Sunday :: May 6, 2007

China's Relocation of Rural Tibet

by Mary

McClatchy has an article today about how the Chinese government is forceably moving large numbers of the rural Tibetans from their hamlets into new "socialist villages."

ZENGSHOL, Tibet - In a massive campaign that recalls the socialist engineering of an earlier era, the Chinese government has relocated some 250,000 Tibetans - nearly one-tenth of the population - from scattered rural hamlets to new "socialist villages," ordering them to build new housing largely at their own expense and without their consent.

This is another factor in preparing for the 2008 Summer Olymic Games as China prepares for vast numbers of visitors and tourists.

And what part of this forced relocation is the ongoing attempt to coopt the traditional Tibetan Buddhism that has steeped the Tibetan culture for centuries?

A vital element in the strategy is to displace a revered leader, the Dalai Lama, now 71, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for advocating resistance to the communist government. The government hopes to replace him after he dies with a state-appointed successor, and in the meantime it's opened the gates of Tibet to greater numbers of ethnic Han Chinese and tightened control of religious activity.

According to the Tibetans interviewed by Human Rights Watch in Nepal, some of land the herders and farmers are being forced off is being turned over to other activities such as mining. And if the relocated household can't pay for the loan they are forced to take out for building their house in the village, they forfeit the right to live in that house. Interestingly, all the people the reporter is allowed to interview in Tibet think the Chinese government program is a great thing.

One wonders what other activities are being done in the name of cleaning up the country for the Olymics.

Mary :: 10:39 AM :: Comments (27) :: Digg It!