News and Views on Tibet

Chinese authorities issue order to make space for dam-building in Rebkong County

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China has engaged in extensive and reckless dam building, one of them is Longyangxia Dam, the largest dam in the so called Qinghai Province (Image/Shutterstock)

By Tenzin Nyidon 

DHARAMSHALA, June 2: Chinese authorities in Rebkong County, in the so called Qinghai Province have issued an order to the local Tibetans to make space for building a dam on May 23, according to Tibet Times, a Tibetan-language news outlet on Monday. 

According to the report, the head of the County issued a notice about their developmental stage, mostly informing the people about the spatial transformations. “A total of 17,505 square meters will be taken from the northeastern part of Ling Gya Dewa to the northeast of Kha Gya Dewa,” the notice read in the context of the state’s developmental projects. 

The information obtained by Tibet Times also confirmed that the site preparations will begin within ten days from the day of the order, adversely impacting and disrupting the lives of people living in the reservoir areas and of those dependent on those areas. “The adverse impacts of dam construction are compounded when the affected people belong to indigenous groups with a close relationship to the lands on which they live and survive,” the same source said. 

Tashi Tsering, an environmental studies scholar at the University of British Columbia on China’s projects to dam Tibet’s rivers said that Beijing’s hydropower development in occupied Tibet is primarily motivated by Beijing’s desire to create ‘hydro-hegemony’ to dominate the water economy in the South and Southeast Asia and, develop larger hydropower projects to power resource extraction and infrastructure development in China. 

Various Tibetan experts have stated that China’s dam-building projects have become an integral part of state development and infrastructure expansion which are China’s response to immediate or short-term needs. Others have raised concern over the misappropriation of land adding if viewed from a long-term perspective, river damming has the potential to unleash a range of major scale, economic and environmental effecting the surrounding landscape.  

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