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

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid