McClatchy Newspapers is reporting that the Chinese government has relocated 250,000 Tibetans from remote, rural areas to “socialist villages,” which they must build and pay for themselves:
The government calls the more than year-old project the “comfortable housing program.” Its stated aim is to present a more modern face for this ancient region controlled by China since 1950. The new housing is on main roads – sometimes a mile from previous homes – and will enable small farmers and herders to have access to schools and jobs, as well as health care and hygiene, the government says.
But the broader aim seems to be remaking Tibet – a region with its own culture, language and religious traditions – in order to have firmer political control over its population. It comes as China prepares for an influx of millions of tourists in the run-up to next year’s Summer Olympic Games. [Full text]