Tibetans being forcibly evicted for Hydropower Project in Rebkong

Representation image. Tsenmo Hydropower Dam in Rebkong County in the Traditional Tibetan Province of Amdo. Image: Tibet.net

By Tsering Choephel

DHARAMSALA, 3 June: Tibetan residents in Rebkong County in the Traditional Tibetan Province of Amdo have been ordered to move out by the Chinese authorities for the purpose of making the area clear for construction of a hydropower dam, Radio Free Asia reported on 30 May.

The authorities in Lingya village issued a directive on 23 May that ordered residents of seven villages in the region to vacate. Inconsiderate of the resident’s dependence on their farmland for living, the directive came without any discussion on compensation for the forced evacuation, the report said.

“The land that is being confiscated by the Chinese government is farmland, which is the livelihood of Tibetans,” the report said citing a source adding that Tibetans are given stern warnings against any expression of protest.

According to the report, the first phase of construction of the hydropower project in the Rebkong area is to begin 10 days after the day the notice was issued. 

Activists and exiled Tibetans have long campaigned against China’s exploitation of Tibet’s natural resources which they say has gathered pace significantly.

A-Nya Sengdra, an environmentalist widely respected in his community was sentenced to a 7-year prison sentence on 6 December 2019 after he was tried on false charges of “gathering people to disturb public order” when he was simply resisting China’s failed Tibet policies and pressing for environmental protection and end to local authority corruption.

Tempa Gyaltsen Zamlha, Head of Environment & Development Desk of Tibet Policy Institute(TPI), the CTA’s research centre said during the launch of the ‘COP 25 Climate Action for Tibet: The Earth’s Third Pole’, in 2919 that “Tibet has witnessed an increase in natural disasters since 2016 which he credited to climate change and China’s rampant and ill-advised mining and construction activities in Tibet in recent years.”

China’s thirst for minerals ­resources and its desire to exploit the rich deposits under the Tibetan plateau has led to numerous protests by the Tibetans who consider the hills and lakes sacred as they believe them to be the abode of gods who have protected the community and the land from time immemorial.

However, Chinese authorities have reacted to these protests by beating, arresting and also firing live ammunition at Tibetan protesters and the mining resulting in the spread of ­environmental pollution and ­anguish for local Tibetans whose ancestors lived here for thousands of years.

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