Photo provided by an RFA listener
DHARAMSALA, September 2 – Tibetans in Zatoe County in Qinghai province have been threatened of “serious actions” if they resumed their protest against mining activities in the area. Several Tibetans were injured in clashes with the Chinese security forces last month after over 4000 Tibetans tried to stop the Chinese mining companies from operating in the area.
Around 500 Chinese miners arrived in the Zatoe County’s various townships earlier last month for mining works which the locals allege is “illegal”.
The authorities have now subjected Tibetan leaders from various townships in Zatoe County to “political education” classes that began August 26; a Tibetan source was cited by the RFA. “For now, we have lost, and work on the mines has resumed,” RFA quoted its source in Zatoe as saying.
According to the source, Police escorted miners to various villages looking for stone samples to check for signs of minerals. The Tibetan residents of the villages were warned by the Chinese authorities against coming in their way.
All those arrested in the aftermath of the clashes with the Chinese security forces last month have now been released except for one named Ketsa Sonam, who, according to the source disappeared early in the protests and is still missing.
The Tibetans claim that the Zatoe mining sites fall within an area described by China’s central government as a protected area. Protesters are planning to send a delegation to appeal the authorities in Beijing for intervention.
The Tibetan government in exile maintains that Beijing, “under the guise of economic and social development, encourages the migration of Chinese population to Tibet, marginalizing the Tibetans in economic, educational, political and social spheres.”
Earlier in May, over 4,500 Tibetans gathered near Naglha Zamba, a sacred rich-mineral hill in Driru region of eastern Tibet, to protest against its excessive Chinese mining.
In September 2011, China announced plans to spend 300 billion Yuan (US$46.89 billion) on 226 key projects ranging from railway, dam building, mining and promotion of tourism in Tibet within the next five years.