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Tibetan families evicted from government housing in Kyegudo

January 26, 2015

Radio Free Asia, January 23, 2015 - Chinese security forces moved this week to evict Tibetan families from new homes in an earthquake-hit region of western China’s Qinghai province after occupants said they could not pay the government back for the costs of additional construction, sources said.

The Jan. 21 action by authorities in the town of Kyegudo in the Yulshul (in Chinese, Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture followed official demands for payment and saw hundreds of police deployed into government-built housing projects, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“The Tibetans were told that all land belongs to the state, and that they should therefore reimburse the costs” of their resettlement, RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“But many families had lost loved ones and all their belongings and are in no position to pay the money back,” he said.

Also speaking to RFA, a second local source said that the government had provided uniform lots of 80 square meters for families displaced by the devastating April 14, 2010 Kyegudo earthquake that largely destroyed the town and killed almost 3,000 residents by official count.  

“But many families complained about the size of the lots and demanded larger sites, with the understanding that they would one day reimburse the added expense,” the source said.

“So now the government is demanding that a part of this payment for the additional land and work should be made.”

Many are evicted

Armed Chinese police and other security forces are now going “door to door” to demand payment, a third source said.

“They started with the families of government employees, and those who are unable to pay are being told to leave their homes and move to smaller houses provided by the government for free in unpopular areas.”

“Those who refuse and resist are taken away,” he said.

Similar evictions are taking place from businesses and shops built by the government on land owned by the Tibetans themselves, the source said.

“The authorities quickly sell the properties taken from those who cannot pay to other local businessmen who are willing to buy,” he added.

In March 2014, Kyegudo authorities demolished several brick factories operated by Tibetans in response to pleas by rival Chinese plants concerned over increasing competition, sources told RFA in an earlier report.

“The brick kilns owned and operated by Tibetans were destroyed, while those owned by the Chinese immigrants were left untouched,” a Tibetan living in exile said, citing local sources.

Tibetans living in China frequently complain of political, economic, and religious discrimination as well as human rights abuses.

A total of 136 Tibetans have self-immolated in China since 2009 to protest Beijing’s rule in Tibetan-populated areas and to call for the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Reported by Kunsang Tenzin and Guru Choegyi for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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