Thousands of Tibetans protest against Chinese mining activities in Driru, eastern Tibet on May 24, 2013.
DHARAMSHALA, May 29: Thousands of Tibetans took part in a major protest against Chinese mining activities last week in Driru region of eastern Tibet.
According to the Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration, over 4,500 Tibetans gathered near Naglha Zamba, a sacred hill rich in mineral resources, to protest against its exploitation by Chinese miners on May 24.
Chinese authorities responded by deploying over 50 military convoys at the protest site, giving rise to a “tense situation” in Driru region, according to CTA. Three Tibetans were reportedly killed by landslide while on their way to the protest site.
“Despite appeals from the local Tibetans against the mining activities in the region, the local authorities tried to dupe them by saying that the project will bring development and benefit for the region,” CTA said.
In August last year, Chinese security personnel in Markham region of eastern Tibet shot dead a Tibetan man
for taking part in an anti-mining protest.
Around a thousand Tibetans had marched to the Chinese-owned mining site in Markham, protesting the large-scale operations, which they said was environmentally hazardous. Chinese security personnel responded by firing tear gas and live rounds on the protesters, leading to the death of the Tibetan male identified as Nyima and the arrest of six others.
In September 2011, China announced plans to spend 300 billion yuan (US$46.89 billion) on 226 key projects ranging from railway and dam building to mining and promoting tourism in Tibet within the next five years.
According to China’s official statistics, the Tibetan plateau has China's largest chromium and copper reserves with most of its rich iron, gold, silver, potassium, oil, and natural gas reserves unexploited.
Tibetans have long argued that China’s grand projects in Tibet are planned and implemented without consultation, consent, and knowledge of the local Tibetans.
The Central Tibetan Administration maintains that Beijing, “under the guise of economic and social development, encourages the migration of Chinese population to Tibet, marginalising the Tibetans in economic, educational, political and social spheres.”