Activists protest PetroChina

Monday, 18 February 2002

Activists protest PetroChina Vice President's speech to Institute of Petroleum
[LONDON] Two Free Tibet Campaign protestors (1) unfurled a banner reading PetroChina stop raiding Tibet at an Institute of Petroleum conference in Westminster today, disrupting an address by Shen Pingping, a Vice President of PetroChina. PetroChina is the target of a campaign by a coalition of Tibet groups (2) which is opposed to the company's exploitation of occupied Tibet's natural gas resources, in which Tibetan people have no say and from which they derive no benefit.

PetroChina, a 90% state owned energy company, is spearheading China's aggressive 'Go West' Economic Development Strategy, with major gas field expansion and pipeline construction to extract gas from the Tsaidam Basin in Tibet's Amdo Province (Qinghai) and Tarim Basin in East Turkestan (Xinjiang) for use in eastern China. Chinese leaders have openly acknowledged the political objectives of the Strategy - ie to consolidate control of the 'western regions', where nationalist feeling and religion are seen by China as obstacles to economic progress. PetroChina's operations will result in the transfer of many thousands of Chinese labourers into the regions, bolstering China's ongoing population transfer policy. Meaningful consultation of affected people in these politically charged areas is virtually impossible, and any opposition is viewed as opposition to Chinese government policy.

We have taken this action to communicate our concerns directly to Shen Pingping, and let PetroChina know that Tibetans and their supporters the world over will not be silenced over the raiding of Tibet. said Alison Reynolds, one of the protestors.

A number of western energy companies are involved in PetroChina. Shell continues to negotiate the terms of its involvement in the $18 billion construction of the 4,000km Tarim Basin to Shanghai gas pipeline, and has invited Exxon Mobil to join its consortium. BP is PetroChina's largest foreign shareholder. Free Tibet Campaign and its coalition patners in the United States have campaigned against PetroChina's activities in Tibet and East Turkestan for over 2 years; successfully depressing income raised in its flotation on the New York and Hong Kong stock exchanges and tabling a shareholder resolution at BP's 2001 AGM in protest at BP's $578 million investment in the company.

Notes:

1) Free Tibet Campaign protesters are Alison Reynolds, 37 and Mandie McKeown, 35 from London.
2) Free Tibet Campaign, International Campaign for Tibet, Milarepa Fund, Students for a Free Tibet and US Tibet Committee.

For more information contact: Anne Callaghan, 020 7833 9958, Mobile 07941 050161