Chinese labourers into Tibet, forcibly relocating Tibetan nomads and villagers who are forced to give up centuries old way of life.
Sophie Richardson, China Director at the Human Rights Watch, earlier said, “Tibetans have no say in the design of [relocation] policies that are radically altering their way of life, and – in an already highly repressive context – no ways to challenge them.”