Earlier this month, Chinese authorities sent two monks, Gendun Dakpa and Lobsang Sherab, to prison for allegedly ‘sharing information with outsiders’ and ‘inciting separatism’ in Ngaba (Ch: Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, in Tibet’s Amdo Province. The monks were sentenced after almost a year of incommunicado detention since August last year. On 17 June, the Trochu County…
One of the most urgent issues affecting Tibetans inside Tibet today is the massive displacement induced by China’s development projects. Last month, Human Rights Watch reported that almost two million Tibetans, predominately nomads, have been displaced from their ancestral lands over the past seven years to make way for Chinese development in Tibet. Resettled in concrete houses in urban areas, displaced Tibetans suffer from innumerable problems such as the loss of their traditional economic livelihood and cultural dislocation.
The Chinese government argues that resettlement of Tibetan nomads is an economic necessity ostensibly to protect fragile Tibetan grasslands from what it calls “livestock overgrazing”. Behind such a rationale, however, is the implied accusation that nomads are unproductive people – economic liabilities – who stand in the way of China’s modernisation programs in Tibet.
TCHRD has translated and edited an essay by a Tibetan writer living inside Tibet who eloquently refutes Chinese assertions. The writer informs us that nomads are a proud, compassionate, honest, cultured and productive people who crafted their own independent source of living for centuries. The writer, born to nomadic parents, laments the losses nomads are currently suffering, including the loss of precious folk culture, because of their resettlement in urban areas.
Tashi Rabten (pen name: Theurang) is a Tibetan writer, poet and editor who is serving a four-year sentence in Mianyang Prison, Sichuan Province. He graduated from North-West University for Nationalities and edited the now-banned Tibetan language journal “Shar Dungri” and also published “Written in Blood”, a compilation of his poems, notes and writings on the situation in Tibet following the 2008 protests.
In this essay, translated by TCHRD, the writer condemns the cultural insensitivity of Chinese tourists and the commercialization of Tibetan culture as the number of Chinese tourists continues to rise, exerting immense pressure on the fragile ecology and landscape of the Tibetan Plateau.
They treat us like animals
During the summer, my homeland is filled with swarms of Chinese tourists. The rush of tourists means that elderly Tibetans are having