The ongoing demolition by Chinese authorities of Tibetan dwellings near a scenic lake in northwestern China’s Qinghai province has left over 900 homeless and living in tents following a renewed assault, according to sources in the region and in exile.
The destruction in Gonpodung Kala village in Chabcha (in Chinese, Gonghe) county’s Trelnak township in the Tsolho (Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture took place late last week after the leveling a few days earlier of homes and shops elsewhere in Trelnak, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“On Oct. 22, a group of police arrived with bulldozers and began at around 4:20 p.m. to tear down over 240 houses built by Tibetan residents,” RFA’s source said, adding, “The authorities gave no reasons for the demolition.”
“Afterward, about 960 Tibetans from the village were left without houses and had to take shelter in tents,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“They were not allowed to take photos of the wreckage or to go anywhere near their destroyed property,” he added.
Speaking separately, a Tibetan living in exile confirmed the resident’s account, citing contacts in the area.
“The Tibetan victims were given no chance to question the Chinese actions,” Dolma Tso told RFA from her home in India.
“The demolition was completed within a short time, and the Tibetans were not allowed near the site of their demolished homes,” she said.
The destruction in Kala village followed by just five days a similar operation in Trelnak in which “Chinese officials and police arrived and tore down 30 structures built by the Tibetans as dwellings and place of business around Qinghai Lake,” a source told RFA in an earlier report.
The structures had been financed by personal loans and were constructed with iron sheets, with the shops set up to cater to tourists and pilgrims visiting the lake, the source said.
“The authorities accused the Tibetans of polluting and crowding the area around the lake, and took action to tear down the shops and homes,” he said.
“Now the owners are left without any source of supplemental income,” he added.
Tibetans living in China frequently complain of political, economic, and religious discrimination as well as human rights abuses.
Sporadic demonstrations challenging Chinese rule have continued in Tibetan-populated areas of China since widespread protests swept the region in 2008, with 143 Tibetans to date setting themselves ablaze to oppose Beijing’s rule and call for the return of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Reported by Sonam Wangdu for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.