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Sanjiangyuan Protection Relocates 28,000
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After three years’ endeavors, 28,000 herdsmen from 6,156 households have relocated from mountains and valleys in the Sanjiangyuan region in Qinghai Province and are leading a better life in urban areas.


Local governments have set up 14 communities in the region’s urban areas to settle these ecological immigrants. Construction of infrastructural facilities concerning water and electricity supply, medical care and education has been completed.


In the Sanjiangyuan region, located in southern Qinghai Province, local people depend mainly on husbandry. Sanjiangyuan, meaning “sources of three rivers” in the Chinese language, is a place where China’s two longest rivers, the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, and a transnational river, the Lancang River sprout. There are five ethnic group autonomous prefectures and sixteen counties in the region and it boasts the country’s most important water source conservation and ecological functional zones.


Affected by global warming and human activities over the past 30 years, the Sanjiangyuan region has been increasingly suffering from ecological deterioration. Since such eco-deterioration would adversely influence the nation’s production power and its people’s lives, governments at various levels attach great importance to controlling the deteriorating trend.


The ecological rehabilitation project began in 2003 with relocating local herdsmen a focal part of the process. Relevant research undertaken by various government departments revealed that it is completely feasible to relocate 80,000 to 90,000 people from remote pastoral area to towns and villages in a decade.


Gazang Cairang, deputy leader of Golog Tibet Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province, said the Sanjiangyuan region is one of the country’s most impoverished regions with a vast territory and underdeveloped infrastructural facilities, coupled with reasons such as retreating pastureland and a rising population. “Relocation can relieve poverty in the region,” Gazang Cairang said.


Li Jincheng, vice governor of Qinghai Province, said how to deal with the follow-up production problem after relocation deserves government departments’ much attention.


Thanks to governmental direction and aid, the relocated people have started varying businesses of their own, with most of the families supplementing their income through manual labor.


Government statistics showed that besides state subsidies, ecological immigrants in five communities including those in Darlag and Chendu counties of Qinghai earned 1,500-2,450 yuan (US$181-296) in additional incomes in 2005 through culling and digging up herbs, taking part in services, doing business and transport, etc.


In addition, government departments have selected and recommended 281 children of Sanjuangyuan eco-immigrants to receive education in other parts of the country since 2004. In the provincial capital city of Xining, a vocational school only open to children of immigrants is under construction.


( by Zhang Tingting, November 3, 2006)

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