Tibetans protest mining on a sacred site, while in Lhasa, former political prisoner Lodoe Gyatso is rearrested
Around 300 Tibetans have been staging a protest in Sangchu County in eastern Tibet. The protest, which began at the start of this week, is in opposition to a large-scale gold mining operation that has been taking place around the site of Gong-Ngon La Ri, a mountain that is sacred to the local community.
The protesters, who come from Amchok Township in Sangchu County, have opposed the mining operation in the area since it commenced 16 years ago. They have lodged appeals with the authorities, asking them to halt the mining, but to no avail. They decided to carry out a public protest to oppose to the mine and the damage that it has caused to the surrounding enviornment.
Destroying the land "piece by piece"
Protesters held up hand-painted banners and made speeches criticising the gold mining. One of the protesters explained that they were not opposed to the Chinese government and even praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for his stance against corruption, but insisted that the land is sacred to the community and that they should be allowed to stay on it, saying:
"You say that this land belongs to the nation and we don't deny that fact, but we also belong here and we have every right and desire to belong to this land and to protect and save it. This land we are on is sacred to us, it protects us and it's precious to us and so it brings us hope and happiness and you are destroying it piece by piece for some individuals' monetary profits. It hurts us physically to see this happening because we know we won't get this back once destroyed. We cannot accept it come what may."
Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, a military taskforce has reportedly been called to the scene. There is no further information on how the soldiers responded to the event, which is ongoing.
Tibet’s environment is under attack, with mining causing damage to meadows and grazing land and pollution to its rivers. Meanwhile, Chinese water bottling companies such as Tibet 5100 are taking water from Tibet’s already retreating glaciers. Send a message to BlackRock, one of Tibet 5100’s international shareholders, telling them to sells its shares in Tibet 5100 and end any financial support for environmental destruction in Tibet.