Sunday 30 January 2011

After earthquake comes, Chinese machinery to obliterate Tibetan roots

AHN[Friday, January 28, 2011 17:22]
China reports that shattered Tibetan town will be rebuilt in more urban style and given a "temporary" Chinese name.

China is using the devastating earthquake of April 2010 to rebuild badly affected Tibetan areas, but with a Chinese name and a culture-imposing agenda, according to reports from the region.

An undated photo sent by a local resident shows that most of the buildings in Gyegu town were reduced to rubble following the earthquake. (Photo: RFA/file/Local resident)
An undated photo sent by a local resident shows that most of the buildings in Gyegu town were reduced to rubble following the earthquake. (Photo: RFA/file/Local resident)
The reports are in direct contrast to an earlier message of hope U.S. President Barack Obama presented during his joint press conference with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Jan. 19 at the White House.

Obama told journalists in his opening remarks that the United States supports "further dialogue between the government of China and the representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve concerns and differences, including the preservation of the religious and cultural identity of the Tibetan people."

Commenting on his discussion with Hu on the human rights situation in China, President Obama stated, "I reaffirmed America's fundamental commitment to the universal rights of all people. That includes basic human rights like freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association and demonstration, and of religion -- rights that are recognized in the Chinese constitution.”

“As I've said before, the United States speaks up for these freedoms and the dignity of every human being, not only because it is part of who we are as Americans, but we do so because we believe that by upholding these universal rights, all nations, including China, will ultimately be more prosperous and successful." Obama continued.

One of the latest cases mentioned in recent reports from the region is the Tibetan town of Kyegu in the rural county of Yushu.

The International Campaign for Tibet, a global organization founded in 1988 to promote human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Tibet, cited a Xinhua repot quoting Qinghai provincial governor Luo Huining as saying, “In light of the post-quake rebuilding work and Qinghai’s urbanization drive, we will build Yushu County into a city with a new temporary name of Sanjiangyuan [The Three River Sources].”

Commenting on the controversial move, Mary Beth Markey, president of ICT, said: “Although the authorities recognize Yushu as a ‘Tibetan autonomous’ area, they are excluding Tibetan involvement in this reconstruction of a new city that is now being given a Chinese name.”

“This contravenes their own ‘ethnic autonomy’ laws and creates further distress among those already devastated by loss and dispossession,” Markey noted, cautioning, “There is also a danger that historic Tibetan buildings that survived the quake may now be razed in the reconstruction.”

The ICT recalled a resolution passed by the U.S. Congress on May 20, 2010, expressing condolences to those affected by the earthquake and highlighting the integral role Tibetans should have in the reconstruction.

The report cited Rep. Mike McMahon (D-NY), the sponsor of the resolution, describing Yushu as “a cradle of Tibetan culture and religion for centuries,” and encouraged the Chinese government to “include the local Tibetan population in reconstruction plans.” 

Related Story:
Tibetans in quake-hit Kyegudo protest Chinese government over land
Tibetan exiles form Yushu earthquake relief committee

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