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Resettled Tibetan nomads struggling in new life

September 26, 2010

Tibetan Review
September 24, 2010

Tibetan nomads who had been forced by the Chinese
government into fixed urban settlements since
about seven years ago under a controversial
environment protection plan are finding their new
life even more difficult to adjust to, according
to China’s official Xinhua news agency Sep 22.
"The money for selling 40 yaks and 25 sheep has
been used," it quoted 33-year-old former nomad
Zhaduo as saying. "It is so expensive to now live
near the town center. Everything costs big money."

The report said Zhaduo, who had been moved away
from his ancestral home at Rima village in Yushu
County in Qinghai Province grassland, still
misses his yaks and the life of a herdsman. The
village lies near the source of China's three
major rivers – the Yangtze, the Yellow River, and
the Lancang River – which form the world's
highest plateau wetland, known as Asia's water tower.

China started moving people out of the
150,000-sq-kilometre Sanjiangyuan region more
than five years ago in a bid to repair the
ecological system claimed to be damaged by
excessive herding and to transform the area into
an unpopulated nature reserve. The report said so
far some 50,000 herdsmen, mostly Tibetans, had
been moved closer to the town centres near their old homes.

Zhaduo’s family, now living in Jiajiniang
village, twelve minutes' drive from Gyegu
township of Yushu, survives by picking
mountain-grown caterpillar fungus. The season for
it is from May to June, with the harvest being
dependent on the vagaries of nature.

The report admitted that the government will now
have to find ways to provide more forms of aid,
other than handing out quotas of free grain and
cash subsidies to the resettled herdsmen.

The report cited Ping Zhiqiang, an official with
the provincial Development and Reform Commission
of Qinghai, as saying the government should help
resettled herdsman master a marketable trade and
assist the region in developing a profitable
sector. Only then can the improvement of the ecosystem be secured.

This has not happened so far.
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