VII. Lack of Consultation and Compensation, and Limited Options for Complaint

No one has the liberty to refuse.

—F.H., Tibetan from Pema (Banma) county, Qinghai province, January 2006.132

There is no one in our township who does not want to live on the grassland and rear livestock. But the grassland and the cattle belong to the state and the ordinary herders were only given responsibility to look after them and don’t have any authority over them. That is why the township forced them to reduce their herds.... Not a single household could oppose the Chinese government and its policy. 

—F.W., displaced herder from Sangchu (Xiahe), Gansu province, July 2006.133

The [herders] have complaints in their minds, but no one can complain to the government and no one thinks it would do any good.

—M.S., from Tsigorthang (Xinghai) county, Qinghai province, June 2005134

Chinese law requires that those who are to be moved off their land or are to have their property confiscated must be consulted, and, if they are moved, compensated for their losses. Articles 41 and 111 of China’s constitution guarantee the right to consultation, as does the 1989 Administrative Procedure Law.135That law and the 1986 General Principles of the Civil Law of the PRCalso stipulate compensation for property seized illegally. The 1998/1999 Land Administration Law spells out the process by which property can be requisitioned, processes by which compensation should be paid, and amounts, but indications are that these are rarely followed.136 

Article 13 of China’s constitution was amended in 2004, and stipulates that the right to “lawful private property is inviolable,” and that “[t]he State may, in the public interest and in accordance with law, expropriate or requisition private property for its use and shall make compensation for the private property expropriated or requisitioned.”137 However, the guarantees set out in the new constitutional provision amendment were incorporated in ordinary legislation via the Property Rights Law, which was only adopted on March 16, 2007 and is not scheduled to come into effect until October 2007. The Property Rights Law provides protection of the right to property,138 including housing and means of livelihood,139 and while it makes provision for expropriation of property and houses, in the “public interest” such expropriation must comply with procedures “prescribed by the relevant Law” and “relocation compensation shall be paid under the law, and the lawful rights and interests of the person subject to expropriation shall be safeguarded;… where an individual’s dwelling unit is expropriated, the dwelling condition of the person subject to expropriation shall also be assured.”140

During the debate preceding the adoption of the law one commentator noted, “The calls for defining public interest derive from the truth that [it is] an excuse [that is] too vulnerable to abuse … an umbrella of protection for … abusive public servants.  Many worried about such abuse are citing forced evacuation in land requisitions by government departments.”141

The Chinese government has repeatedly stated that herders are not forced to move, but had “the right to chose” whether they wanted to resettle.142According to a state media article in December 2004, “Under the policy principle, ‘The government shows the way, the masses chose freely,’” 7,366 households had already signed a “contract to stop herding livestock.”143

More recently, in one of many similar articles, the official Xinhua news agency quoted a local official in October 2006 as guaranteeing that the government would respect and not interfere with the decision of herders to go back to the grassland if they chose to do so:

Relocation greatly transforms the life of herders, but if they want to go back to the grasslands to continue raising livestock, there won’t be any interference. The government respects the right to chose of herders.144

However, interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch detailed below paint a markedly different picture, of an experience characterized not by choice and consultation, but often by coercion and arbitrary action.

Lack of Consultation

[County officials] told the protesters “If you don’t listen to us when we explain it politely, then we will implement the policy [of herd reduction] by force of law.” Our people are humble and fear the law, they said we have to listen to whatever the government says, and we were compelled to accept it.

—L.P., a herder from Tengchen county, TAR, August 2006.145

The interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch make clear that there is little evidence of meaningful participation by the affected communities in the decisions to resettle people. As some of the accounts show, even those who have tried to advance their complaints through the relevant local authorities have had no success.  This account came from a farmer in Drakgo county in Sichuan whose fields had been confiscated:

Confiscation of farmland started in March 2001. Beforehand, the township leader called a meeting and told everyone, “Now we don’t have to work hard anymore. The government will calculate and give us grants of grain annually according to our annual produce. The Communist Party is very kind to us and we should be grateful.” I remember my neighbor [name withheld] spoke at the meeting saying, “We all know that the Communist Party is very kind, but we have to farm because that has been our livelihood for generations, and if we are not to encounter problems or face hardship, we need to keep our small farmland. As the Party always say that they listen to the peoples’ opinions and grievances, couldn’t you write an application to the concerned authorities requesting them not to confiscate our land?” The leader replied, “I think this is a good thing. As farmers our work is never-ending and as that is all we think about, we do not learn about and catch up with present day developments, we are too conservative, and if we didn’t have to do farming all the time we could use the extra time to make handicrafts and do business. But I can inform the higher authorities of your opinion.” Younger people agreed that with the government grain subsidy we would have opportunities to do different things, but the older people said that if our farmland was confiscated it would be like drawing the blood from our body and we would not be able to earn our living. I don’t know whether he wrote an appeal in the end, but our opinions did not help and our land was confiscated …146

Others described their inability to influence the decisions to confiscate land. Many reported that local officials announced the land confiscation and resettlement policies as orders from the central government, and therefore not to be questioned.

First the county government decides which township should be moved and then the township government carries out that order. The township government decides which “Ruka” [unit] should be moved and then they count the number of livestock of that Ruka, take away pasture, force people to sell livestock, allocate houses for resettlement and force [Tibetan herder] households to move one by one ... Since the land and water belong to the Nation, one can only follow government orders, and there is no one who can refuse and stay back. There is no room for discussion with the Communist Party.147

Many interviewees expressed anxiety about the arbitrary policy shifts with respect to land access and use, and the absence of transparency about developments that fundamentally affect their communities. B.U., from Machu in Gansu, told us,

A long time back our pasture land was all divided up by the PRC government and allotted to individual households, who were told to put up fences. Not only that, but all the fences were to be paid for by the people themselves. As for the cost, say a household had 100 cattle then 50 would have to be sold to pay for the fence. Now what they are doing these days is dismantling the fences and re-possessing the pasture land. Having done so, what they do is, if the land is alongside the motor road, they say they are making tourist facilities there. All those repossessed lands are being (re-)fenced by the Chinese government.  Although what they will actually do there in future I don’t know.148

Despite the government’s claim to the contrary, some Chinese studies obtained by Human Rights Watch acknowledge that the interests of herders have often been harmed through the loss of their original land rights:149

Before resettlement started, the herders had enjoyed their land rights under the responsibility system for about 30 years. But after the prohibition of [herding] and restoration of ecology [policies], there was absolutely no way for them to enjoy these benefits. 150

A number of similar studies also criticize the general lack of legality surrounding resettlement of herders, noting that the transfer of land rights often “is not explicit.”151 In particular, they observe that resettlement policies have been marked by “insufficient legal involvement,”152 “a lack of legal knowledge from all the parties,”153 and that “government departments have an insufficient knowledge of the law.”154 Underlining the arbitrary character of relevant decisions by local authorities, one study notes that in many cases, “administrative orders have superseded the law,” and stand “in contradiction with laws and regulations.”155

In addition, a number of Chinese authors note the persistence of “conflicts between government departments,”156 a factor that helps explain the variation in policies experienced by some of the interviewees cited in this report.

Lack of Compensation

One day I met with [county officials] and complained that the tax is high, but they reacted aggressively, saying, “Don’t you know who owns this land in the first place?”

—S.O., a Tibetan from Jomda county, TAR, Interviewed by Human Rights Watch, May 2006.157

Although China’s 2004 White Paper on human rights said that 14.77 billion yuan had been paid out in compensation to farmers across the country whose land had been requisitioned,158 the standard of compensation provided to the Tibetan herders is clearly inadequate (the standards according to international law are discussed in Chapter IV, above).  Claims of nonpayment are endemic, and there are also allegations of corruption and discrimination in the compensation process. 

The amounts paid in compensation in Tibetan areas vary considerably. At one end of the spectrum, in 2004 the Qinghai government pledged that each household would receive 80,000 yuan (US$10,000) as “production and construction” subsidies, and that over five years each household would receive 8,000 yuan (US$1,000) in grain subsidies.159 At the other, there are cases in which there has been no compensation at all.

The failure to adequately compensate those resettled is most clearly seen with respect to housing.  In some instances, local authorities have provided alternative housing for those resettled, though it is clear from the testimonies that this is generally regarded as inadequate. In at least one instance—the case of the Shawo Dam evictees described above—no housing was provided.

Newly built accommodations in semi-urban centers—typically, the local township or county—are low quality, unfurnished, two-room dwellings, and often in larger compounds of identical dwellings. Families are relocated to these irrespective of family size. Some of the people interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that some of the new houses were so small that occupants had to pitch tents in the small yard in front, but were not permitted to build themselves new houses adjacent to the government-built structures. N.M., from Nangchen (Nangqian) county, Yushu prefecture, in Qinghai province, commented to us about families crammed into these uniform two-room houses, “I went to see them when they were moving in, and I felt that they would not really be able to stay in such a place.”160

F.R., from Machen county in Golok prefecture, Qinghai province, described the trend this way:

Actual construction of urban housing [“gya-drong,” for resettled Tibetan herders] began this year in Kyareng township in Ma-to county, Changma-he township in Ma-chen county, Gongma township in Gabde county, Sangruma township in Darlak county, and others. Most of the resettled [herders] are moving to [newly built housing on] the edge of their own county town. They say they are moving 100 [herder] families a year from each township in each county ... For each family the government provides a two-room building with a small entrance yard, about 5-6 square meters.161

Many households had built houses for themselves at their winter grazing sites in recent years, but these also had to be abandoned when they were re-settled.162

According to at least one interviewee, the housing allocation process is also arbitrary:

As soon as the new houses are built, the households are moved according to the sequential numbers given to them by the local government. Then, if you can give reasons for preferring a certain location, like having relatives or friends there, it seems like you might be able to move there. But even for that, it is difficult if you don’t know any officials personally.163

Some said the accommodation is provided free,164 but most said they had to at least split the cost for house construction with the government or provide a down payment.165 For example, if the government says it is giving 10,000 yuan (US$1,294) per house in a resettlement colony, which is supposedly half the cost, it would ask each family to give the other half. However, some people complained that after the construction was complete, it was evident that the house could not have cost what the government claimed:166

The government provided houses, but said that a lot of money had been spent to build them, and so half the cost had to be paid by the household. They said each house cost 20,000 yuan (US$2,588). They are two-room houses, and I think it only cost 10,000 yuan (US$1,294) to build each one. For that reason, this year the affected households in Pema County strongly resisted the resettlement plan, but the government forced them to move.167

Some suggest that they are in fact being asked to pay high costs in addition to those of the actual house. As B.U., from Machu (Maqu) county, Kanlho (Gannan) prefecture in Gansu province, remarked, 

They are saying that the herders must become urbanised, and therefore they are building houses in the urban area which will be given to the herders. We have to pay more than 6,000 yuan (US$776) for the house, as well as monthly rent, water, and electric charges.168

Another person questioned why the government needed any additional revenue contributions from those relocated:

[Because herders were forced to sell their livestock to government slaughterhouses below the market price] when the Chinese government first implemented the policy, they said new housing would be provided free of cost, but we Tibetans suspect that the cost of the houses could easily have been covered by the profit from the livestock sold to the state.169

In some instances local officials have threatened to withhold compensation as a tool to expedite resettlement among those who tried to resist. 

All villages in Nyakla township have to move to the town, to make the town bigger, and [we were told] that we would not face any problem. Each household would be given a new house and 11,000 yuan cash according to the number of household members, and the move had to be completed by 2004. At first people were worried. Then in 2003 the leaders held another meeting and announced, “You have to move. If you register now you will be provided with a house in the county town, but if you don’t register you will not be housed later on.” After that, many households decided to move out.170

Compensation payments were also promised ostensibly to help families make the transition to their new livelihood as shopkeepers or entrepreneurs in the urban economy. Amounts reported to us ranged from one-time cash payments of 7,000–8,000 yuan171 (US$900-US$1000) to handouts of a few sacks of rice or wheat flour over the first year or two.172 Interviewees said that larger sums had been promised initially but do not appear to have materialized.173 One interviewee acknowledged that annual payments of around 2000 yuan were being made, but also said that recipients were resorting to sifting trash to supplement their income.174 Some who spoke to Human Rights Watch also contradicted statements in the official media that state assistance was available to help relocated households retrain or start businesses.175

Even those who received some compensation received less than the amount they ought to have been given, which led to disputes. As T.L., from Chentsa (Jianza) county, Malho (Huangnan prefecture), Qinghai province, told Human Rights Watch, “Our family also has to move. We received 11,000 yuan in compensation for our house, orchard, and trees. We had over 200 apple trees altogether and more than 2,000 trees.” According to T.L., they were supposed to have been paid 28 yuan for a big tree, 20 yuan for a medium-sized one and 15 yuan for a small one, but the prices they got ranged from 4 yuan for a large tree to 1.5 yuan for a small tree. He continued,

Our house is 11 pillars in size and made of wood. They paid us 3,000 yuan for it. More was paid for houses made of cement. The highest amount of compensation was 20,000 yuan but most families got 6-7,000 yuan, and most have about 5,000 yuan in savings. We have 12 people in our household, and our 7 mu of land only gave us grain to eat, not to sell. Our income was from selling fruit and vegetables ... There have been disputes between ordinary people and the Relocation Office (of Chentsa county government). In Lamo village for example there is a commonly owned Mani temple which is quite big and has many statues and scriptures. They offered only 3,000 yuan for it, the people didn’t accept and urged them to reconsider, but they won’t give much for a religious building. There have been big disputes between households which have to move and those that don’t over the remaining farmland of the former. The county government just leaves people to argue without solving such disputes constructively.176

In 2005 in Sangchu county in Kanlho prefecture, Gansu, an area used for military training by the People’s Liberation Army North-West Command (based in nearby Lanzhou) was fenced off, apparently for construction of a military airfield, with no direct compensation for locals. This led to protests in the county town in May 2005 which were forcefully suppressed.177  Another example was given by P.O., who said that land in a formerly pastoral area of Chabcha (Gonghe), the capital of Tso-lho (Hainan) prefecture, including some converted to agriculture since the fencing policy was enforced, was confiscated by the military in 2004, without compensation.178 Locals were told they could work as laborers on the military farm for a minimal wage if they wished, and heavy fines were imposed on households if their cattle grazed inside the fence.

Although reports of unpaid compensation to resettled herders almost never surface in state media reports, some official sources suggest that the problem is endemic.  In one study, a Chinese expert notes that even in the cases where the state itself allocates funds for resettlement programs, “The funds do not reach their destination on time, and many resettled herders can not lead a normal life. Some herders return to their original pastures or carry on with their pastoral activities.”179 An official account from the Qinghai Land Resources Bureau attests to large scale “unpaid compensation problems.” In one single district, a drive to “rectify land management” led to the payment of 3.14 million yuan (US$400,000) in “unpaid compensation for herders, resettlement expenses and other unpaid compensation for land confiscation.”180

Some of the people we interviewed made direct allegations of corruption in the relocation agencies.

The Relocation Office does not work honestly and is marred by bribery and corruption. They decide disputes between villages and households on the basis of partiality, which leads to bigger disputes and chaos in society. Some people took cases to court but they can never win against the Relocation Office because the judges have relations with the leaders and support the government. People have been given land at the relocation site but they have to build houses themselves and the money is not enough. It has been embezzled by local offices before reaching the beneficiaries. People are given 200 gyama of grain in aid which is not enough to feed a household for a year when they have no house and no land. Some say it will take several years to prepare the fields at Shasang Tang, and if so, people will not have enough.... The Relocation Office never gives aid to match the actual need, and they have used deception to move us out, so we have to fight a battle of wits with them and it is hard on ordinary people.181

In an article published in March 2004, Zhang Yuanqing, an official from the Qinghai provincial land resources bureau, recounts that many infrastructure projects he has examined simply did not include any budgetary provisions for the payment of compensation for land use and land confiscation:

I have participated this year [2003] in 13 preliminary hearings for construction projects. 12 out of 13 had had no provisions …. for land use cost and related fees. Construction projects involving land confiscation …. must include when and where the confiscation will take place, and this must be reflected in the budgetary estimation.

When these expenses are not itemized in the provisional budget … it violates administrative legality … All this led to illegal and unapproved land use.182

Complaints and Protests

Chinese officials and state media claim that resettlement policies are welcomed by Tibetan herders, and generally deny incidents of unrest.  One typical article states,

For 50 years Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai province [has been] politically stable and economically developing … The society is progressing, ethnic groups are united and people’s living standards improve continuously. Delightful achievements have been made in various causes.183

But local surveys by Chinese researchers paint a markedly different picture. According to one such study, ecological migration policies are fostering ethnic unrest in Qinghai and other Tibetan areas.

For instance in 2005, the Qinghai provincial government decided to build fixed dwellings for resettled migrants from the Guoluo Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Maduo township. But because there had been no prior careful examination of the herders’ interests, this program provoked dissatisfaction among them. In addition, local residents of Tongde and Zeku township caused a series of incidents that blocked the implementation of the project. 184

In fact, despite official claims to the contrary, the Chinese authorities are well aware of the extent of dissatisfaction among Tibetans targeted by the resettlement projects. In 2005 the central authorities appeared sufficiently concerned to commission through the National Science Foundation a series of studies on “Social Stability in Qinghai Tibetan Autonomous Region.”185

One of the resulting studies, carried out by the Qinghai Minorities Institute, acknowledged that ecological migration policies suffered from serious problems in design and implementation, and that they were fueling ethnic strife. If these problems were not addressed “in a timely manner,” the authors of the studies warned, this could “severely influence the social and political stability of Qinghai and even of the entire Northwest regions.” The study recognized that “in the concrete implementation of the [ecological migration] process, contradictions and disputes arise between out-migrants, in-migrants, and the government.

Of course the rush of a skilled labor force … helped the region. But at the same time this led to increased frictions because of the many instances of offensive behavior toward the religious beliefs and the customs of Tibetans. If these frictions are ignored, they might have very negative influence on ethnic relations.186

The authors called the authorities to address the defects of the resettlement policies:

If we cannot find an effective method for solving these problems, then the disputes over grassland brought by the worsening of the environment may redouble, and could severely influence the social and political stability of Qinghai and even of entire the Northwest regions.187

These findings are not isolated. Another study conducted at the same time also concluded that, if not correctly addressed, “then the economic problems could evolve into a nationalities relations problems”—or, in other words, ethnic unrest.188

The legacy of repression and poor education in Tibetan areas means that few Tibetans have a sense that they have any rights to object at all, let alone the right to participate in these decisions. Some see their inability to advance grievances as a direct result of discrimination. “Whatever local Tibetans say it won’t have any effect. There are no Tibetan officials in higher positions of authority,” noted Z.R., a Tibetan from Chabcha (Gonghe) county, Qinghai province.189

Yet, there have been cases of defiance toward the resettlement and associated developments including mining and the construction of slaughterhouses. At its mildest, defiance has taken the form of refusing compensation for fear that doing so would be used to justify permanent withholding of land from use by the herders. As one interviewee told Human Rights Watch,

No money has been given so far [as compensation for the loss of pasture], but all the locals say that “the land still belongs to us, and if we take money and in future the Chinese claim that the land belongs to them and that they have paid money for it, it will be difficult for us to claim the land.” The local elders advised that even though we are not allowed to collect yartsa ganbu and have many problems of income, we should never take money from the Chinese.190

The same interviewee told Human Rights Watch about a 2003 mass wire-cutting protest by local people in Sershul, Sichuan, who were angry at being excluded from their former pastures and livelihood, resulting in a confrontation with the army and arrests of alleged ringleaders. In this case, local leaders subsequently announced a compromise, according to which they agreed to a reduction of the fenced area in 2005.191

However, in other instances there have been more violent responses. Human Rights Watch has been told about two local protests against mining operations in Tibetan areas, which have involved physical attacks on mine workers, and arrests.192

Recently constructed slaughterhouses in pastoral areas of northwestern Sichuan have been the focus of the most concerted protests. Local people in areas where these incidents took place claim that they have been ordered to donate animals for slaughter on a per household basis. In some cases, local protests have been led by religious figures, and have led to arrests and violence. Clearly slaughterhouses are offensive to Buddhist beliefs, and these have provided some sanction for the protest, but to Tibetan herders it appears that the slaughterhouses also represent the influx of Han Chinese entrepreneurs. Protests have happened primarily at privately owned slaughterhouses because their demands for livestock, unlike those of state-owned facilities, are not legally enforceable. 

Three young interviewees spoke to Human Rights Watch about a slaughterhouse near Sershul. They gave varying accounts about the numbers of people arrested for mounting a petition against it. One interviewee, L.U., said that there had been an attempt to bomb the facility.193 R.A. told Human Rights Watch of threats of unspecified punishment by local officials if herders refused to comply with the order to slaughter animals.

The highest-ranking county leader is a Chinese, secretary Ten, who was appointed last year. His views toward Tibetans are worse than the past leader who was a Tibetan. Secretary Ten gave an order that those who don’t deliver their livestock to the slaughterhouse would be punished.194

R.A., from Sershul (Shiqu) county, Kandze (Ganzi) prefecture in Sihuan, provided a remarkably complete account of the petition protest mounted against this particular slaughterhouse, and its consequences:

Construction of the slaughterhouse was announced in spring 2004 and it was completed by the beginning of winter. During that time locals of Bumnyak village and other villages in Bumnyak township appealed many times to the township and county governments, but the leaders said that it was the order of the prefectural government and they could not stop it ...

After the appeal was [rejected] about 30 locals went to the prefecture level to appeal, and when the prefecture did not accept their appeal, some monks of Bumnyak monastery and about 100 locals wrote an appeal letter. The main point was “There is no greater harm to the Buddhist religion than this. Even if we don’t protect living creatures, slaughtering them without mercy is against Buddhism. This is the heartfelt wish of the people, please give it consideration.” Three people went to deliver that letter, and as a result seven of our locals were arrested by the prefecture authorities. Two of them were monks and the rest were laymen …

At first they were detained in the county, and then they were taken to the prefectural court. Anyway they were detained for eight months. They were the ones who wrote the appeal letter and they were said to be the leaders of the protest against the government, so they were accused and arrested. At present they have been released but were fined 10,000 yuan per person … It seems like they were not beaten, and were warned that this was a very light punishment and in future they have to obey the orders of the government. If they protest they will be punished more severely. During their detention, locals requested their release, then after their release three of them were detained again in the county town for two months. They were said to be the main people encouraging protest against the government. They were released again one month before Tibetan new year [in early 2005]. They are still watched nowadays, they cannot travel anywhere without permission from the county and they were told that if they protest again they will be arrested and imprisoned. One is a monk and he is not allowed to return to the monastery....

The county leader announced, “The opening of a slaughterhouse is the order of the prefecture government and the public must respect it. It is a matter of importance for both Tibet and China, the government always does what is beneficial for the people and never does anything against the public interest, so if anyone protests against government policy, it is against the law.”195

Human Rights Watch was also given an account of the development of Denma township in Sershul into a county town and the construction of a slaughterhouse there, also with a household quota. This development was also protested by local religious leaders.196

The most dramatic incident to have been reported so far was a mass attack by locals on a slaughterhouse in Manigango in Derge county in August 2005. The slaughterhouse, located in a predominantly Tibetan part of Sichuan province, had been a point of contention with local herdsmen since its construction in 2004. Local officials had reportedly been paid bribes equivalent to US$11,000 to facilitate the construction of the privately-owned slaughterhouse. After its construction, local Tibetans reportedly came under pressure from these officials to sell their livestock to the new slaughterhouse. The herders also claimed that the theft of their livestock increased, driven by the opportunity of selling the stolen animals to the slaughterhouse. The slaughterhouse told them it was taking steps to avoid acquiring stolen livestock, but authorities of the Derge County Public Security Bureau allegedly failed to respond to the herders’ complaints.197

In late July or early August 2005, some 300 Tibetans reportedly burned down the privately-owned slaughterhouse.198 The legitimacy of their grievances does not justify such violence, and Human Rights Watch believes that the perpetrators should be prosecuted. However, the events over the following days and months entailed additional violations of—rather than greater respect for—due process.  

On the day after the slaughterhouse was burned, police and army units detained several dozen people, many of whom had been identified from a videotape taken by slaughterhouse staff during the attack. Most detainees were released later that day, but several were kept in detention. According to an eyewitness with whom Human Rights Watch spoke, those held in custody were beaten and tortured. Some who were badly injured were taken to a hospital in Kandze. Local citizens registered a complaint with the provincial government, which sent an investigation team to the hospital. When local Public Security Bureau officials learned of the team’s visit, those injured during the protests were reportedly moved out of the hospital.

At this writing, in June 2007, five men thought by local officials to be the “ringleaders” of the Manigango protest remain in custody. The charges against them have not been made public, and they have reportedly had no access to relatives, legal counsel, or medical professionals. Their last known location was reportedly in the Public Security detention facility in Derge county. The five include Sherab Yonten (60 to 70 years old), Sonam Gyelpo (50) and Dawa (30). The names of the other two men are not known. Soepa (40 to 50 years old) was released after going blind allegedly as a result of beatings and lack of access to medical care.199

132 Human Rights Watch interview with F.H., from Pema (Banma) county, Golok (Guolou) TAP, Qinghai province, January 16, 2006.

133 Human Rights Watch interview with F.W., from Sangchu (Xiahe) county, Kanlho TAP, Gansu province (Amdo), July 20, 2006.

134 Human Rights Watch interview with M.S., from Tsigorthang (Xinghai) county, Tsolho (Hainan) TAP, Qinghai province, May 12, 2005.

135 See in particular articles 2 and 9 of the 1989 Administrative Procedure Law.

136 Land Administration Law (1998/1999), (accessed June 14, 2005).

137 Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, amended March 14, 2004, by the 10th National People’s Congress at its Second Session, (accessed May 22, 2007), art. 13.

138 Property Rights Law, arts. 32 - 39

139 Property Rights Law, arts. 64 and 66.

140 Property Rights Law, art. 42.

141 “Defining Public Interest,” China Daily, September 2, 2006,

142 “The ecological resettlement work in the Three rivers area perfectly respect the right to chose of Tibetan herders,” Xinhuanet (, October 30, 2006 [“三江源生态移民工作充分尊重藏族牧民的选择权”. 新华网, 2006年10月30]/ Available at (accessed February 24, 2007).

143 “3,050 herder households from the Three river areas will resttle between this winter and next spring,” Xihai Metro News, December 2, 2004 [“三江源地区3050户牧民今冬明春实现定居”, 西海都市报, 2004年12月2日], (accessed February 17, 2007).

144 “The ecological resettlement work in the Three rivers area perfectly respect the right to chose of Tibetan herders,” Xinhuanet ( Some Tibetan herders said that officials had told them their relocation was only a temporary measure to allow for rejuvenation of the pasture. F.R. reported to Human Rights Watch, “They said they will protect, prevent, guard, and manage the land and water by growing grasses and trees on the pasturelands for 10 years, after which they said they will let the herders return to their pasturelands and buy livestock to restart herder lives.” Human Rights Watch interview with F.R., from Machen (Maqin) county, Golok TAP (Guolou) prefecture, Qinghai, November 24, 2004.

145 Human Rights Watch interview with L.P., from Tengchen county, Chamdo prefecture, TAR, August 20, 2006.

146 Human Rights Watch interview with R.E., Drakgo county, Kandze TAP, Sichuan province, January 2006.

147 Human Rights Watch interview with F.H., from Pema (Banma) county, Golok (Guolou) TAP, Qinghai province, January 16, 2006.

148 Human Rights Watch interviews with B.U., from Machu county, Kanlho TAP, Gansu province, October 6, 2004.

149 Meng Linlin, Bao Zhiming, “Survey of Ecological Migration Studies,” Journal of the Central University for Nationalities , p. 49.

150 Ibid. 

151 Ibid.

152 Ibid.

153 Yang Weijun, “Study of the development polices of the ecological migration of ethnic areas of Western China,” Journal of the Second Northwest University for Nationalities, Issue 4, 2004, p. 7 [杨维军, “西部民族地区生态移民发展对策研究”, 西北第二民族学院学, 报2005年第4期, 第7页].

154 Ibid.

155 Ibid.

156 Meng Linlin, Bao Zhiming, “Survey of Ecological Migration Studies,” Journal of the Central University for Nationalities ,p. 50; and Yang Weijun, “Study of the development polices of the ecological migration of ethnic areas of Western China,” Journal of the Second Northwest University for Nationalities, p. 7.  

157 Human Rights Watch interview with S.O., from Jomda county, Chamdo prefecture, TAR, May 5, 2006.

158“China’s Progress in Human Rights in 2004,” Section 4: Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,”, (accessed February 12, 2007).

159 “3,050 herder households from the Three river areas will resettle between this winter and next spring,” Xihai Metro News.

160 Human Rights Watch interview with N.M., from Nangchen (Nangqian) county, Yushu TAP, Qinghai province (Amdo), January 25, 2005.

161 Human Rights Watch interview with F.R., from Machen (Maqin) county, Golok (Guolou) TAP, Qinghai, November 24, 2004.

162 Human Rights Watch interview with A.M., from Machen (Maqin) county, Golog TAP, Qinghai province, September 16, 2005.

163 Human Rights Watch interview with B.R., from Tarri (Darlak) county, Golog TAP, Qinghai province (Amdo), January 21, 2005.

164 Human Rights Watch interview with F.R., from Machen (Maqin) county, Golok (Guolou) TAP, Qinghai province, November 24, 2004; Y.S., from Ngaba county, Ngaba TAP prefecture, Sichuan province, June 6, 2005.

165 Human Rights Watch interviews with B.U., from Machu (Maqin) county, Kanlho TAP, Gansu province, October 6, 2004.

166 Human Rights Watch interview with R.J., from Machu (Maqin) county, Kanlho TAP, Gansu province, April 18, 2005; O.R., from Kyidrong (Jilong) county, Shigatse prefecture, TAR, September 8, 2005.

167 Human Rights Watch interview with F.H., from Pema (Banma) county, Golok (Guolou) TAP, Qinghai province, January 16, 2006.

168 Human Rights Watch interviews with B.U., from Machu (Maqin) county, Kanlho TAP, Gansu province, October 6, 2004.

169 Human Rights Watch interview with B.R., from Tarri (Darlak) county, Golog TAP, Qinghai province (Amdo), January 21, 2005.

170 Human Rights Watch interview with N.M., from Nangchen (Nangqian) county, Yushu TAP, Qinghai province (Amdo), January 25, 2005.

171 Human Rights Watch interviews with D.Z., from Machen (Maqin) county, Golog TAP, Qinghai province, August 26, 2005; A.M., from Machen (Maqin) county, Golog TAP, Qinghai province, September 16, 2005.

172 Human Rights Watch interviews with E.M., from Pema county, Golog TAP, Qinghai province, February 27, 2006; B.R., from Tarri (Darlak) county, Golog TAP, Qinghai province (Amdo), January 21, 2005.; F.H., from Pema (Banma) county, Golok (Guolou) TAP, Qinghai province, January 16, 2006.

173 HRW interviewees either made no mention of annual payments to supplement income as announced in the official media (usually several thousand yuan per year for up to 10 years), or said that promised payments had not been made. The details of compensation payments are understandably complex and variable. In a series of interviews broadcast on Qinghai Radio’s Tibetan service in September 2006, for example, it was clarified that the considerable number of households formed by the younger generation in the years since pasture was allocated under the Responsibility system, who have no entitlement to land use, are being given only half the compensation due to the parent households. Local officials frankly admitted that initial promises had not been met: Chaktar Tsering, leader of Gongmatoema township in Gabde county, told the radio interviewer, “When we first announced this (relocation) policy, we announced that many different kinds of assistance would be available to ordinary people. But in the course of implementation, we were not able to put many of these into practice, so these days many people have lost confidence [in the word of the authorities], and moreover, there is great anxiety over production and livelihood.” Qinghai Radio report by Tashi Bhum and Pema Rikdzin, July 9, 2006.

174 Human Rights Watch interview with D.W., from Pema county, Golog TAP, Qinghai province (Amdo), March 16, 2006.

175 Tendar, the party secretary of Sangrima township in Darlak county, told Qinghai Radio that relocated herders who opened shops or vehicle repair workshops were exempt from tax and that some had been sent for training in vehicle repair and other skills. Still, he continued, the 6000 yuan annual income supplement paid by the state was insufficient, and loans should be made available to relocatees to start businesses, since collecting yartsa ganbu was still their only actual source of income. Qinghai Radio report by Tashi Bhum and Pema Rikdzin, September 18, 2006.

176 Human Rights Watch interview with T.L., from Chentsa (Jianza) County, Malho (Huangnan) prefecture, Qinghai province (Amdo), December 22, 2004.

177 Human Rights Watch interview with F.W., from Sangchu (Xiahe) county, Kanlho TAP, Gansu province (Amdo), July 26, 2006; N.G., from Sangchu (Xiahe) county, Kanlho TAP, Gansu province (Amdo), December 14, 2006.

178 Human Rights Watch interview with P.O., from Rebkong (Tongren) county, Tsolho TAP, Qinghai province, October 25, 2006.

179 Meng Linlin, Bao Zhiming, “Survey of Ecological Migration Studies,” Journal of the Central University for Nationalities , p. 49.

180 Qinghai provincial land resources bureau, “Qinghai Regularizes Land Use,” January 22, 2004. [青海省国土资源厅, “青海规范园区用地行为”, 2004年 1月22日].Available at (accessed February 17, 2007).

181Human Rights Watch interview with S.Z., from Chentsa (Jianza) county, Malho (Huangnan) prefecture, Qinghai province, December 14, 2005.

182 Zhang Yuanqing, “Strengthening land management and promoting economic development: Some thoughts on the rectification of the organization of the land market,” Qinghai Land Administration, March 2004, p. 24-26 [张元青, “加强土地管理促进经济发展--治理整顿土地市场秩序的一些思考”青海国土经略, 2004年3月, 24-26页].

183 “Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture celebrates its 50th anniversary,” People’s Daily Online (, August 2, 2004, (accessed February 12, 2007).

184 Li Jiacaidan, Yang Hude, “Analysis of current ethnic relations in Qinghai’s Tibetan Autonomous Areas,” Nationalities Research in Qinghai, vol. 17, no. 3, July 2006, p. 49 [李加才旦, 杨虎德, “当前青海藏族自治地区民族关系探析”, 青海民族研究, 第17 卷第3 期2006年7 月, 第49页].

185 “Projects from the National Science Foundation in 2005: Study on Social Stability in Qinghai Tibetan Autonomous Region,” approval number 05XSH016 [2005年国家社科基金项目《青海藏族自治地区社会稳定研究》,课题批准号:05XSH016].

186 Li Jiacaidan, Yang Hude, “Analysis of current ethnic relations in Qinghai’s Tibetan Autonomous Areas,” Nationalities Research in Qinghai, Vol. 17, No. 3, July 2006, p. 49. [李加才旦, 杨虎德, “当前青海藏族自治地区民族关系探析”, 青海民族研究, 第17 卷第3 期2006年7 月, 第49页]

187 Li Jiacaidan, Yang Hude, “Analysis of current ethnic relations in Qinghai’s Tibetan Autonomous Areas,” Nationalities Research in Qinghai, Vol. 17, No. 3, July 2006, p. 49. [李加才旦, 杨虎德, “当前青海藏族自治地区民族关系探析”, 青海民族研究, 第17 卷第3 期2006年7 月, 第49页]

188 Meng Linlin, Bao Zhiming, “Survey of Ecological Migration Studies,” Journal of the Central University for Nationalities , p. 49.

189 Human Rights Watch interviews with Z.R., from Chabcha (Gonghe) county, Tsolho (Hainan) TAP, Qinghai province, January 14, 2005.

190 Human Rights Watch interview with B.E., from Sershul (Shiqu) county, Kardze (Ganzi) TAP, Sichuan province, September 30, 2005.

191 Human Rights Watch interview with B.E., from Sershul (Shiqu) county, Kardze (Ganzi) TAP, Sichuan province, September 30, 2005.

192 Human Rights Watch interview with J.E., from Sok (Suo) county, Nakchu prefecture, TAR, December 1, 2004; R.S., from Tolung Dechen county, Lhasa municipality, TAR, March 4, 2005; M.W., from Machu county, Kanlho TAP, Gansu province April 22, 2005; H.D., from Dulan county, Tsonub TAP, Qinghai province, July 8, 2005; K.R., from Sog Dzong county, Dechen TAP, TAR September 23, 2005; J.K., from Jomda county, Chamdo prefecture, TAR, October 3, 2005; C.W., from Damshung county, Lhasa municipality, TAR, February 3, 2006.

193 Human Rights Watch interview with R.C., from Sershul (Shiqu) county, Kandze (Ganzi) prefecture, Sichuan province, May 25, 2005; R.A., from Sershul (Shiqu) county, Kandze (Ganzi) prefecture, Sichuan province, August 6, 2005; L.U., from Sershul (Shiqu) County, Kandze (Ganzi) prefecture in August 2, 2005.

194 Human Rights Watch interview with R.A., from Sershul (Shiqu) county, Kandze (Ganzi) prefecture, Sichuan province, August 6, 2005.

195 Human Rights Watch interview with R.A., from Sershul (Shiqu) county, Kandze (Ganzi) prefecture, Sichuan province, August 6, 2005.

196 Human Rights Watch interview with K.O., Sershul (Shiqu) county, Kardze (Ganzi) prefecture, Sichuan province, July 22, 2005.

197 Human Rights Watch interviews with J.K., from Jomda county, Chamdo prefecture, TAR, October 3, 2005; M.U., from Derga county Kandze prefecture TAP, Sichuan province, January 23, 2006.

198 “Tibetan Nomads Set Fire to a Chinese Slaughterhouse in Sichuan,” Radio Free Asia, September 8, 2005.

199 See, for example, “China: Fears for Tibetan Slaughterhouse Detainees,” Human Rights Watch news release, March 30, 2006,