Aug 21, 2013

Tibet: Mining Activity Continues At Disputed Tibetan Site

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Chinese mining operations have resumed in one of two sites in Qinghai province where clashes last week between police and Tibetan protesters left dozens injured and eight detained.

Below is an article published by Radio Free Asia:

Meanwhile, work remains stalled at the second site while developments at a third remain unclear, a resident of Qinghai’s Dzatoe (in Chinese, Zaduo) county told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Monday [19 August 2013].

“In the Atod area, mining is going on, while in Dzachen equipment is in place but has not been started up, and the mine workers have not arrived,” RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

On Friday [16 August 2013], Chinese security forces stormed two of the three mining sites in the mountainous area where demonstrators had been in a standoff with Chinese mine workers since early in the week.

One source in Dzatoe said at least 500 armed police had carried out the operation at the Atod Yultso and Dzachen Yultso sites, and were expected to target the third site, Chidza Yultso, at the weekend.

Though local Tibetans have attempted to block the mining work at Chidze, “the work is still going on,” RFA’s source said.

“There has been no information about a crackdown on Tibetans at this site,” he said.

Following the crackdown at Atod, eight Tibetans were detained, with six later released under instructions not to leave the area and two still held in custody.

“They are Beri Choetuk and Tsondru Gyatso,” RFA’s source said, adding that Gyatso is being held under especially tight restrictions.

“His family members are not allowed to see him,” he said. “In fact, none of the Tibetans in Dzatoe are permitted to leave the area, and their movements are being strictly controlled.”

Two other Tibetan protest leaders—Ketsa  Sodor from Atod and Gyaltsen from Dzachen—have now “disappeared,” he said.

“They were both threatened with detention, and later they disappeared. Both of them were the heads of nomadic villages.”

A protester named Sogpo Choedrup who stabbed himself to protest last week’s crackdown has meanwhile survived his wounds, RFA’s source said.

“He was extremely angry when the Chinese force cracked down on innocent Tibetans who were just trying to protect their sacred mountains and environment, and he felt that he should not hesitate to end his life in protest,” he said.

“His condition is serious, but the doctors have said he will survive,” he added.

Tibetan residents of the area have long regarded the mountains targeted for mining as the abodes of protective deities, and documents with government seals appearing to give central government approval for the work were later found to be fakes, he said.

“So this year, the Tibetans were determined to resist the mines.”