Join our Mailing List

"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

China digs for gold on land grabbed from Tibetan pastoralists

December 16, 2013

December 15, 2013 - In the name of nature conservation policy, China has forcibly displaced between 1.5 and two million Tibetans from their pastoral lands where Chinese mines extracting gold and copper ore have mushroomed, said a report Dec 13, citing exile Tibetan officials. 

 "Tibetans who have come from [the region] as refugees have told us that they have seen for themselves how their pasture land is illegally grabbed and then mined for mineral resources," the report quoted Tenzin Norbu, who heads the environmental desk at the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India, as saying.

 "They told us that Chinese authorities warned [via loudspeaker from a vehicle] that anyone who protested against mining would be seen as protesting against the state because China needs natural resources to develop,” he was further quoted as saying.

 The report cited Gabriel Lafitte, an Australian who has researched and written about Tibet for nearly 40 years, as saying, "In area after area where China has officially proclaimed the depopulated zones to be national parks, protected areas, nature reserves, in reality, mines are popping up.” It also cited Lafitte as saying that the Tibetan nomads had demonstrated 9,000 years of successful land use, whereas Beijing took them as backward, illiterate people who had no care for the land.

 The report said some Chinese academics have also expressed reservation on the removal of pastoralists from their native lands. It quoted Wenjun Li of Peking University's department of environmental management as having written in a paper she co-authored, "There is a need for the re-recognition of the uniqueness of traditional pastoralism and its institutional arrangements."

 The report quoted her as having written in the briefing paper, which was published by the International Institute for Environment and Development in Apr 2013, "The culture of traditional pastoralism has resulted from a long-term interaction with local dynamic ecosystems and social organisations.

"This pastoral culture and traditional knowledge play a crucial role in how herders develop their institutions, their livestock production practices and their use of grassland resources.

"Rangeland policies that 'reform' pastoral society have simultaneously weakened pastoral culture and customs, and changed traditional pastoral living styles."

 The report also noted that about 20 of the more than 100 Tibetan who stage self-immolation protests in Tibet since Feb 2009 were from the nomadic community while of the nearly 40 new Tibetan refugees from Tibet who had made it to India in 2012, most were nomads.

 While the Chinese government has strongly denied that any forced evictions had taken place in the relocation and re-housing operations, a report on the relocation of Tibetan pastoralists published Jun 2013 by New York-based Human Rights Watch said: "Tibetans coming from both farming and nomadic herding communities who were interviewed said that large numbers of people relocated or re-housed did not do so voluntarily and that they were never consulted or offered alternatives.”


CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank