Mining protests enter second week

Protestors at local government office in Sangchu County
Protestors at local government office in Sangchu County

7th June 2016

Tibetan protest leaders have been hospitalised by security forces

Peaceful protests against gold mining operations in eastern Tibet have entered their second week. The protests are being carried out by Tibetans in and around Amchok Township in Sangchu County and have been met with brutality by security forces. Free Tibet has learned that some of the protesters have been beaten and severely injured over the past few days. The current situation is unknown.  

The second day of the protests, which are in opposition to a large-scale gold mining operation on the sacred mountain Gong-Ngon La Ri, took place on 1 June 2016 in front of the local government offices of the Amchok Yultso Township. An increased number of monks joined the protesters, who chanted slogans calling for the mining works to be stopped and the environment to be protected.

HYPOCRISY CHALLENGED

Amongst the slogans being shouted were those highlighting government hypocrisy given how mining on land without local people's consent is against Chinese law – slogans such as: "Mining and extraction are against the law. It's against the people's wishes"

Other slogans, like "La Ri is my faith. Don't stamp on my faith", emphasised the sacred value of this land to the local people.

Security forces responded to the demonstration by beating several of the protesters. A few of the group were severely injured and hospitalised.

Threatening notice issued by Amchok's local government
The mine at Gong-Ngon La Ri

GOVERNMENT WARNING  &  PEACEFUL RESPONSE

On the fifth day of the protests, 4 June, the authorities issued a warning notice, accusing the protestors of collaborating with overseas anti-China groups and of distorting facts, and blaming them for the severe deterioration of the situation. Pinpointing core members as the prime culprits, the notice tried to dissuade local people from protesting, warning of severe consequences were they to persist in doing so.

The residents of Amchok’s eight village units gathered in an open area to burn incense and carry on their protest. The situation became tense when security forces arrived at the scene and surrounded them but under the guiding influence of some of the senior religious figures present, the protest action was brought to an end and the villagers returned to their homes.

Take action

Tibet’s environment is widely under attack, with mining causing damage to meadows and grazing land and bringing pollution to its rivers. Meanwhile, Chinese water bottling companies such as Tibet 5100 are taking water from Tibet’s already threatened rivers, springs and glaciers. Send a message to BlackRock, one of Tibet 5100’s international shareholders, telling them to sell its shares in Tibet 5100 and end any financial support for environmental destruction in Tibet.