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Tibetans lose in China's river-source recovery project

October 8, 2009

TibetanReview - Oct 06, 2009

China said Oct 4 that it had restored some 2.6 million hectares of
grasslands in the Three-River Headwaters on the Tibetan Plateau in the past
four years for ecological protection, suggesting a large-scale resettlement
or restrictions on Tibetan nomads who had freely roamed the area since
ancient times. Known as Sanjiangyuan in Chinese, the Three-River Headwaters
area is the source of three major rivers originating in the traditional
Tibetan province of Amdo flowing into China: the Yangtze (Tibetan: Drichu),
Yellow (Tibetan: Machu) and Lancang (Tibetan: Zachu) rivers.

It was not clear how many Tibetan nomads had been affected over the past
four years under the project. China's official Xinhua news agency Oct 4
quoted Li Xiaonan, deputy director of the Sanjiangyuan ecological
preservation and construction office of Qinghai Province, as saying, "We
have spent more than 950 million yuan (US $139 million) fencing pastures and
subsidizing the herdsmen and restored 2.6 million hectares of grasslands
from grazing."

The report cited Sohe, deputy head of Chengduo (Tibetan: Tridu) County of
Yushu (Tibetan: Yulshul) Prefecture as saying the number of livestock in the
county had been reduced by a third from the previous total of 800,000,
allowing the grasslands to recover.

Many more Tibetan nomads are destined to lose their traditional land and way
of life. "The total investment will reach 3.1 billion yuan to restore more
than 6.4 million hectares," the report quoted Li as saying.

The project is being undertaken under a 7.5-billion-yuan ecological
reconstruction programme in Sanjiangyuan area launched by the Chinese
government in Beijing in 2005, the report said.
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