Saturday, September 17, 2011

Excavating Tibet

This article of Reuters says: "About 8 percent of the investment will be used to foster the development of indigenous industries, including tourism, mining, agriculture and stock-breeding".
Is mining really an 'indigenous industry'? 
No, it is it purely to feed the voracious economic engine of the mainland.
Gold, uranium, copper, rare earths, etc. will all be exported to China, to feed China's economy/ 
The local population will certainly not benefit from the mining industry. The Chinese leadership will then be surprised if more and more resentment is thus created.
Can the new Party boss Chen Quanguo understand this?
It is true that from the time Chen took over his new job, he has refrained from being nasty, like his predecessor Zhang Qingli, but he needs to do more to win the heart of the Tibetan masses.
Famous poetess and blogger Tsering Woeser wrote an article Songtsen Gampo’s Hometown Is About To Be Completely Excavated
I went to Gyama in the summer of 2005. I visited the temple to make offerings to the statue of Songtsen Gampo [Thirty-Third King of Tibet] and met with the elderly man who guards the temple. I also went into the nearby village and to the nunnery built on top of the mountain. Those photos were taken during the trip. Recently I heard that the elderly man who guards the temple already passed away. Because of the pollution caused by mining activities, many villagers have fallen ill and because of the 'patriotic education', which is carried out inside temples, in the nunnery, which I had visited, there are only a few nuns left, all others have been driven out…

...Only because Gyama, just like all other places in Tibet, is rich in natural resources, mining companies established at least 6 mining areas in the Gyama district alone many years ago, ruthlessly exploiting copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, gold, silver etc. This has led to the destruction of the local ecology and brought disaster to local citizens. Since 2007, a gold miner belonging to the National Enterprise and the China Gold Group with an international background has become the new owner of Gyama. They swallowed many mining areas in one go and had Huatailong Mining Development Limited company subordinating to specialise in mining, everyday exploiting an amount of up to 12,000 tons. Today, Gyama has become the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau’s mining pit with the highest daily output. Last month, the
Tibet Daily jubilantly praised: “the weekly sales revenue of Jiama’s copper-polymetallic ore has reached 1.1 billion Yuan.
...Songtsen Gampo's hometown has almost been completely excavated by the China Gold Group. In fact, most part of the entire Medro Gongkar County has almost been bought up; even the county government has sold their land to the above company and moved to a different area.  Many local Tibetans say that one might as well just change the name of Medro Gongkar County into Huatailong County and Gyama village into Huatailong village. In actual fact, it isn’t merely one county or one village, in Lhundrup County near Lhasa, every village has been affected by mining, even far in the west, in Ngari,  everywhere is full of mines. The mountains in Dram on the border have been excavated by gold miners; they might soon even start digging up to the side of Nepal.
...In March this year, the high official Jampa Phuntsok said to the media in Beijing: “Tibet is not only the country’s protective screen in terms of ecology and security; it is also the base where the electricity in the western region is to be transported to the eastern area, a base for mining, the centre of diverse natural life and it will even become one of the world’s main tourist destinations.” Being “a base for mining” as he says, clearly reveals that Tibet’s rivers and mountains will be a scenery of destruction in the future. 
Well, if China 'pumps' money in Tibet,it is certainly not for the sake of the Tibetans. Another aspect, not mentioned in Reuters article is that most of the infrastructure created to 'develop' Tibet can also be used by the PLA in case of conflict with its Southern neighbour.

China to pump $47 bln into Tibet to 2015
Wed, Sep 14 2011
BEIJING, Sept 14 (Reuters) - The Chinese government will pump 300 billion yuan ($47 billion) into restive Tibet over the next five years, with 90.5 billion yuan to finance roads, railways, hydropower stations and other infrastructure, state media said on Wednesday.
The 226 projects the money will support are "aimed at achieving rapid development in Tibet", the official Xinhua news agency quoted deputy governor Hao Peng as saying at an internal meeting on Tuesday.
Key transport schemes will include an extension of the railway from regional capital Lhasa to Shigatse, the traditional home of Tibetan Buddhism's second highest figure the Panchen Lama, and highways to the rest of China, the report added.
Other spending will target housing, health care and environmental protection, Xinhua said.
"About 8 percent of the investment will be used to foster the development of indigenous industries, including tourism, mining, agriculture and stockbreeding."
The billions of dollars China has spent in Tibet over the last few years are all aimed at winning hearts and minds in the unstable Himalayan region, and to better integrate it into the rest of the country.
Similar plans have been unveiled for neighbouring Xinjiang, whose Turkic-speaking and Muslim Uighur people have likewise chafed at Chinese rule.
Tibet's economy has grown more quickly than the rest of China, sped by the completion of a railway to Lhasa and large mining projects, though much of Tibet is still remote and very poor.
But those projects have also brought more Chinese migrants to Tibet, leading to many Tibetans' perceptions that they have been left out of economic growth.
Since bloody demonstrations in 2008, the government has boosted training programmes, subsidies and investment there in an implicit recognition of the economic roots to the violence.
China has ruled Tibet with an iron fist since Communist troops marched in in 1950. It says its rule has bought much needed development to a poor and feudal region.
Exiles and rights groups accuse China of failing to respect Tibet's unique religion and culture and of suppressing its people. ($1 = 6.399 yuan) (Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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