By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 8: Two Tibetan nomads in Eastern Tibet have reportedly been arrested for speaking out against Chinese government authorities who confiscated their lands in the name of grassland preservation.
Activist group Tibet watch reported that Dokyab, 63, and his relative Gyaltsen, 43 from Chikdril village in Chumar County in Eastern Tibet were arrested on Aug 21. Their condition remains unknown since their arrests.
Tibetan farmers and nomads in Tsongon, Eastern Tibet had their land confiscated and its ownership documents seized by the Chinese government. The group claims that the local authorities in various counties under the Qinghai province summoned a public meeting regarding grasslands. The meeting strictly prohibited use of any mobile phones and cameras inside the venue. The attendants were frisked during the entrance and their names were registered after the meeting.
They were further ordered to sign the agreement following the land confiscation. The 17-page document stating the guidelines for the change in ownership was also distributed. The two detainees were among the attendants who were arrested for voicing their unwillingness to surrender the proprietorship of their land.
The ongoing mass relocation of Tibetans through land confiscation by the Chinese government has severely affected the traditional lifestyle that has sustained the fragile eco-system of the nomadic grasslands for generations. Infrastructure projects in Tibet, including dam-building projects, mining activities, and railway construction have often been accompanied by the eviction of Tibetans from nomadic areas. They are forced to resettle with promises of compensation which are rarely fulfilled, resulting in many Tibetans nomads jobless and resorting to alcohol and substance abuse to cope with the sudden and drastic shift in their lifestyles.