MAC: Mines and Communities

Tibetan shot dead in anti-mining protest in Markham

Published by MAC on 2012-08-28
Source: Phayul.com (2012-08-16)

For earlier related story, see: Tibetan Mine Protesters Detained

Tibetan shot dead in anti-mining protest in Markham

Phayul.com

16 August 2012

DHARAMSALA. Chinese security personnel have shot dead a Tibetan man for taking part in an anti-mining protest in the Markham region of southeast Tibet. The reports come after a tense couple of weeks in Tibet which witnessed five self-immolations and the death of a Tibetan protester.

According to reports, around a thousand Tibetans on Wednesday marched to the mining site in Markham, protesting the large-scale operations, which they said was environmentally hazardous.

Chinese security personnel responded by firing tear gas and live rounds on the protesters, leading to the death of the Tibetan male identified as Nyima and the arrest of six others.

Lobsang Palden, an exile monk in South India, while citing sources in the region, told US based radio service RFA that Nyima was killed by Chinese gunfire at the mining site.

"He was surrounded by the security forces, and none of the Tibetans could approach him," Palden told RFA. "Many other protesters ran away into the forest to hide and have not returned home."

Dawa, Atsong, Phuntsog Nyima, Jamyang Wangmo and Kelsang Yudron have been identified as five of those six detained protesters.

According to reports, mining activities in the region were forced to shut down after thousands of local Tibetans led a protest earlier this year.

Markham (Ch: Mangkang), traditionally part of Kham Province, has seen regular anti-mining protests over the years.

In 2009, hundreds of Tibetan villagers in the region resisted gold mining at Ser Ngol Lo, considered sacred by the residents. The protests then went on for many months, successfully blocking the mining activities.

A year later, following China's resumption of mining operations, local Tibetans renewed protests which led to injuries and detention of several Tibetans.

Last year, Beijing's point man in Tibet said that the Chinese government will explore Tibet's minerals in an "intensive way" in the coming five years.

Zhang Qingli, the then Tibet party secretary had noted that "little exploration" has been done so far on Tibet's "abundant mine reserves".

"We have to accelerate exploration to know what we have before planning how to make use of it," Zhang added.

In November last, the Qinghai Land and Resources Department announced plans to invest nearly 18 billion Yuan ($2.82 billion) in the coming five years to exploit minerals in eastern Tibet.

The Department said that it aims to earn revenue of 17.9 billion Yuan within five years for excavating coal, iron, gold, potassium salt, copper, lead, zinc and cobalt.

According to China's official statistics, the Tibetan plateau has China's largest chromium and copper reserves with most of its rich iron, gold, silver, potassium, oil, and natural gas reserves unexploited.

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