Relocation of Tibetan Nomads Still Continues
Restructuring of Tibetan Communities still continues:
"Tibetan nomads have
remained until now beyond the reach of the state, to an extent, and the
Chinese government doesn't like that."
“It is difficult to find
a Westerner who does not intuitively support the idea of a free Tibet.
But would Americans ever let go of Texas or California?”2
“At present, the realities of coercive power clearly limit the immediate prospects of advocates of greater Tibetan self-rule or independence.”3
The struggle continues for the sectors of the Tibetan population that have resisted governmental intervention to remain nomadic or, at least, pastoralist. In response to uprisings across the Chinese government that extended across the entire region of Tibet in 2007, Beijing is again resorting to hard-handed tactics to cut out the tradition behind the lives of the modern nomads. A Washington Posts article states that, “Now a culture that embodies Tibetan identity is at risk. Following the deadly protests against Chinese rule this spring that started in Lhasa, Tibet's capital, and radiated out to several western provinces on the Himalayan plateau, China's rulers are tightening political controls across the Tibetan regions, including stepping up the government-directed relocation of nomads.”4
to Maureen Fan, a Washington Post Foreign Service Correspondent, Tibetan
Nomad communities are still being restructured as late as 2007, as a new
Chinese organized intentional community ominously named,
recently opened its doors to forcibly
relocated Tibetans in Gansu Province. Hundreds of thousands of small
brick houses have been offered up to resettle Tibetans who have remained
nomadic. “The government's effort to control an itinerant population of
more than 2 million of its citizens is billed as a plan to improve the
nomads' living standards and to protect rivers and grasslands from
overgrazing. But it is also an increasingly important tool to contain
Tibetans and counter the influence of their spiritual leader, the Dalai
Settlement policies vary, and their effect on the social fabric of nomadic communities is complex. In many places, nomads have been encouraged to give up their animals, leading to reduced incomes, a rise in alcoholism and other social costs. A lack of planning has resulted in some settlements lacking water or power, officials admit. In many cases, nomads are ill-equipped to compete with Chinese migrant workers for jobs in nearby cities, and there has been insufficient retraining, experts said.
The government has relocated hundreds of thousands of nomads in towns and cities in recent years, drawing them with government-subsidized housing and other incentives. In Qinghai, officials have settled about 100,000 families, almost half the Tibetan population in that province, experts have said. In Tibet, officials said last year they would spend $80 million to settle most of its nomads by 2009.
The traditional sectors of the Tibetan region still remain in flux, as the Chinese continue policies of economic and cultural assimilation. “Optimally, Beijing hopes to win over sufficient followers among the local people to ensure control without large outside Chinese government presence.”9 Though there is another side to this coin: on the heels of Chinese policy comes infrastructure improvements, schooling, and, to an extent, different social and economic opportunities for Tibetans who move into settlements.
Although these Chinese “reforms” were, and continue to be, highly intrusive, many of the Tibetan Nomads have endured the imperialist onslaught and continue on with their traditional ways of life in accordance with the laws of spirituality and nature. The confrontational resettlement/ re-education methods of Chinese government seemed to have produced an ideological backlash in many Tibetan communities, as traditional ways are being held onto with increased vigor by the young generations of Tibetans. The harsh realities of the Chinese occupation of Tibet has also been a black mark on the name of the PRC throughout the world. Many governments have even spoken out about the administration of Tibet and, “Beijing leaders have been forced by public opinion and leaders in the West to be more accountable about the human rights situation in the TAR.”10
The Nomads of Tibet still migrate with their herds in conjunction with
the cycles of the mountains and the heavens, living out the very roll of
life in migration. Their ways are ancient and their practices have been
carved and etched by the demands of their high altitude home. Through
the Nomads of Tibet one can procure a glimpse of life before
civilization, before anthropocentrism- before time. May summer always
give way to winter, may living always give way to dying, may the roots
of what is human never be severed from our holy source, may there always
be those who know the rounds of life, may the ways of the Nomad always
remain ancient, precarious- ungraspable.
1Parag Khanna. The Second World (New York: Random House, 2008). 80
2Parag Khanna. The Second World (New York: Random House, 2008). 78.
3Debra E. Soled, editor. China: A Nation in Transition (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1995). 304.
4Fan, Maureen. For China's Nomads Relocation Proves a Mixed Blessing. Washington Post September 20, 2008.
7Fan, Maureen. For China's Nomads Relocation Proves a Mixed Blessing. Washington Post September 20, 2008.
8Fan, Maureen. For China's Nomads Relocation Proves a Mixed Blessing. Washington Post September 20, 2008.
9Debra E. Soled, editor. China: A Nation in Transition (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1995). 302.
10Debra E. Solad, editor. China: A Nation in Transition (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1995). 304.
|Relocation of Tibetan Nomads Still Continues|