Tibetans Detained for Protesting Destruction of Their Homes

2013-04-11
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An undated photo of Tibetans gathering around a demolished house in the town of Kyegudo in the Yulshul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener.

Chinese security forces have detained 21 Tibetans following clashes with police over the forced demolition of recently rebuilt homes in an earthquake-hit region of northwest China’s Qinghai province, according to Tibetan sources.

At least six Tibetans and four policemen were injured in the clashes Tuesday after a protest by over 100 area residents angered by the demolition of Tibetan homes in the town of Kyegudo in the Yulshul (in Chinese, Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“When the police cracked down on the Tibetan protesters, the Tibetans clashed with police, and six Tibetans and four policemen were injured in the clash,” he said.

“So far, the authorities have detained 21 Tibetans and taken them away,” he said.

Kyegudo was hit by a devastating earthquake on April 14, 2010, that largely destroyed the town and killed almost 3,000 residents by official count.

Now, Chinese authorities have begun to demolish rebuilt Tibetan homes, saying their occupants are not officially registered to live in the town, sources said.

Many of the houses were built by families on their own land and with their own resources, sources said.

Woman self-immolates

In late March, a Tibetan woman set herself on fire to protest the demolition of her home in the Kyegudo area, sources said last week.

“Around 1,000 Tibetan houses in Kyegudo have now been forcibly demolished,” a U.S.-based Tibetan told RFA last week, citing contacts in the region.

“Many Tibetans could not even gather up their belongings before the houses were bulldozed,” he added.

Separately, a Tibetan living in India with sources in the region confirmed Tuesday’s protest, saying that over 100 Tibetans had taken part.

“They demanded that the government stop the forced demolitions and return land that had been confiscated,” Choenyi Woeser, editor of the online Tibet Express, said.

“The authorities dispatched armed police to quell the protest, and clashes ensued,” Woeser said, adding, “Six Tibetans and four policemen were injured, and 21 Tibetan protesters were detained.”

“The government also announced that a further 200 houses were to be demolished,” he said.

Information blockade


Woeser said that following the April 14, 2010 earthquake in Yulshul, authorities have also demolished all houses deemed “unsafe” in the name of reconstruction.

“Tibetans have been detained for protesting the forced demolition by authorities.”

“Some of them have jumped off buildings or committed self-immolation as a form of protest,” he said.

Confirmation and details of reported incidents are difficult to obtain because of an “information blockade” erected by authorities, he added.

Reported by Lobsang Sherab for RFA’s Tibetan Service and by Dan Zhen for the Mandarin Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee and Jennifer Chou. Written in English by Richard Finney.