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Tibetan nomads forced from resettlement towns to make way for development

June 19, 2017

Radio Free Asia, June 15, 2017 - Tibetan nomads previously forced from traditional grazing lands in a state-directed resettlement scheme in Qinghai are now being told to go back, as authorities begin to target their current homes for development as tourist centers and housing for government employees, Tibetan sources say.

The new policy, announced last year and affecting residents of Dzatoe and Domda towns in Qinghai’s Yulshul (in Chinese, Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, has negatively impacted the resettled Tibetans, who were told to reduce their herds when they were first moved, a local resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“After two years of living in the new towns, residents are now being forced to move back to their original grasslands without their animals, which are the main source of livelihood in Tibetan nomadic communities,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Sites being vacated will now be developed as housing for government workers and tourists, the source said.

“Houses in Dzatoe town have been demolished and leveled for new construction,” the source said, adding that without assurances of financial assistance from Chinese authorities, “the Tibetan residents are suffering great hardship.”

Residents of a resettlement site near Domda town in Yulshul’s Tridu (Chenduo) county have also been told to return to the areas from which they were formerly removed, a second source said, also speaking on condition he not be named.

“China is said to be planning a major tourist development project in the place where Tibetan nomads were forced to move some years back,” the source said.

Though some families have already returned to their former homes, “they had already gotten rid of their animals,” the source said, adding that other families have remained behind in the hope that government authorities will provide alternative housing for them.

“Now the authorities are planning to demolish the houses built for the nomads and build housing instead for new Chinese migrants and tourists in the Domda area, which is known for its natural scenic beauty and good supplies of water and electricity,” he said.

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

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