Protests in Nyarong district for mining exploitation, Tibet

On 8 April 2010, a monk of Kardze Monastery organized a local manifestation against the mining exploitation in the Nyarong. He was arbitrary arrested and detained by Police. His exact whereabouts wasn’t ascertained.


Description
In Nyarong district, since the Chinese occupation, has been a mine of natural resources. First, lumber has been the chief natural resource exploited; at the end of the 1950's the Chinese established Nyarong as one of the prefecture's four water transport districts and eight forest work enterprises, and began to exploit the area's virgin forests. The Kartse-Nyarong road has facilitated lumber extraction since it was built for that purpose in the 1960's, but the largest volume of lumber is floated down the Nyag Chu River. Certainly everywhere in Tibetan areas where rivers are used to transport logs, a massive amount of wastage occurs and for example in Nyag Chu the  banks and shoals are literally covered with stranded logs.[6] Khams gold-bearing rivers and soils, and road infrastructure have later attracted Chinese gold miners. Along the Nyag Chu River in Nyarong, gold mining activities are in operation in many locations, particularly in the lower two-thirds of the stretch between the Kartse county boundary and Nyarong county town. The miners live in crude camps under the harsh conditions, without the use of machines but just using low-technology methods to extract gold from gravel sieved from the river bed. The mining is done usually in very small groups, the largest is about 16 people and them begins in spring when the rivers thaws, because during winter freezing waters impedes the activity. Gold of course provides an important source of revenue for Kartse TAP. Several large mines were developed during the 1980's and under the 8th Five-Year Plan (1990-1994). Besides gold, Nyarong has a dozen other known mineral deposits. Despite that, county authorities say they regard these as invaluable assets for Nyarong's "future" because such mining attracts increased Chinese immigration to the area, subtracting job and causing damage to the river bed and banks. [6] On April 2010 the International Secretariat of Organisation Mondiale contre la Torture - OMCT was informed by The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD), a member of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, about the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr. Abo Tashi, a 22-year-old Tibetan monk from Guru Kardze Monastery in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP) in Sichuan Province. [2]. According to the information received, on 8 April 2010, Mr. Abo Tashi was arrested by Chinese Public Security Bureau (PSB) officials for participating and taking pictures during a manifestation that he staged with three friends in Nyarong County main market. The four individuals reportedly carried the banned Tibetan national flag, chanted slogans and threw handwritten pamphlets demanding for the quick return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, the independence for Tibet and the suspension of the mining activities in the Nyarong region. Mr. Abo Tashi’s three friends reportedly managed to flee from the place. [2] The protesters were later joined by over 500 local Tibetan residents in the objection against the Chinese government’s exploitation of rich mineral re-sources in Nyarong region. Criticizing the Chinese government for carrying out mining works in the region, the residents vowed to stop farming their land till the authorities halt the mining activities. A former monk said: ”Nyarong is very rich in gold, valuable stones and many other resources which the Chinese government has been taking away to China,”; “The monk named Apo Tashi, who took pictures of the protest, was taken into custody by the Chinese authorities and his whereabouts remain un-known” [1] The International Secretariat of OMCT was gravely concerned about the safety of Mr. Abo Tashi, particularly because his exact whereabouts wasn’t ascertained. OMCT recalled to the competent Chinese authorities that China is legally bound to effectively ensure the physical and psychological integrity of all persons deprived of liberty in accordance with international human rights law, and in particular, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Moreover OMCT urged the authorities to conform with China’s international human rights obligations, commitments that were reaffirmed on the occasion of its election as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council. [2] In fact in the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is emphasized  “ (…). In order to keep this critical phase as short as possible, international human rights law requires that any person arrested or detained on the suspicion of having committed a crime has to be brought “promptly” before a judge or another officer authorized by law to exercise judicial powers”. [3] [4]  
Basic Data
Name Protests in Nyarong district for mining exploitation, Tibet
CountryChina
ProvinceGarzê County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture , Sichuan Province, Kham region
SiteKandze Monastery (Gompa), Garzê Town, Nyarong district
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 processing
Specific CommoditiesGold
Timber
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationUnknown
Start Date08/04/2010
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Street protest/marches
In the manifestation, the four monks took pictures and carried the banned Tibetan national flag, chanted slogans and threw handwritten pam-phlets demanding for the quick return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, the independence for Tibet and the suspension of the mining activities in the Nyarong region. [2]
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil erosion
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Violations of human rights
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Outcome
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Repression
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The monk that organized the environmental and political mobilization, was arbitrarily arrested and detained. That it's an evident symbolic act to not inspire other manifestations by communities.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

[3]United Nations General Assembly, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, §88 A/HRC/13/39/Add.5, February 5, 2010
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References

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]

[4]Human rights watch,“I Saw It with My Own Eyes” Abuses by Chinese Security Forces in Tibet, 2008-2010, July 2010
[click to view]

[5]Rukor-admin, Copper and gold mining in Tibet, Copper and gold mining in Tibet, Octo-ber 11, 2011
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Links

[1] Tibet.net, Residents Protest Exploitation of Mineral Resources in Eastern Tibet, 13 April 2010
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[2] Omct.org, China: A 22-year-old Tibetan monk ar-rested after staging a protest_Fear for his safety, 15 April 2010.
[click to view]

DUKTHEN KYI and LYNN HOLLAND, The Lonely Resistance: Protesting Chinese Resource Exploitation on the Tibetan Plateau, Carnegie council, MARCH 14, 2016
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[6]Tibet environmental watch, Reproduced by permission from Steven D. Marshall and Susette Ternent Cooke, Tibet Outside the TAR: Nyarong Dzong, 1997
http://www.tew.org/totar/totar.nyarong.html
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Other Documents

Kandze Monastery: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kandze_Monastery Garzê (Kandze) Monastery facade.
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Source: http://www.asianews.it/news-en/A-Tibetan-killed,-six-arrested-in-protest-against-Chinese-mines-25563.htmlhttp://www.asianews.it/news-en/A-Tibetan-killed,-six-arrested-in-protest-against-Chinese-mines-25563.html
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Meta Information
ContributorMyriam Bartolucci, EJAtlas internship researcher, [email protected]
Last update08/07/2016
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