12/11/2010, 00.00
CHINA-TIBET
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Thousands of Tibetans evicted to make way for Lhundrub dam

The hydroelectric project will dam up 3 rivers in Lhundrub County. Thousands of peasants deprived of their homes and land to cultivate; no one knows how they will survive. No respect for the rights of the Tibetans in economic development of Tibet.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 4 thousand residents in Phodo, Lhundrub County just above Lhasa, will be driven from home to build a hydroelectric project in the area. The economic development of Tibet continues to take place to the detriment of the Tibetans, who have a small share of the benefits which instead are channelled to the rest of China.

Local sources tells Radio Free Asia, that "the Chinese are building bridges and blocking the river." "The Chinese have already built houses for the Chinese soldiers who arrived to build a dam."

The rivers, Radreng, Lhaching and Pachoe, flow near Phodo and it is believed that the dam will involve them all. The project directly regards at least six villages, including Phodo.

Some families have already been removed and all will be transferred before September 2011. Meanwhile, to persuade them to go away, authorities have warned residents "that they can not cultivate or irrigate their land, nor grow crops."

The more than 500 families of Phodo do not want to leave, because in addition to the house, they would lose crops, their only means of livelihood, and fear of receiving inadequate housing, and remain without work. For this reason they have asked to remain in the area but have been refused and were housed in various centres. Some families have been sent to the capital Lhasa, where there is no arable land, the peasants had to sell their livestock.

"Every family - the source added - should receive 10 thousand yuan in compensation, but was ordered to spend it to build the new house."

China says that they are only fighting secessionist forces in Tibet and have brought economic development and wealth. But Tibetans say they are deprived of basic rights such as freedom of speech, and that a cultural genocide is taking place that affects the monks, intellectuals, anyone who refers to the Dalai Lama, religious leader and Nobel Peace Laureate forced into exile. Economic development is in the hands of ethnic Han Chinese migrants who have leadership positions in the area. Among other things, this development is taking place without any respect for the fragile environment of Tibet, with the construction of dams and other large works without any previous study on their possible environmental impact.

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