Peaceful students march against copper mine in Dawu, Tibet

On July 2011, over 400 students marched on a 60 km to the site of a copper mine in Dawu, and staged a sit-in at the county government offices to protest against environmental problems. The authorities declared the demonstration like a political act.


Description
In north eastern Tibet, students from  Senior Tibetan High School demonstrated against destructive mining in the prefecture Golog ( in chinese  Guoluo ), in Qinghai region. In fact on July 2011,  over 400 students  marched  on a 60 kilometres  to the site of a copper mine in Dawu, named Deerni Copper Mine. They later staged a sit-in at the county government offices. Police forced the students to disperse although no arrests were made. News of the protest was reported by the Tibet Times  [4]and Voice of Tibet Radio[5]. Photo of the protest was sent from Golog to sources in exile and later posted on Chinese social networking websites. Although promptly taken down, the photo attracted dozens of supportive comments.  [1]  In response, the Central Government ordered an investigation according to the logic that this could not be just an environmental protection issue, but must have had some other ethnic reasons behind that. Later an investigation discovered some papers printed with the statement “You must speak Tibetan”, in reference to a movement that has spreads across the Tibetan territory since 2009 among Tibetan to speak pure Tibetan. Therefore government officials declared the demonstration like a political act, rejecting the local displeasure with mining and its consequences on environmental. [3] Which was the real reason about the students march maybe couldn’t be so important. In fact of course the copper mine in Dawu affected the environment, and the farmers declare in the area the water pollution from mining have caused livelihood death and human diseases. Moreover for the Tibetan culture the Amnye Machen montain  in Golon is one of the most important sacred mountains in the Plateau and the  local inhabitants were against the copper mining since has been built in the mid-2000s.[3]  In this area, the source of Yellow river, gold is excavated for hundreds of square kilometres and local people oppose this because they believe that the sacred mountain has many hidden treasures, and when the treasure is removed from the ground, the spirit of the mountain will disappear. The communities wouldn’t offend the mountain’s spirit digging the Deerni Copper Mine, but they can’t do anything to stop other people doing that [7] Students protests have spread across the Tibet, especially on  2011, when culminated with vast  protests for language freedom in  October of the same year. Students both in and outside Tibet are utilizing the power of nonviolent resistance and continue to be at the forefront of the Tibetan freedom struggle, that of course is a political fight linked with the environmental issue [2].
Basic Data
NamePeaceful students march against copper mine in Dawu, Tibet
CountryChina
ProvinceSichuan Province, Qinghai region.
SiteDawu, prefecture Golog
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesCopper
Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
In the web site Zijinmining [6] it's reported that Qinghai West Copper Company, Ltd., established in 2003, is located in Dawu town, Maqin County of Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province, and the core asset is Deerni copper mine.
See more...
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date01/07/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesQinghai West Copper Company, Ltd. from China
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersVoice of Tibet Radio
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Students
Forms of MobilizationStreet protest/marches
Students staged a sit-in at the county government offices[1]
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other[7]Rukor-admin
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseRepression
Government officials declared the demonstration like a political act, rejecting the local displeasure with mining and its consequences on environmental. [3]
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The students march shows the deep environmental awareness of Tibetan local people that it mobilizes the young population as well. Despite this, the students demonstration didn't lead to any results and it was declared by government official like a political act, rejecting the local displeasure with mining and its consequences on environmental. [3].
Sources and Materials
References

[3] Emily T. Yeh, Kevin J. O'Brien, Jingzhong YeRoutledge, Rural Politics in Contem-porary China, January 22, 2016
[click to view]

[7] James Miller,Dan Smyer Yu,Peter van der Veer, Religion and Ecological Sustainability in China, Routledge, 2014
Edited by J
[click to view]

Gabriel Lafitte, SPOILING TIBET: CHINA AND RESOURCE NATIONALISM ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD and Warren Smith, A COMPILATION OF A SERIES OF “EXPERT ON TIBET” PROGRAMS, For RADIO FREE ASIA in CHINA’S EXPLOITATION OF TIBET’S MINERAL RESOURCES
[click to view]

Save Tibet, Dawu Dzong, 1997
https://www.savetibet.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/TOTAR_Tawu_746-797_txt+img.pdf
[click to view]

Rukor-admin, Copper and gold mining in Tibet, Copper and gold mining in Tibet, Octo-ber 11, 2011
[click to view]

Yonten Nyima and Emily T. Yeh, Environmental issues and Conflict in Tibet in Ben Hillman, Gray Tuttle, Ethnic Conflict and Protest in Tibet and Xinjiang: Unrest in Chi-na's West, Columbia University Press, Apr 12, 2016, p.151

Links

[5] Voice of Tibet Radio
[click to view]

[1] Nick Gulotta, STUDENT PROTESTS CONTINUE TO SWEEP ACROSS TI-BET, Studentsforafreetibet, August 31, 2011
[click to view]

[2] Topix.com, Student protests continue to sweep across tibet, Sep 5, 2011
[click to view]

[6] Zijinmining
[click to view]

[4] Tibet Times
[click to view]

Other Documents

[1] Nick Gulotta, STUDENT PROTESTS CONTINUE TO SWEEP ACROSS TIBET, Studentsforafreetibet, Aug 31, 2011 Students in Golog stage sit-in at government offices.
[click to view]

Flickr.com, freeyak59: https:[email protected]/5843433682/in/photostream/ 400 brave Tibetan students from "Golog Tibetan Senior High School" in Golog, Tibet protest environmentally destructive copper mining.

Students "walked 60 kilometers" to a copper mining site near Dawu township in pro-test.

Photo showing sit-in protest (July 2011)
[click to view]

Flickr.com, freeyak59: https:[email protected]/5843433682/in/photostream/ 400 brave Tibetan students from "Golog Tibetan Senior High School" in Golog, Tibet protest environmentally destructive copper mining.

Students "walked 60 kilometers" to a copper mining site near Dawu township in pro-test.

Photo showing sit-in protest (July 2011)
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorMyriam Bartolucci, EJAtlas internship researcher, [email protected]
Last update08/07/2016
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