Dharamshala — Hundreds of Tibetans in Khanya Township (Ch: Kaniang), Drakgo County (Ch: Luhuo), just signed a petition to plead with the local government to investigate the severe living condition in the township of Kham region, eastern Tibet. The latest development indicates clearly that Tibetans who live in rural areas are still facing deepening poverty in the face of China's so-called economic prosperity.
The collective petition also urges the government to solve local troubles as soon as possible, including deteriorate transportation, insufficiency of electricity, difficult water access, backward in public health and education, and forest destruction, etc.
According to local contact, the Chinese government has deliberately ceased poverty alleviation and construction projects in Khanya Township since 2008, which has left the township in extreme poverty ever since. Collapsed road in the raining season, and snow-sealed mountain passes in the winter had trapped villagers in the mountains for several times. Food and accommodation in the township was in serious shortage during these natural disasters, while the government remains unresponsive.
Besides this, due to the lack of water and electricity, inconvenient communication, and malfunctioning transportation, schoolteachers were unwilling to stay. The only school in the township becomes the 'empty house', and children in the township were thus deprived of educational opportunities, sources told the Tibet Post International (TPI).
By contrast, the local government started to deforest without constraints, which facilitated water and soil loss as well as natural disasters. Regarding this, local Tibetans have reported to the relevant higher authorities for several times, but no response was given. They now hope to call for attention from institutions inside and outside of Tibet through media report.
Multiple pictures of the local situation, include the signed petition received by the RFA Mandarin service showed that the Chinese government propagates their achievement in economic development and improvement of people's livelihood; but in fact, the difficult situation in Khanya Township is a valid evidence to debunk this claim.
One local source pointed out six needs;
- Our Khanya Township has 400 households, and is 80 kilometers away from the Drakgo County. Due to the terrible road condition, collapse commonly happens along the way, and many car accidents thus occur; this is the first problem.
- Secondly, the government constructed a small power station, which is almost derelict nowadays. Thus the electricity for living and production in this township has also been paralyzed. The seriously damaged electricity pole and low quality electricity cables have resulted in multiple accidents. During these accidents, some people died and some other were permanently disabled, but no compensation was provided.
- Thirdly, the issue of water access is still not solved by the government, which has seriously impacted the health of both villagers and livestock.
- Fourth, the telephone facility was not well built by the government. Almost in half of the full year, the telephone cannot be connected, but villagers have been required to pay for the telephone fee for the full year.
- Fifth, the only school in the township is an empty shell, without teachers or students. This directly affects kids' study and future.
- Sixth, the housing quality and public health in our township are largely lagged behind, and remain insecure. The so-called house-construction compensation, poverty alleviation subsidy, and health insurance allowance are not broadly implemented. Villagers are complaining a lot about this.
In order to solve the issues above, 400 households in Khanya Township appealed again to the relevant authorities of the government, but no response was given.
The informant reflected, 'On December 23 last year, all of the villagers signed the letter appealing to the local government, calling for relevant officials to investigate whether CCP's beneficiation policy has been implemented. However, no response has been given ever since. Thus, we recently submitted a collective petition to the County's government, calling for the government taking steps to alleviate the severe situation at the moment.' According to another local contact, this time, the collective case of appeal mainly mentions the problems of water and electricity, transportation, and deforestation, and so on.
The sources also revealed, 'in our Khanya Township, trans-village roads, local power station, and mobile communication equipment are all jerry-built projects. For example, the tap water only works at summer, and it is almost gone in the winter. The quality of the road is poor, and once it rains or snows, even motorbike cannot go through. The electricity and communication facility is usually cut off for long intervals.
'The facility is terrible, and even it breaks down, no people are sent to repair them. It caused accidents including, Jigme Wangchuk, a Khanya villager from Gyeda Village (Ch: Jizha, Luhuo county in Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China), was shocked to death by high-tension electricity cable; and Konchok Gyaltsen, another Khanya villager from Khanya Village, was disabled by mobile communication cables, and Metok Dolma, a Khanya villager from Lharo Village was crippled by deforestation; and so on. And those people who are killed or disabled did not receive any compensation from the government.'
The informant added, 'the cow-stealing cases are becoming more and more serious in our township. It often happens, but the government has no response despite of our report. Deforestation is becoming more and more severe. Recently, the government cut down overtly amount of trees in our holy mountain, and reaped exorbitant profits. The whole mountain has been devastated, and forestry resource has severely damaged, which may result further water and soil loss, and frequent natural disasters.'
The informant told TPI that after submitting the signed statement again, the government has promised to take measurements. However, based upon past experience, in order to urge the Chinese government to improve the current situation of Khanya Township, Khanya villagers still wish for external attention and support.