China relocates residents in world's highest county for better life

LHASA -- Tsonyi, the world's highest county in Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, started the relocation of its second batch of residents on Tuesday, as part of the region's plan to improve people's living conditions and protect the fragile local ecosystem. 

 More than 300 residents left their hometown in the county's Doima township at around 7:40 am Tuesday, moving nearly 1,000 km southward to their new home Singpori. 

 Singpori is on the north bank of the Yarlung Zangbo River in the city of Shannan, located at an altitude of 3,600 meters. It is only some 10 km from the airport in the regional capital Lhasa. 

 Four townships of the county will complete relocation by early August, and by then, all seven townships of Tsonyi, including the three that moved in 2019, will have completed relocation. 

 "After moving to my new home, I will be able to visit the monasteries in Lhasa and Shannan more frequently to worship Buddha," said Garma, a 70-year-old herder from Doima township. 

 With an average altitude of over 5,000 meters, Tsonyi county covers a total area of 120,000 square km and is part of the Changtang National Nature Reserve, China's biggest and highest nature reserve. 

Due to the high altitude and harsh environment, the county is not suitable for human habitation. 

 Tibet relocated the first batch of 2,900 residents in Tsonyi to Singpori in 2019.