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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China settles 50,000 Tibetan nomads in towns: state media

August 26, 2009

August 25, 2009

BEIJING -- China has settled nearly 50,000
Tibetan nomads into sedentary communities in a
drive to protect the remote alpine region's
fragile ecology from their herds, state media said Monday.

Xinhua news agency said 49,631 people from
nomadic families were settled over the past four
years under a policy that Tibetan activists decry
as destructive blow to the Buddhist region's
ancient culture under Chinese rule.

The nomads were relocated from a rugged region on
the Tibetan plateau that is home to the
headwaters of three of Asia's major rivers, the
Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong, the report said.

The report said the settlement policy was aimed
at protecting the ecology of the area from
overgrazing by the nomads' herds as fears grow for the region's ecology.

Scientists say Tibet's glaciers are rapidly
melting and warn this could cause widespread
future flooding in regions downstream. They also
say the elimination of the glaciers will threaten water supplies across Asia.

However, exiled Tibetan activists have said the
policy destroys the nomadic and environmentally
sustainable pastoral culture of Tibetan cattle and sheep herders.

The region's government has offered the nomads
vocational training and set up a fund to
encourage them to start their own businesses,
while building new schools and other facilities,
Xinhua quoted a local government official as saying.

Chinese state media said in 2007 that the
government eventually planned to resettle 100,000 Tibetan nomads.

Violent anti-Chinese riots spread across Tibetan
and adjacent regions populated by ethnic Tibetans in March of 2008.

China has controlled the region for six decades.
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