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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid