Tibetan Villagers Evicted to Make Room For New Airport


2019-05-16
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tibet-chabchamap2-090617.jpg A map showing the location of Chabcha county in Qinghai province.
RFA

As many as 40 Tibetan families have been thrown off their land in northwestern China’s Qinghai province to make way for airport construction, with those evicted offered compensation described as “inadequate,” Tibetan sources say.

The families, residents of Chunga village in the Tsolho (in Chinese, Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture’s Chabcha (Gonghe) county, are being moved so that authorities can restore a local airport in the historic region of Tibet known to Tibetans as Amdo, a source living in the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“Every family will be relocated,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s just a matter of time.”

To rebuild and expand the airport, which was closed down in the 1980s, government authorities are seizing the land of local Tibetans, “who will receive little in the name of compensation,” the source said.

Amounts being offered vary according to the amount of land being taken, with payments ranging from only 12,000 yuan (U.S. $1,743) to as much as 200,000 yuan (U.S. $29,054), the source said, adding that the villagers losing their homes are being moved to other housing nearby.

“It’s better to take the money and relocate oneself, though, as the consequences could be severe if we insist on remaining where we are,” the source said.

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.

In October 2018, Chinese workers building a solar panel installation in Qinghai’s Tsolho prefecture attacked a group of Tibetans protesting their intrusion into nearby grazing areas.

The Oct. 11 assault left one Tibetan injured after he was dragged a short distance by a truck, and several Chinese workers were taken into custody by police.

Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Tenzin Dickyi. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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