28 Jun 2013

Mass resettlement reported in Tibet

6:06 am on 28 June 2013

More than two million Tibetans have been resettled by the Chinese government over the last seven years, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

The group says many, including hundreds of thousands of nomads, were forced into "socialist villages".

The goal of the relocation is to exert tighter political control over ethnic Tibetans, according to researchers.

China denies forced evictions.

But the BBC reports images from Google Earth published by Human Rights Watch appear to show the mass destruction of existing housing and the construction of villages with uniform rows of new buildings.

"The government has started to despatch new teams of Communist Party officials to each single village of the Tibet Autonomous Region," said HRW Asia researcher Nicholas Bequelin.

The BBC reports many Tibetans resent the influx of Han Chinese into Tibet and the Communist Party's restrictions on their religious freedoms.

In the past four years, at least 117 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest, resulting in 90 deaths.