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10:01 Jan 29 2012

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People's Daily dismisses HRW's allegations over Tibetan relocation program
09:51, January 29, 2012  

The People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, ran an article on Friday in response to criticisms made against the country's relocation policy in the Tibet autonomous region (TAR).

Earlier this week, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) published its annual World Report, criticizing the Chinese government for "relocating and rehousing up to 80 percent of the TAR population, including all pastoralists and nomads."

The People's Daily article, jointly published by two Tibetology experts, said the HRW's conclusion was groundless and contradictory to basic facts.

The two authors, Zhang Ming, or Lorong Dramadul, with the China Tibetology Research Center and Professor Yang Minghong with Sichuan University, hoped that their experiences and observations from over 20 years of field research in Tibet could help clarify the misunderstandings.

They cited official statistics and said that in 2011 1.85 million Tibetans, or 61 percent of the total population, had settled in permanent residences. Most of them had never left their original communities, but had their new homes built on the same sites as their original homes.

"No more than 150,000 people, or less than 5 percent of the Tibetan population, had left their original residence," the experts wrote.

They said the housing program was introduced in 2006 in order to offer Tibetans better housing and living conditions through massive government subsidies and support.

They also responded to allegations regarding the policy's role in changing the living patterns of nomads.

The experts noted that nomads used to live in tents while searching for pastures in chilly winter and making long-distance travel in summer, leaving them with little access to health care or education services.

By 2010, comfortable houses had been built for 30,000 nomad families in Tibet, the two experts said. Most of the new homes were built along the path linking those winter pastures. Therefore, the nomads could maintain their traditions while children and the elderly don't need to suffer from the travel, they added.

Moreover, the housing program also brought better infrastructure, public services and jobs to those traditional communities, the experts said.

Source: Xinhua


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