Destruction of Tibetan Homes Near Qinghai Lake Leaves Over 900 Homeless
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.
Le raid sur le village de Benshul Jeyna, le plus grand des villages nomades du comté, implique de grandes pertes pour les résidents tibétains qui ont dépensé beaucoup d’argent et d’effort pour reconstruire leurs habitations détruites par une action similaire l’an passé.
« Les habitant, incluant les femmes, ont protesté contre les autorités, dénonçant l’iniquité et l’injustice du raid. »
De fréquentes expropriations
Les raisons du choix de Benshul Jeyna par les autorités plutôt qu’un autre village des environs ne semble pas clair, mais l’expropriation de terrains en ruralité est fréquente. Les saisies opérées par d’avides gouvernements locaux qui vendent à profit les terres, déclenchent ainsi, chaque année, des milliers de manifestations [à travers la Chine ].
Le 20 avril 2014, les autorités du comté de Kyegudo, préfecture autonome tibétaine de Yushul ( Yushu en chinois ), province du Qinghaï, avaient envoyé, en réponse à des plaintes de concurrents chinois, des bulldozers pour détruire plusieurs briqueteries tibétaines.
Le 14 avril 2010, Kyegudo avait été touché par un séisme qui avait coûté la vie à environ 3 000 habitants, en plus d’avoir largement détruit la ville principale de la région. Les Tibétains avaient reconstruit sur leurs terres avec leurs propres deniers mais les autorités, considérant les constructions illégales, avait tout fait détruire.
Rappelons que depuis 2009, 139 Tibétains se sont immolés par le feu en Chine pour protester contre la politique menée par Pékin dans les régions habitées par les Tibétains ainsi que pour demander le retour d’exil de leur leader spirituel le Dalaï Lama.
Reportage : Dorjee Tso pour RFA’s Tibetan Service. Traduction du tibétain par Karma Dorjee. E crit en anglais par Richard Finney. Traduction en français : France Tibet
Tibetan Homes Deemed ‘Illegal’ Are Torn Down in Qinghai
Authorities in China’s northwestern Qinghai province began this week to demolish a Tibetan village containing houses deemed to have been built without official permission, leaving many families homeless, Tibetan sources said.
The raid on Benshul Jeyna village in Mangra (in Chinese, Guinan) county in the Tsolho (Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture was the second in as many years, and was led by the head of the county’s Sumdo township, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
“He brought in officials from the local offices of security and law enforcement, along with the heads of 16 area villages, with the intent to demolish the Tibetan homes,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“They said that the houses built in the village were ‘illegal,’” the source said, adding, “The work of demolition began on May 5 and will continue for a week.”
The raid on Benshul Jeyna—the largest of 16 nomad villages in Mangra county—is causing significant loss to the settlement’s Tibetan residents, who had spent “much money and effort” to rebuild homes torn down in a similar raid last year, the source said.
“Residents, including the women in the village, are crying out and protesting against the actions of the authorities, calling them unfair and unjust,” he said.
Frequent land grabs
Reasons for the targeting of Benshul Jeyna instead of other villages nearby were not clear, but rural land is frequently seized by cash-hungry local governments in China for lucrative property deals, triggering thousands of protests each year.
On April 20, 2014, authorities in Qinghai’s Kyegudo (Yushu) county in the Yulshul (Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture bulldozed several brick factories operated by Tibetans in response to pleas by rival Chinese plants, sources told RFA in earlier reports.
A total of 139 Tibetans have self-immolated in China since 2009 in protest against Beijing’s rule in Tibetan-populated areas and calling for the return from exile of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
Reported by Dorjee Tso for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.