Updated at 11:10 a.m. EST on 2012-05-02
Chinese authorities have forcibly grabbed land from three Tibetan nomadic villages in Qinghai province and will give it to tens of thousands of new Chinese migrants, according to a Tibetan resident of the area.
The new wave of migration will result in the growth of a Chinese town fueled by construction of two hydroelectricity projects, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“On April 25, Chinese government officials convened a meeting of five nomadic villages in Gepasumdo [in Chinese, Tongde] county in the Tsolho [Hainan] prefecture in Qinghai," the Tibetan source said.
"At the meeting, the Tibetan residents of Setong, Dragmar, Seru, Machu, and Goekar villages were told they would have to give up 60 per cent of their land and get rid of 54 percent of their animals within this year," he said.
The officials said animals would not be allowed to remain on the land taken over by the government, and villagers were advised to reduce the number of their animals by selling them to slaughterhouses.
“During the meeting, the Tibetans from the five different villages unanimously refused to accept the Chinese proposal to take over their land," the Tibetan source said.
The government officials returned to the county center and later "forced the Tibetan residents of Setong, Dragmar, and Seru villages to surrender all their land,” the Tibetan said.
“The Tibetan land taken by the Chinese authorities ... is meant [to cater to] over 30,000 Chinese migrants."
"According to local sources, this could lead to the growth of a new Chinese town,” he said, adding that authorities are also constructing two more hydroelectric projects in the area which are expected to attract 100,000 Chinese migrants.
China’s policy to relocate hundreds of thousands of Tibetan nomads from their ancestral grasslands into colonies of permanent urban dwellings is gathering pace and is being implemented especially vigorously in certain areas of Tibet, according to a report on the website of London-based Free Tibet, an advocacy group.
"The policy is having a disastrous impact on Tibetan herders’ ability to maintain their traditional livelihoods and on a distinctive form of Tibetan cultural identity," it said.
Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA's Tibetan service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai.