Tibetan Quake Victims Protest Land Seizure
While arduously attempting to recover from the effects of the earthquake that devastated much of Yushu’s Tibetan Autonomous Region on April 14, Tibetans are being faced with yet another challenge—defending their land against authorities who are attempting to confiscate it, in the name of rebuilding the disaster area.
The earthquake that shook the area has turned Jiegu Town in Yushu Region into a mere relic of what it was. Tibetans here have been protesting the appropriation of their land by authorities for the past month now. Nearly 100,000 people’s lives were impacted by the quake. The state-controlled news agency Xinhua has confirmed that the State Department has approved a project to rebuild the Yushu region.
A teacher in Jiegu Town (name undisclosed) told The Epoch Times that local officials sent out a second notice for the reconstruction plan on June 14, which prohibits all residents from rebuilding any premises. The locals responded by protesting for many days. The authorities then mobilized armed police to maintain a presence on the streets.
Referring to the reconstruction plan, a Tibetan resident said that the residents are not permitted to rebuild their properties, because the local government is planning to turn the disaster area into a tourist attraction.
“We have lost our homes, and have nothing left. The government ignores our real needs and does whatever it feels like. We will not go along with that,” said the resident.
The resident pointed out that there are tens of thousands of families in the disaster area who have joined the protest. In the past several days, hundreds of them have gone daily to the regional government’s headquarters to protest.
“We want to rebuild our houses in the same place. We don’t mind doing it slowly, by ourselves,” the resident said.
According to another resident in Jiegu Town, the government not only prohibits them from rebuilding in the same place, it is also forcing them to move to remote suburbs.
“The government will take the better land for themselves, while we have to move far away to build our houses. The size of each future house planned for us is 860 square feet. We need houses that are 1300 to 1700 square feet.” the resident said.
A resident who lived in Zaxike Village, Jiegu Town, told The Epoch Times that the residents have been living in tents since the quake took place. They were told to move away, and were not allowed to rebuild.
“It’s been almost two months since the quake, and some of the victims do not even have a tent. They have to live with others. It’s a big inconvenience.”
After the protests, authorities promised new plans, but there has been no final agreement.
The Epoch Times called the Yushu regional government. An official said that the Tibetans did not have objections over the reconstruction plan, and there have been no protests.
Another resident said that a month after the quake, on May 25, the residents received the first notice of the reconstruction plan, and were demoralized over the appropriation. Several hundred protested in front of the Yushu government.
A protest participant said that the soldiers from the Yushu military base were mobilized to suppress protests, adding “Some of us were beaten and arrested.”
Read the original Chinese article.