Tag Archives | environment
Zam dam

Photo-op for China-appointed Panchen Lama exposes China’s strategic interests in Tibet

Profile of Acting Governor of Qinghai highlights China’s focus on damming and diverting Tibet’s water – despite earthquake risks

September 13, 2018

  • China’s religious policies and authoritarian control in Tibet emerge from the leadership’s strategic and economic imperatives, and those interests converged in a visit last month by the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama to Zam (Chinese: Zangmu) dam, which supports the largest hydropower project in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • The Acting Governor of Qinghai, Liu Ning, has a career in hydrology and is a former senior member of the official committee for the massive Three Gorges dam, the world’s largest hydropower project and most notorious dam, described by environmentalists as a “model for disaster.” His appointment highlights the high-level focus on exploiting Tibet’s water as a ‘strategic asset’ for China, including in the expansion of the South-North Water Transfer Project.
  • China is planning more hydropower dams on Tibet’s major rivers, despite a proven connection between earthquakes and dams on the Tibetan plateau, one of the most seismically active areas in the world.
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China’s claims in new White Paper about protecting Tibet’s environment are contradicted by increased production of bottled water from shrinking Tibetan glaciers, more dams

August 8, 2018

Highlights of this report:

  • As the Chinese government released a new white paper claiming it supports “ecological conservation” in Tibet, state media announced that China has stepped up production of bottled water from Tibet’s endangered glaciers, and news emerged of more major hydropower schemes in central Tibet, financed by the state.
  • Visiting Tibet from July 25-27, 2018, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced increased funding of infrastructure construction despite ongoing environmental challenges, such as the dramatic degradation of permafrost on the Tibetan plateau, and major floods and landslides in the capital city of Lhasa and central Tibet this summer.
  • China’s detailed white paper, released in July, focuses on the imposition of top-down policies that are contested even within the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and erases the role of Tibetans as vital stewards of Tibet’s fragile high-altitude landscape and wildlife. It reflects a more strategic approach toward Tibet’s environment emerging from concerns over Tibet’s importance as an essential water source for China.
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Inside Tibet: Dramatic video of slow-moving landslide in Tibet raises questions about climate change

September 13, 2017

A graphic video depicting a slow-moving landslide, looking like a lava flow, in a nomadic area of eastern Tibet has circulated online leading to questions about climate change and grasslands degradation on the world’s highest and largest plateau. The video shows the top layer of the grasslands sliding downhill in a steady stream, near livestock and nomadic dwellings, as Tibetans look on in distress.

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gold mining

Temporary halt to mining after protest in eastern Tibet: the rush to invest in Tibet’s lithium

May 9, 2016

A lithium mining project has been called to a temporary halt in eastern Tibet after local people protested. Footage emerged from Tibet last week showing Tibetan women wailing at the sight of dead fish found in a local river, a tributary of the Yangtze [Tibetan: Drichu], as a result of toxic wastes caused by the mining. A line of Chinese police in riot gear could be seen on the videos responding to the protest in Lhagang (Chinese: Tagong) in Kham, where rock lithium is mined – an essential mineral for batteries that power mobile phones and tablets.

An official document dated May 6, two days after local people gathered at the site to protest, stated that the local authorities were calling a halt to the mining because of “environmental problems” and in order to “resolve remaining issues”. ICT has seen a photograph of the document, which had an official stamp, after it was circulated on social media. A full translation into English is provided below.

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New report reveals global significance of Tibet, earth’s Third Pole, and challenges China’s policies

 

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Tibet Intergroup

Tibet Intergroup Hosts Landmark Environmental Event

June 20, 2013

BRUSSELS: The offices of MEPs Satu Hassi (Greens), Thomas Mann (EPP) and Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D) of the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament, the Office of Tibet, Brussels, the International Campaign for Tibet and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) jointly organised a seminar at the European Parliament on the state of Tibet’s environment on 19 June. Mixing politics, human rights and environmental sciences, this hearing was the occasion for all to discover the multiple facets of Tibet’s struggle against the degradation of its land, air and water.

Keynote speaker, Mr Tenzin Norbu, head of the Environment and Development Desk of the Central Tibetan Administration, gave a presentation focused on resource exploitation, nomads and climate change. Introducing the “third pole” concept, he stressed that Tibet is currently the largest reservoir of fresh water in the world due to its glaciers, permafrost and rivers. However, these resources are in danger of disappearing fast due to over-exploitation of minerals and forests on the Tibetan plateau. Combined with climate change, these activities have a strong impact on flood risks and the timing of the monsoon season on which billions in South East Asia depend for agriculture.

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Kumbum

Bold online appeals address persistent lead poisoning in Qinghai water supply

Urgent appeals have been posted online in Qinghai about lead poisoning in the local water-supply due to named mining and smelting operations, following up from a report in the Chinese state media in 2006 confirming that excessive levels of lead in the area had resulted in “panic” among parents. The appeals state that the matter […]

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Third Pole

Tibet’s importance as earth’s third pole raised at COP15 for first time at international climate change forum

For the first time at a major international forum on climate change, Tibetans will be present at the COP15 summit in Copenhagen this week to present new information about the global implications of climate change in Tibet. Tibet, the world’s largest and highest plateau, is the ‘world’s third pole’ because it contains the biggest ice […]

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Mount Chomolungma

Dramatic consequences of climate change in Tibet – G8 must seek a credible environment policy on Tibet

The urgency of the crisis facing the world as a result of global warming on the Tibetan plateau, and China’s measures for environmental protection in Tibet, must be addressed at the G8 Summit this week, according to Kai Mueller, Executive Director of ICT-Germany. Tibet, Mueller added, would otherwise run into an ecological catastrophe. China’s President […]

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Dharamsala outlines environmental priorities in Tibet

The Tibetan Government-in-Exile has issued a report on the state of Tibetan environment Tibet 2003: State of the Environment, A Roadmap for Collaborative Development detailing what it feels are the environmental priorities for the Tibetan people. The report, released by the Environment and Development Desk of the Tibetan Department of Information and International Relations in […]

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