Tibetans who practically enjoyed full independence in their living styles are getting regrouped using mass relocation and rehousing programs making the Tibetan herders to live in resettlement camps in occupied Tibet.
Since 2006, the Chinese government has implemented large-scale programs to “rehouse”—through renovation of existing houses or construction of new ones—a majority of the rural population of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) under a policy called “Comfortable Housing.” In parallel, the government has accelerated the relocation and sedentarization of nomadic herders in the eastern part of the Tibetan plateau, mostly in Qinghai province, and laid the ground for similar policies in other parts of the plateau. Both policies are a component of the government’s effort to “Build a New Socialist Countryside” in Tibetan areas, which the government says is designed to rapidly increase the living standards of rural Tibetans and boost the local economy.
There are host of common issues associated with the New Socialist Villages policy. These common issues include:
The involuntary character of many relocation and rehousing programs;
The absence of genuine prior consultation with affected communities;
The lack of meaningful avenues for challenging or seeking remedies for wrongful eviction orders;
Inadequate and opaque compensation mechanisms;
Problems with the quality of houses in which communities are resettled or rehoused;
Increased financial burdens and indebtedness resulting from relocation and/or reconstruction of housing; and
The loss of tangible and intangible assets and dissolution of communities.
The report by Human Rights Watch describes the Chinese government’s relocation of Tibetans as “forcible”, not because they have evidence that officials are using physical force to remove residents from their old homes, but because they are offering them no alternatives. Under international law, the term “forced eviction” does not require the physical removal of residents from their homes. It also applies to evictions that lack meaningful consultation and compensation, or in which no alternatives to relocation have been presented. Chinese government relocation and rehousing policies and practices effectively compel communities to follow government orders or—in the case of nomadic communities—to move into fixed settlements through policies that are presented as having the force of law.