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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

"Mining Tycoon Says: Tibetans Hope to Get Rich from Mining" By Woeser

October 3, 2010

High Peaks Pure Earth
September 29, 2010
High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost
by Woeser that was originally written for
broadcast on Radio Free Asia on September 9, 2010
in Beijing and posted on her blog on September 28, 2010.

This is another blogpost by Woeser that deals
with mining in Tibet. For previous articles by Woeser on this topic see:

* Tibet's Water Pollution and China's "Global Warming" (December 2009)

* Songtsen Gampo’s Hometown Is About To Be Completely Excavated (June 2010)
* Where will the next Drugchu be? (August 2010)

* "Avatar" in Tibet (September 2010)

In the blogpost, Woeser quotes an article by
Tibetan writer Jamyang Norbu, to read his article
"High Sanctuary" in full, click on this link.

Finally, a small note about the term 'Hongding
Businessman' that Woeser uses at the end of the
blogpost, 'hong' literally means red and 'ding'
means the tip, it is a reference to a hat with a
red tip, referring to a traditional Chinese government official.

The photos below were taken from the mining tycoon Bian Hongdeng's microblog:

"Mining Tycoon Says: Tibetans Hope to Get Rich from Mining"
By Woeser
Beijing, September 9, 2010

Shortly after the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet
Railway, a Chinese mining tycoon named Bian
Hongdeng flew to the Tibet Autonomous Region to
enclose land and buy up 21 mining sites and, with
the permission from government authorities on
different levels, he opened mining companies,
some even reaching Lhasa. He recently
emphatically announced on his blog: “Tibetans
hope to get rich from mining.” At the beginning
of his post, he states in an omniscient manner
that “historically, Tibetans always drew their
wealth from gold and silver mining and from
helping the British source lead to make bullets.”
Let us simply neglect the middle part in which he
calls those Tibetans who protest against mining
"unruly citizens" or "whiners" who are not worth
mentioning. In the conclusion he says: "Now, many
Tibetans wishing to get rich, hope that the
government would quickly introduce prospecting
and mining policies, enabling them and their
families to acquire wealth within their own
region. If not, they would send the ‘Laba’ Lama
to occupy the mountain slopes and chant
scriptures and turn the current mountain used for
mining into a sacred mountain, prohibiting any
further mining activities.” “Laba” is not a typo;
he deliberately satirized the word “Lama” and
wrote it as “Laba” (meaning trumpet or loudspeaker).

I would very much like to tell this egomaniacal
"mining tycoon" that Tibetan people’s attitude
towards mining and wealth is not at all as he
surmised. Let us turn to a Tibetan writer,
Jamyang Norbu, who reviewed how various
environmental and wildlife protection measures
were put into practice through laws, moral
values, annual celebrations or sarcastic
behaviour by the old Tibetan government,
religious and social institutions and citizens.
He wrote in an article: "We Tibetans are
rightfully proud of the fact that we were
traditionally kind to animals and did not
thoughtlessly exploit our wildlife and
environment as the Chinese are now doing in their
frighteningly mindless and rapacious way." Like
the tradition of "sealing the hills and the
valleys," "protection was not only extended to
wildlife but often to the environment: the
forests, grasslands, lakes and streams."

‘Shameless’ is the right word to describe the
tycoon’s remarks. It is actually him and people
like him who plot and scheme to seize the
abundant resources found in Tibet while
sanctimoniously saying: “it is you Tibetans who
want to do the mining but you lack the ability
because you ‘only know how to dig up caterpillar
fungus on the mountains’. So we are here to help
you so that you will never have to experience
‘days of bitterness’ again”. He also asserted in
a different article that the reason why Western
countries support the Dalai Lama’s fight for
independence is “only because of the abundant
resources found in Tibet”. All of the above is
nothing but an excuse which colonialists would
use to excessively plunder resources of the indigenous.

Actually, this kind of plotting and scheming
already started fifty years ago. The Tibetan
scholar Jampa Gyatso, from within the Chinese
system, revealed in his newly published book that
when the young Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama spent
Tibetan New Year in Beijing, Mao Zedong said
bluntly: “one should not just say that Han people
help minority people. It’s also the other way
round… There are certain mineral resources that
cannot be found in our Han areas but only exist
in minority areas.” Another example would be the
second hand book I purchased online, a survey
data on geology and mineral resources in east
Tibet, which was compiled by the Chinese Academy
of Sciences from 1951 to 1953 and published in
1959. When I read the sentence "finding useful
mineral resources shall be the top priority of
our work" I started to better understand the true
intentions behind the "liberation of Tibet."

In the past, it was this country, this government
that entered Tibet uninvited under the false
pretences of wanting to “liberate” and “help” us;
now, different kinds of capitalists from this
country continue to enter Tibet uninvited in the
name of "aid" and "development." On the one hand,
they are ruthlessly plundering as if there is no
tomorrow; on the other hand, they cunningly claim
that insufficient mining activity is the reason
why Tibetans are in “poverty and plunged in
debt”. This “mining tycoon” skillfully makes
money by supporting “anti-separatism” in the same
way as those government officials who control
Tibet do. They label Tibetans who protest against
mining activities as "dissatisfied poor locals
who come to the gates of the government to cause trouble."

On a blog, I came across this sentence: "a
'Hongding Businessman.' Later, this term came to
be used to refer to 'red' capitalists. Just like
the red flag, the red tip of a Hongding
Businessman’s hat, is dyed red with fresh blood." This is indeed the case.
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