Tibetan truckers protest after work in their area given only to Chinese

(TibetanReview.net, Jun20, 2011)  China sent in large numbers of riot troops and police to suppress Tibetan truckers in Shigatse in central Tibet and Lithang in Karze Prefecture of Sichuan Province who staged protests after Chinese authorities denied them work in favour of mainland-based Chinese companies, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington) online Jun 17. The trucklers were reported to be seeking work on road and railway projects in Tibet.

The report said about 100 Tibetan truckers protested in front of Lithang county headquarters on Jun 1. They were reported to have demanded that work on sites within the county for the improvement of a section of the highway connecting Sichuan’s capital Chengdu and Tibet’s capital Lhasa should have been given to them instead of 24 companies in mainland China who then brought in their own workers.

Many local Tibetans had purchased trucks after they had heard of the project in the hope of getting work. But both their hopes and protests remained fruitless.

In Rinpung County near Shigatse Prefecture, Tibetan truckers were reported to have clashed with Chinese drivers working for Chinese owners in April. “The Chinese owners alerted officials and police, who came from Shigatse in 15 to 20 vehicles and detained 10 Tibetan truck owners,” a local Tibetan source named Dondrub was quoted as saying.

The Tibetans were reported to have been severely beaten before being taken away.

The report cited him as saying local Tibetans had taken loans to buy 60 trucks after Chinese authorities had told them earlier on that the construction of the railway line linking Shigatse with Lhasa would soon pass through their area and that if they purchased trucks they would be provided with work. However, after some work initially, everything was given only to Chinese owned trucks, leaving no work for the Tibetan truck owners.

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