Tibetan Homes Near Lhasa to be Replaced by Chinese-Style Dwellings

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Tourists walk around the Barkhor in the heart of Lhasa's old town in a file photo.
Tourists walk around the Barkhor in the heart of Lhasa's old town in a file photo.

Chinese authorities in Tibet have ordered the destruction of houses built in traditional style in three counties outside the regional capital Lhasa, with their replacement by Chinese-style dwellings scheduled for completion in five years, according to a local source.

Demolition and construction will begin in 2016 in Tagtse (in Chinese, Dazi), Lhundrub (Linzhou), and Maldro Gongkar (Mozhugongka) counties, located outside Lhasa city, a resident of the area told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

“We are being forced to accept and support the plan without any choice,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Our own house is in very good shape and doesn’t need reconstruction,” she said, adding that residents in all three counties have been ordered to register for their homes to be replaced by buildings of Chinese design.

“We haven't turned in our own names yet,” she added.

The order for replacement was issued by the Lhasa city government and then communicated to Tibetan families by their county governments, with residents of Tagtse informed in September, Lhundrub in October, and Maldro Gongkar in December, RFA’s source said.

“The project will begin with those families who are recipients of government welfare, and then move on to those families who don’t receive benefits,” she said.

Though anticipated costs of the work in Tagtse and Lhundrub are still unclear, “families in Maldro Gongkar have been told to contribute 200,000 yuan [U.S. $31,340], with remaining expenses paid by the government,” she said.

“Families have been promised the keys to their new homes when the work is finished,” she added.

Details and costs of the planned reconstruction could not be independently confirmed, and calls seeking comment from the Lhasa city government rang unanswered on Thursday.

In 2013, a project to modernize Lhasa’s central Barkhor, or Old City, area ignited a storm of protest online and among international Tibet support groups, with some calling the move an attempt to destroy Tibetans’ “living connection” to their past.

Meanwhile, the demolition in October of Tibetan dwellings near a scenic lake in northwestern China’s Qinghai province has left over 900 homeless and living in tents, sources said in earlier reports.

Reported by Lobsang Choephel for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Comments (2)


from NY

This is part of the CCP's policy to erase the Tibetan identity from Tibet and Sinicize the Tibetan people to be more like Han Chinese. It's racist & forced assimilation. These aren't shantytowns, they are traditional Tibetan buildings that have been there before the Chinese invasion. Tibet is disappearing under a wave of Chinese colonialism.

Dec 07, 2015 10:11 AM


took a look at google earth those places seem to have a few shanty towns with what looks like 5 feet wide roads in between houses so , figure those are the one they are tearing down , good thing imo

Dec 06, 2015 06:50 PM


from NY

This is a typical comment from Han-chauvinist Chinese imperialists. They call everything Tibetan backward, including our religion, culture & even our architecture. The repression of Tibetan people & culture will not end until Tibet is free from Chinese colonialism.

Dec 07, 2015 10:13 AM





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