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D2) How many ethnic Chinese live in Tibet (population transfer)?




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This article is from the Tibet FAQ, by Peter Kauffner Peter.Kauffner@bearsden.org and Nima Dorje tibet@acs.ucalgary.ca.

D2) How many ethnic Chinese live in Tibet (population transfer)?


The view of the Tibetan government-in-exile is provided by its Department
of Information and International Relations:

Despite the lack of exact figures, and despite Chinese denials, the
evidence points to a deliberate and long-standing population transfer
policy. The policy is carried out largely with the help of Government
incentive programs for Chinese from various Chinese provinces to
relocate in Tibet. Higher wages, special housing, business and pension
benefits are but some of the incentives provided. China's fourth
population census in 1990 put the Chinese population (including a
small number of Mongols) in the Tibetan provinces of Kham and Amdo at
4,927,369. However, it is said that there is at least one unregistered
Chinese against every two registered ones. The actual Chinese
population, both registered and unregistered, in these areas should be
about 7.5 million. In the recent years, China is reported to have
stepped up the transfer of its population to the "TAR" also. [Info93]

Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) states that, "The
Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian
population into the territory it occupies."

In the previous quote, the word "Tibet" is used to refer to the entire
Tibetan Plateau. In contrast, the quote below, from a 1994 _Washington Post_
news article, uses the word to refer to TAR only, a much smaller area.

Accurate figures for the ethnic breakdown of Tibet's population are
difficult to obtain and are disputed by Chinese officials and the
Tibetan exile community. Many Western analysts say the exile
community's figures are highly exaggerated.

Of Tibet's population of about 2.2 million, there are an estimated
66,000 ethnic Chinese with permanent residence status, according to
Chinese officials. Not included are another 40,000 Chinese
entrepreneurs who are part of an unofficial "floating population" and
between 40,000 and 65,000 soldiers and paramilitary police, putting
the total Chinese population in Tibet at no more than 8 percent...

In Lhasa, about 50 percent of the population of 150,000 is now
Chinese, longtime residents and Western analysts say. [Sun94]

A 1995 report by the Free Tibet Campaign estimated TAR's "total non-
Tibetan population to be between 250,000 and 300,000, not including small
groups of peoples indigenous to the region." The report also concluded that,

For all the Chinese defined Tibetan autonomous areas (including the
TAR) we estimate the total non-Tibetan population to be between 2.5
to 3 million; figures based on Chinese statistics from 1990 claimed
the non-Tibetan total population to be 1.5 million; figures based on
Chinese statistics from 1990 claimed the total Tibetan population for
all the Tibetan autonomous areas to be 4.34 million. [Free95]

 

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