Tibetans Protesting Land Grab Face Arrest in Markham

By Tsering Choephel

Chinese police clash with Tibetan protesters over land seizure in Markham county, Tibet, April 10, 2024. Image: Screenshot.

DHARAMSALA, 17 April: Four Tibetans have been arrested and subsequently detained by the Chinese police after staging a protest against the Chinese authorities’ land expropriation in Markham, in the traditional Tibetan Province of Kham, reported RFA on 15 April, citing three sources from Tibet.

The sources, who requested anonymity for safety reasons, informed RFA that Tibetans from Taktsa village in Markham, currently within China’s demarcated Tibet Autonomous Region, clashed with Chinese authorities as they appealed against the land grab and demanded compensation.

According to the report, Chinese authorities in the area illegally sold Tibetan-owned pasture land to businessmen in 2023 without compensating the Tibetans. 

The Tibetans only became aware of their land being seized illegally earlier this month when the businessmen sent people to clear the land. At that time, local residents confronted the authorities, demanding payment to compensate for their loss of land, the report states.

Twenty-five Tibetan families reportedly utilise the seized pasture land for grazing their animals and for recreational purposes.

In videos circulating on social media, over a dozen Tibetans can be seen pleading with Chinese officials, with raised thumbs as a gesture of appeal for mercy.

The official who colluded with the businessmen to illegally seize the land has been arrested on charges of corruption. Residents are demanding compensation for their stolen land, the report says.

It is not known for what purpose the businessmen plan to use the pasture land. Similar incidents of land grabs have occurred in Tibet in the past, particularly in the resource-rich region of Chamdo in eastern Tibet.

Chinese authorities are known to disregard Tibetan protests against such land grabs and illegal mining activities carried out on their traditional land. Peaceful protesters are often met with force, arrests, and detention in an attempt to silence their voices.

The current status of the four Tibetans arrested by Chinese authorities is unknown.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *