News / Asia

    HRW: 2 Million Tibetans Forcibly Relocated Since 2006

    Tibet self-immolations, updated June 11, 2013
    Tibet self-immolations, updated June 11, 2013
    VOA News
    A New York-based human rights group says millions of Tibetans have been forced to leave their homes and livelihoods as part of a mass government relocation program aiming to control the ethnic group.

    Human Rights Watch says in a newly released report Beiing's efforts to build what it calls a "New Socialist Countryside" in the Tibet Autonomous Region are "radically altering" Tibetans' traditional lifestyle.

    It says over two million Tibetans have been rehoused through government-ordered renovations or new home constructions since 2006, while hundreds of thousands of nomadic herders have been relocated.

    The government says the program is helping improve the living standard of Tibetans. It denies that forced evictions take place, insisting the relocations are entirely voluntary and that Tibetans are grateful for the new housing.

    But Human Rights Watch says it has found that large numbers of those relocated did not move voluntarily. It says many were forced into often sub-standard housing and now face financial difficulties as a result of the move.

    U.S. officials say the American Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, is in Tibet for a three-day visit to meet with residents and check on human rights conditions. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said this is the first time a U.S. ambassador has traveled to Tibet since 2010.

    The group's report included before-and-after satellite photos of Tibetan villages, some of which appear to have been almost entirely demolished and replaced with "New Socialist Villages" made of identical houses in rows.

    The Chinese government has made it very difficult for rights groups and journalists to monitor the human rights situation in Tibetan areas of China. The region has become even more restricted to outsiders following a series of mass anti-government demonstrations and riots in 2008.

    More recently, Tibetan areas of China have been hit by a wave of self-immolation protests. Since 2009, at least 119 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest what they see as Chinese repression of their religion and culture.

    Many of the self-immolators have also called for the return of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who fled China in 1959 following a failed uprising against Chinese occupation.

    Beijing views the Dalai Lama as a separatist who is looking for Tibetan secession, despite the spiritual leader's insistence that he is only seeking greater autonomy for Tibet.

    But despite the insistence by many rights groups that heavy-handed Chinese policies are only creating further unrest, there are few signs that Beijing plans to back down.

    Human Rights Watch says the government has already announced plans to relocate more than 900,000 people by 2014.

    In its Thursday report, the New York-based group warned that forging ahead with such programs "in a broadly repressive environment will only fuel tensions and widen the rift between Tibetans and the Chinese state."

    A spokesperson for China's foreign ministry on Thursday rejected the Human Rights Watch report, saying the organization "always makes groundless and irresponsible" accusations against China.

    The spokesperson said the group does not have the right to comment on China's policy on ethnic and religious affairs, and insisted that China has "made progress" in these areas.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.