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China Warns Relief Aid Cut to Tibetan Villagers Refusing to Relocate

A border defense policeman teaches primary students protective measures in the event of an earthquake, at a temporary tent classroom, in Gyirong county, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, May 13, 2015.
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While the entire population in the border town of Dram and nearby areas under Nyalam County have been relocated to Shigatse, 300 km away from Dram following the recent Nepal earthquake, a village in Rongshar, Dingri County, is said to have refused to leave their village.

“The government has informed the villagers that if they refuse to move to Shigatse, they would be denied of any relief aid. The villagers, however did not adhere to the order and refused to move anywhere," said Wangbhumo, a native to Rongshar, who now works as a teacher in Dharamsala, India.

The villagers are reportedly living in tents that are set up on their barley fields. The Chinese authorities has notified the other villages in the region that the new houses will be built on their barley fields, not on the old village sites. For the majority of the mountain villagers, the limited barely fields are their main source of food.

According to Wangbhumo, at least four people in Rongshar were killed by the April 25 earthquake.

Last Sunday, a caravan of Chinese army trucks moved all the belongings of the families from Dram area, who had been relocated to Shigatse after the earthquake.

The local official media has simultaneously launched a propaganda campaign to praise the rescue workers. On Tuesday, the Vice Secretary of Tibetan Autonomous Region, Wu Yingji, urged an increase in such propaganda work. In a six point guideline for the aftermath earthquake actions, he called for “continuously increase” of the propaganda campaign to praise the “heroes and examplary-people.”

The deadly earthquake has brought a positive consequence for the Communist Party, said an official in Nyalam County. “On April 25, the earthquake caused great damage in Nepal and here as well,” said Shilog, the head of Border Works Committee in Nyalam County, while talking to China state-run Tibet TV. "Perhaps it was a good thing. When we went to Kathmandu to rescue the people, they cried upon seeing us and expressed their gratitude to the Communist Party,” he added in reference to his team's effort in Kathmandu to bring “Chinese citizens” back to the Tibet side of the border.

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