Mining project halted in eastern Tibet

Protesters gather in Akhokri, eastern Tibet
Protesters gather in Akhokri, eastern Tibet

30th June 2016

A new video also shows protesters holding a "referendum" on the proposed mine in Chuchen County

Excavation by a Chinese company in Chuchen County in Ngaba, eastern Tibet, has been temporarily halted after documents found by the local community confirmed that the purpose of the operation was to dig a mine on a sacred site. Both the local authorities and the mining company had claimed that they were constructing a hydroelectric plant for the local residents.

As Free Tibet reported last month, Tibetans from Akhokri Township have been protesting against the project since it began in March 2013. Armed police were deployed to Akhokri in May this year, subjecting the locals to heavy surveillance, carrying out arrests and threatening and beating protesters.

Leaks from staff inside the company had already revealed that the operation was being carried out to dig a mine on a site sacred to the community, but further proof has since been found in these new documents from the Chinese working team in Akhokri. The project has since been temporarily halted but no official notices have been issued by the government yet.

In the meantime, Tibetans from Akhokri Township have secretly contacted a Chinese journalist, asking him to publish an investigative news story about the threat that the mine poses to the area. The journalist’s article (Chinese) on the mining was published earlier this month, and concurs with the community that the purpose of the project was to build a mine. It also states that that the mine was part of a project of the central mining company of the Chinese government.

A protest vote

New video footage has also emerged of the protests. The footage, shot in May, shows local residents holding their own referendum over whether or not mining should go ahead.  Two people holding cardboard signs with “agree” and “disagree” written in Chinese stand in a field and locals then gather around the person holding the sign that they agree with. The video shows the community unanimously opposing the mine by gathering around the “disagree” sign.

Take action

Tibetans' land is frequently taken for commercial exploitation, often leading to environmental damage. A number of Chinese companies are currently bottling Tibet's water for sale a a luxury product, despite severe threats to water resources in Tibet. Please contact shareholders in one of these companies to demand that they end their investment.