Fatal anti-mining protest

8th May 2014

China continues to exploit the Tibetan environment.

A 39 year old Tibetan man has died after jumping off a school building in Dzogang County, Chamdo. On 7 May 2014, Phakpa Gyaltsen climbed the rooftop and shouted: “We Tibetans don't have freedom; Tibet needs independence, let Gyalwa Rinpoche [the Dalai Lama] return to Tibet”. When people tried to stop his protest, he stabbed himself and jumped from the building. Gyaltsen was part of an anti-mining protest in Dzogang County.

Anti-mining protest

Local Tibetans had protested plans to mine in the area and Phakpa Gyaltsen had told them the day before his death to stop protesting as he would take action. Road and bridge construction had already taken place in the area. Local families were offered compensation but they rejected the offer. On 28 April, 20 Tibetans were arrested at a mining protest. Due to local public pressure they were released shortly afterwards but warned not to disrupt the mining operations.

China’s environmental exploitation

Mining and environmental exploitation by Chinese authorities in Tibet often trigger protests by Tibetans. These protests are usually dealt with severely. Last year China quashed a peaceful mining protest with machine guns in Yushu. Other protests have led to intensive crackdowns and “political re-education” campaigns. Learn more about Tibet’s environment.