Airport Expansion in Lhoka

About four years ago, an airport was built in Kyishong sub-district in Lhoka County. Kyishong is one of the best known places in Tibet for excellent harvests and many Tibetans in this area had to give up their land for construction and thereby lost their means of livelihood. In mid-February 1997, just after Tibetan New Year, expansion of this airport began and many more Tibetans had to give up their land.

The people were told that this expansion was necessary for the people who would be returning from Hong Kong. Fifteen trucks arrived, each carrying 70 workers. All of the workers were Chinese brought from China and houses were built alongside the construction as temporary sheltering for them. Those Tibetans to whom the land had belonged were given a certificate granting them permission to work as a road constructor and some were given about 1000 yuan as compensation.

Thupten says, “I have strong feelings that the Chinese will stay back even after the construction is completed. A few years ago more than 300 Chinese came to work on a similar project in Gongkar county. They built a carpentry factory and all of the logs were carried out from Kongpo region (Ch:Nyintri) in Tibet Autonomous Region. After one year the factory was closed down but all of the Chinese are still living in Gongkar and have built homes and own shops. Some of them work in government offices. Now, with the transfer of more than 1000 workers for the construction of the airport in Gongkar, the Tibetans are totally outnumbered by the Chinese.”

Military Construction:

Thupten also reported on the construction of a military cantonment currently underway close to his monastery. “At many places in Lhoka, there are military cantonments being built. Within this year alone, about 15 military base camps were built in the fields and more are built close to the Tsangpo.

Birth Control Policy:

In a village in Lhoka called Koja with about 100 families, about 40 women have been sterilised and many more have been given contraceptives. In some cases, these contraceptives have rendered women infertile. Young girls not yet married are also given these contraceptive pills.

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