China’s nomads possess a feet in 2 completely different worlds

Zhaxi Cairang (right), a 59-year-old Tibetan nomad, gone to live in a town in western China fifteen years ago included in a government effort to stay nomads. But Zhaxi states he plans to go back to herding yaks the coming year. His boy Cicheng Randing was elevated within the city, but his father really wants to expose him to traditional nomadic existence too.

Zhaxi Cairang is attempting to provide his boy a range of two worlds to reside in: the standard, pastoral realm of Tibetan nomads, that they has lived on for many of his 59 years, or even the modern urban lifestyle that many Tibetans experience of today’s China.

The Zhaqu River flows past recently built structures in Yushu prefecture. The Zhaqu feeds in to the Lancang River, which flows in to the Mekong.

Zhaxi made the transition themself about fifteen years ago, as he left the grasslands and moved in to the town of Yushu in western China’s Qinghai province. Yushu sits around the eastern finish from the Tibetan plateau. Greater than 95 % of their residents are ethnic Tibetans.

I last visited Yushu this year, whenever a devastating earthquake wiped out around 3,000 people. Since that time, the area makes an uplifting comeback. It’s full of government investment, new construction and new residents.

Zhaxi’s apartment is neat and modern, with wood flooring, a sizable television along with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s on the bookshelf.

The Cost Of City Living

But Zhaxi states he intends to leave the apartment the coming year and return to herding yaks. He states city existence is alright, but he just does not possess the skills he must afford it.

"The housing and subsidies the federal government provides for us are wonderful,Inch he concedes. "We have got bathrooms, heat and flowing water. However they all be expensive. Around the grasslands, we burn yak dung for fuel, so we drink milk, all free of charge. It is not as comfortable, there is however less economic pressure upon us.Inch

Zhaxi required out financing to cover his current apartment. He intends to produce then sell their own yak meat, yak butter and yak yogurt before the loan is compensated off.

Talking about yak, additionally there is a food position to Zhaxi’s thinking. Unlike urbanites, Tibetan nomads don’t grow or eat many vegetables. They mostly eat barley, yak and yak products.

Zhaxi serves us a dollop of unprocessed yogurt like that he makes, and that i can taste precisely what he’s speaking about. The thick, creamy and sour stuff makes supermarket yogurt like that I am accustomed to appear insufferably runny, bland and insubstantial.

Maintaining Traditions

Zhaxi further explains he moved into the city to ensure that his children might get instruction. Now, he states he’s leaving, in this way, to carry on the amount.

"I wish to show the kids who’ve finished college how our ancestors have resided for generations," he states. "I would like these to observe that education might help them allow it to be, but if they’re not able to place the understanding they have acquired to make use of, they are able to always go back to the grasslands."

Zhaxi’s boy, Cicheng Randing, who’s sitting nearby inside a T-shirt and baseball cap, increased in vastly different conditions from previous generations.

Unlike his father, he visited college, where he majored in Chinese — the word what that any Tibetan who would like to obtain a good job in China nowadays must learn.

But, he states, it gets better there’s to understand: "Since I have studied other ethnic groups’ understanding and language, I must remember my very own people’s culture. I believe my dad’s idea is excellent.Inch

By the finish of this past year, Qinghai officials say, they have settled approximately 1 / 2 of the roughly 500,000 Tibetan nomads within the province.

Human legal rights groups repeat the policy is coercive and undermines Tibetans’ culture and identity.

For a lot of Tibetans, though, the problem is less modernization itself as control of it, and the authority to determine which parts they need and do not want.

Consequently, Zhaxi and the family and lots of other Tibetans are hedging. There is a feet in 2 worlds, one out of the towns and the other around the grasslands.

Zhaxi states he’s just attempting to help his children enjoy the advantages of modernization, without failing to remember their Tibetan cultural roots.

Copyright NPR 2017.


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