China has been relocating Tibetans by demolishing their existing homes and coercing the poor Tibetans to accept fresh village homes in bordering villages with an aim to sideline the minority community and fulfil Beijing’s strategic interests, according to a report.
China has had a long history of relocating subjects so as to bolster vulnerable border areas. Known in Chinese as yimin shibian, the current move, however, does have some striking features that render it different from the past practices. Unlike the border areas of Manchuria, Inner Mongolia or Xinjiang; the Tibetan border areas are extremely difficult to farm or live in, said a report by International Forum For Right And Security (IFFRAS).
These border areas are stationed at over 15,000 feet above sea level, the place has unique characteristics that only people accustomed to such heights can grapple with. Only Tibetans, used to living at such an altitude, have the ability to live comfortably at such heights and possess adequate knowledge of herding yaks, the report added.
The relocation which is being done by the Chinese authorities is a persuasion process that is extraordinarily intense to the extent that the officials mostly demolish their existing homes and thereby coerce the poor Tibetans to accept fresh village homes in these bordering villages. There are clear signs that this whole idea of involving the Tibetans in carefully nurturing these border villages is not just about the infrastructural development aspect that the Chinese are reportedly so keen on, said IFFRAS.
China’s border project is essentially a novel form of colonialism wherein local beliefs, religious systems, leadership and knowledge are heavily sidelined and deliberately overruled. The only thing that matters here is the Chinese strategic interest, the report said.
According to IFFRAS, the strategy of the Chinese to increase its border security is based on the works of a Korean scholar who had studied Chinese communities living alongside the Sino – Korean border. Noting that there was an urgent need to counter the population outflow from border villages, which had gradually resulted in the hollowing out of these villages, the Chinese began building more and more villages adjacent to India, Nepal and Bhutan.
The larger idea is to deploy police and military units to live in those areas disguised as ordinary citizens wearing plain clothes and doing regular tasks for their livelihood. Such hollowing out of border villages would create hidden dangers in terms of security and infiltration of foreign elements into these areas. Therefore, the Chinese have urgently begun refocusing their Tibetan policy towards repopulating border villages in order to strengthen their own national security said IFFRAS.