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Tibet in Review

90 Percent of Tibetans will Be Relocated by the End of This Year

90 Percent of Tibetans will Be Relocated by the End of This Year
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The Chinese government calls the relocation of the Tibetan nomadic population into sedentary houses as a part of “comfortable housing” or “new socialist countryside” project. However, online commentors view this as China's strategy to place Tibetans in an “Updated concentration camp” and Tibetans themselves see this as a “death sentence” for the Tibetan way of life. According to the Human Rights Watch, 90 percent of the Tibetan nomadic population will be moved into the sedentary houses by the end of 2013. China’s Tibet website reported in June, 2013 that such large magnitude project is evidently about to complete. In Chamdo Prefecture, 89,000 families or 550,000 Tibetans will be moved into the so called “comfortable housing projects” by the end of 2013. That would account for 84 percent of the total population of Chamdo prefecture. On the official website of the Qinghai provincial government, they announced that they are currently working to complete the “remaining” construction of nomadic sedentary project. According to provincial five-year plan in 2009, by 2014 all nomads in Qinghai Province will be relocated into such projects. “Unless the international community brings China to account for this mass relocation polices, the traditional ways of Tibetans may disappear in matter of years,” warns Nicholas Benquelin, Senior Researcher of the Human Rights Watch. Diki Chhoyang, the minister of International Relations Department of Tibetan government in exile, explains the relevance of it to the survival of Tibetan identity. “Everyone in Tibet knows that Tibetan traditional culture is mainly remained in the rural nomadic and farming areas today,” says Miss Chhoyang, talking to Tibet in Review in Tibetan. “Sudden transformation of nomadic traditional way of life will damage the [Tibetan] culture.” She further added that the Tibetan government in exile is more concerned with the fact that nomadic relocation project was carried out without the nomad's consentment. Sophie Richardson, the China director of HRW echoes Miss Chhoyang’s argument. She tells Tibet in Review that HRW finds the relocation is done by force, thus, violating human rights.