China is pursuing a two-pronged population settlement policy in Tibet—to move ethnic Tibetans from remote border areas to urban townships and settlements while relocating an ethnically mixed population to the newly-constructed ‘Xiaokang’ villages in the India-China border areas, writes Sanjib Kr Baruah
New Delhi: In just 15 days from now, from July 15 onwards, China will begin a mega relocation of ethnic Tibetans from high altitude and remote areas to settle down in townships and urban localities in lower altitude regions that are equipped with modern infrastructure and amenities of life like roads and airports, water supply, grocery and convenience stores, internet, etc.
By August 11, more than 26,300 people from ‘difficult’ areas will be settled in Sinpori in the Shannan prefecture which borders Bhutan and India’s Arunachal Pradesh. ‘Difficult’ areas refer to remote reaches located at 4,800 metres and more altitude. The plan also entails shifting locals—who are of Tibetan ethnicity—from 58 ‘high altitude’ villages to 12 townships in the Tsonyi, Amdo and Nyima counties in Nagchu prefecture north of Lhasa, Chinese media has reported.
The overall project aims to relocate more than 130,000 Tibetans in about 100 townships by 2030 with the declared state policy of enhancing the quality of life of the people by providing modern amenities while protecting the pristine high-altitude natural environment.
China’s state-controlled news agencies quoted Wu Wei, director of the regional forestry and grassland administration, as saying: “The relocation scheme reflects a people-centred development thought, taking consideration of both the ecological protection and people’s demand for a better life.”