A general view shows a makeshift camp for people affected by the 2010 earthquake in Yushul, eastern Tibet. April 23, 2012. (Photo/REUTERS/Carlos Barria)
DHARAMSHALA, April 27: Two years after a 6.9 magnitude earthquake devastated the eastern Tibetan region of Yushul, killing almost 3000 people, thousands continue to live in tents as local Tibetans accuse Chinese authorities of confiscating their ancestral lands.Reuters
news agency has reported that thousands of Tibetans are still living in tents lacking running water and reliable electricity, pitched alongside damaged houses and on the same horse racing grounds that was first used as an emergency evacuation zone in April 2010.
“While many government structures were rebuilt, residential areas were laid to waste and many residents live amid rubble alongside a canal that stinks of human excrement and rubbish,” the report said. Reuters
quoted a local Tibetan as saying that Chinese government officials were threatening to forcibly relocate some 600 people from what was prime real estate in order to rebuild the area as what officials billed as an "ecological tourism centre".
“I told the county secretary: 'You're all robbers. You're looting a burning house," the Tibetan was quoted as saying.
On April 12, local officials deployed an anti-riot squad to suppress protests against forced relocations and land grabs.
“But the demonstrations continued unabated,” Reuters said.
Several protests have been reported in the region following forced relocations and Beijing’s unkept promises of rebuilding.
Around 4000 Tibetans had participated in a major protest in March 2011, demanding their land be left untouched. The protesters blocked a road leading to the provincial capital, however, on the third day, Chinese police broke up the protest and arrested dozens of participants.Reuters
further quoted local Tibetans as saying that they have been barred from rebuilding their homes by government officials, while construction of buildings owned by Chinese companies carried on unabated. The report further noted that the construction workers were Han Chinese immigrants.
China’s state news agency, Xinhua
, in a report this month said that a major scandal involving the Red Cross Society of China that broke last year had hit the charity's branch in the Yushul region.
Kelsang Tashi, head of the regional branch reported a "substantial" drop in donations since the scandal.
"The sum of donations has been at a standstill since the scandal," the report quoted him as saying.