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Tibetans Arrested After Land Grab Protest in China

  • Tsering Kyi

A group of at least 10 Tibetan nomads has been taken away by police in China's Sichuan province after protesting what the group says was an illegal land grab.

The protest took place Wednesday in Chengdu outside the Jin Jiang hotel, where local officials were attending a provincial Communist Party meeting.

The Tibetans are seen in pictures holding banners that call on authorities to resolve their complaint and return land they say was taken from them. Within minutes of starting their protest, about 50 police officers arrived and took them away.

A source close to the protesters told VOA's Tibetan service the dispute goes back several years.

“Five years ago the government said the nomadic land and the houses where they lived are going to be used for real estate development," said the source, who did not want to be named. "Therefore, the nomadic houses were demolished. Throughout the years and months, appeals to the local government never had any response.”

He added the detained Tibetans are from Thangkor Township (Chinese:Tangke Xiang), located in a Tibetan region of Sichuan, and that their current situation is unknown. Chinese officials have not commented on the incident.

Illegal land grabs by local officials and connected businesses frequently trigger local protests in China.

Sichuan, which has a sizable Tibetan minority, is the province where the largest number of Tibetans have protested with self-immolations since 2009.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Tibetan service.