Unesco heritage listing sparks Tibetan resettlement fears
China / July 12, 2017

Tibetan rights groups have criticised the UN’s cultural body for listing a plateau in China as a Unesco World Heritage site. They say the move may embolden Beijing to resettle Tibetan nomads who currently live as herders on the Hoh Xil plateau. Unesco noted that the plateau, located in the western Qinghai province, is the largest and highest in the world. Its unique biodiversity includes the endangered Tibetan antelope. Qinghai province, which borders the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), has a sizeable Tibetan population. When Beijing sent in troops to assert China’s claim to the region in 1950, some areas became the TAR while others were incorporated into neighbouring provinces. What’s the controversy about? Hoh Xil, which is also known as Kekexili, is a part of the larger Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. China says it is a key habitat and breeding ground for Tibetan antelope and holds important migration routes. The area – comprising 4.12 million hectares (15,907 square miles) – is also home to wolves, bears and contains “a vast landscape of extraordinary beauty for the planet”. China’s submission for the listing estimates that 50,000 people roam the area and its buffer zone. Tibetan activist groups say that the Unesco move, announced…