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03 may 2012 002Dharamsala: Tibetans have been forced to surrender land in Ba County to Chinese authorities, making way for the construction of two hydroelectricity projects, according to a Tibetan resident of the area. As a result, an estimated 130,000 Han Chinese laborers will move to the region, essentially establishing a new town.

On 25 April, Chinese authorities held meetings in the nomadic villages of Seton, Dragmar, Seru, Machu and Goekar, announcing then that Tibetans in the area would be forced to give up 60% of their land and surrender 54% of their animals within the year.

The seizure would allow development to begin on a power plant, which would bring in 30,000 Han Chinese laborers to Sholma (Lower) Township. Officials stated fences would mark the government territory and animals would not be allowed inside those areas. Villagers were advised to cull their livestock by selling to slaughterhouses. During the meeting, Tibetans from the five villages unanimously refused the Chinese proposal.

The attempted seizure marks the second attempt by Chinese authorities to displace rural Tibetans. Similar Chinese declarations inside Ba County, in the villages of Nahor, Tagsoe, Gyamo, Kya and Naglong, also led to unanimous Tibetan refusals. According to local sources, authorities are constructing 2 hydroelectric projects in a roughly 7km stretch from Mashag Township of Upper Gartse to Raja Monastery, which would bring in an additional 100,000 Chinese workers to the area.

The resistance by Tibetans in the area has Chinese considering other methods to seize the land. Young Tibetans in the region have endured threats of a second Cultural Revolution.

China's policy of removing hundreds of thousands of Tibetans from their ancestral grasslands has grown increasingly common and more vigorous in some areas inside Tibet, attracting the attention of international organizations. A report on the website of London-based advocacy group Free Tibet, "The policy is having a disastrous impact on Tibetan herders' ability to maintain their traditional livelihoods and on a distinctive form of Tibetan cultural identity."

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