Anonymous sources report that Chinese authorities in Yushul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, have begun seizing Grassland Use Certificates from nomadic Tibetans, proclaiming that the Chinese government is the sole owner of the Tibetan grasslands. Introduced in 1983, these certificates conveyed the right of their owners to use the grassland for livestock grazing and nomadic settlement. However, sources report that owners of these certificates are being forced to hand these documents back to the government, signing official contracts stating that they agree to do so without any option to protest.
An anonymous local source who spoke to Tibet Watch told the organisation: “Previously, the Chinese authorities have given Grassland Use Certificates to Tibetan nomads, declaring grazing rights for 50 years while guaranteeing non-intervention from the government. Beginning this year, they have withdrawn these grazing rights and have started collecting previously given grazing rights certificates from nomads.”
Authorities attempted to justify these actions by stating that they were to ensure more efficient management of the nomadic community. However, an anonymous source in the region expressed scepticism at the government’s professed altruism, explaining that these certificate seizures were a part of a larger campaign to concentrate the nomadic community in one location, to ensure greater control and surveillance of nomadic peoples.
Information supplied by Tibet Watch