Tibetans Protest Against China’s Dam Project and Enforced Relocation in Kham Derge

By Tsering Choephel

DHARAMSALA, 15 Feb: Several hundred Tibetans from Derge in the Traditional Tibetan province of Kham gathered in front of Derge County’s administrative building on Wednesday to protest against China’s planned construction of a hydropower project in the area. The Tibetans appealed to the authorities to cease the project and rescind its announcement calling for Tibetans in the area to relocate, clearing the land for the dam project.

Tibetans in Derge, Kham, gathered to protest China’s hydropower project on Feb 14. Image: Screenshot.

According to a source from the region, the Chinese authorities recently announced that people living around the Drichu River in China’s demarcated Derge County in Kardze prefecture and Jomda in eastern Chamdo prefecture in the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Region must move from their area to make way for a planned hydropower dam project.

The enforced relocation, according to the source, would affect thousands of households and dozens of monasteries in the region. Hundreds of Tibetans gathered in front of Derge County’s administrative building, appealing to the local authorities to revoke the relocation from their ancestral homes and lands. Videos of the protest are widely circulating on social media platforms.

Local Tibetans reportedly argued that despite the local officials plastering banners everywhere with the words ‘freedom’ and ‘equality,’ they act in contradiction to these ideals.

Moreover, they criticised the local authorities’ announcement of the dam project and relocation, which would adversely affect the livelihoods of thousands of people, as disobeying Beijing’s slogans of ‘minority freedom’ and ‘equality’.

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