Tibetans rebuked for protesting poisoning by Chinese mines



River polluted by mining in Tibet’s Maldro Gongkar county, in an undated photo. (Photo courtesy RFA)
River polluted by mining in Tibet’s Maldro Gongkar county, in an undated photo. (Photo courtesy RFA)

(TibetanReview.net, Oct01, 2014) – Tibetans in the mineral-rich village of Zibuk in Tashi Gang township of Maldo Gongkar (Chinese: Mozhugongka) County, Lhasa City, have tried both appeals and protests over the past five years against the poisoning of their rivers by Chinese mines operating in the area only to be rebuked by the county authorities, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Sep 29. The latest protest took place the week before and involved more than 1,000 villagers.

The dumping of toxic waste into the local rivers has destroyed fish, affected crops and led to health problems, the report said, citing a local source who has spoken on condition of anonymity.

The appeals and protests have only angered the county officials who have refused to listen to the villagers, the report added.

Although the Tibet Autonomous Region authorities claim to give utmost consideration to maintaining high environmental standards, in practice mining projects in the region have led to numerous large-scale protests by local Tibetans over pollution and other major issues. These have often led to arrests and long jail sentences for the protesters.

In the present case, while the county environmental officials had visited the affected areas, they have refused to act, claiming the damage and harms had been caused by nature, not the mines that were poisoning the rivers.

The mountainous areas between Zibuk and the Gyama in Maldo Gongkar County have been extensively mined during the past several years, turning the once verdant green lands into grey, dusty wasteland.

In Mar 2013, an environmentally destructive mining project at Gyama in Maldo Gongkar caused a catastrophic landslide which killed 83 miners. News about the deaths exposed the Chinese government’s lie that mining projects in Tibet benefit the local Tibetans economically as only two of the miners turned out to be Tibetan, neither of them being local.


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