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Tibetan villagers fight eviction from their land in Chamdo

July 10, 2017

Radio Free Asia, July 6, 2017 - Tibetan villagers living in Tibet’s Chamdo prefecture are resisting local authorities’ orders to vacate their land, vowing to petition higher levels of government for permission to stay, a source living in the region says.

The land, which is shared by Pashoe (in Chinese, Basu) county’s Nara and Dziwa villages, has been farmed by villagers and their ancestors for centuries, but has now been claimed by Pema township officials for development, an area resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“Authorities say they need the land for the construction of hospitals and schools and other public places, and are offering low levels of compensation for those now living there,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

Houses, farming fields, and orchards are all being claimed, the source said.

“Villagers believe that this attempt to take their land for so little money is a corrupt plot and that officials will, in turn, sell the land for commercial development at a much higher rate to Chinese businessmen and their relatives,” he said.

Chinese officials are now using threats to force villagers to sign hand-over agreements by July 20, and are claiming that their orders to seize the land come from “all levels of the Chinese government,” the source said.

“But villagers believe that no orders have been given by higher authorities, and that the plan to take their land comes only from the county chief and a few other officials.”

“[The villagers] are determined now to seek intervention by China’s central government and to bring their grievances to the highest authorities,” the source said.

In April, nearly 200 Tibetan families living in Pashoe and neighboring Dzogang (Zuogang) county were ordered to leave their homes to make way for an unspecified government construction project, with the move to new locations to be made at their own expense, sources told RFA in an earlier report.

Chinese development projects in Tibetan areas have led to frequent standoffs with Tibetans who accuse Chinese firms and local officials of improperly seizing land and disrupting the lives of local people.

Many result in violent suppression, the detention of protest organizers, and intense pressure on the local population to comply with the government’s wishes.

Reported by Dawa Dolma for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Dorjee Damdul. Written in English by Richard Finney
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