In the 1985, in the district of the city Madang Township, collocated in Gansu province the cement factory Xiahe Amdo Cement Co. was built; it employes around 600 people.
It opened as a state-owned enterprise, but it was privatized in 1998 and it has since then become one of Gansu's major cement makers.
In the area most of the people have lived for generations upon generations within Yaxiu Village in Madang Township relying upon tilling fields and grazing livestock for maintaining their livelihood. Ever since the Cement Factory began operations, the previous tranquility of life on the farm has been completely broken by modernization. For over a thousand of villagers, this has brought with it enormous harm: the pollution is getting worse and worse; in summer, many local women have to work in the field wearing masks over their noses and mouths. Even wheat in the field is covered with ash, looking grey rather than green . During the cement factory’s expansion in 2009, the company forcibly occupied a site where local people usually carry out religious activities – Mani Stack. The large-tonnage trucks going to and from the cement factory have not only damaged the road – the White Pagoda [Mani Stack] is built next to a farming road – the White Pagoda itself now leans and is cracked. The villagers have twice spent money to carry out repairs, but in the end they couldn’t keep up with the amount of damage being caused by the cement factory; and now, because of the extent of the damage, no one dares to go into the White Pagoda for religious activities. Due to the discharge of large amounts of dust and pollutants, harvests at the farms dropped sharply (the most serious drop was over 60%); and because grazing on the slopes was seriously polluted, not only was the rate of growth severely slowed, more importantly, cattle and sheep would no longer graze on the polluted grass slopes. The pastures have become “ash grass” forcing villagers to go ever farther to search for grazing and even to buy in grass fodder because the natural pastures have lost their function of supporting livestock . Tibetans have benefited very little from the factory, and the water in some villages has dried up, damaging farming and livestock.
Villagers have petitioned for years, to the county and other government offices, but to no resolution. The authorities either pressure or detain the petitioners and lock them up in unknown places.
According to the International Campaign for Tibet, on May 13, 2010 villagers had attempted to resolve the issue of pollution by the factory peacefully by submitting a petition to the authorities demanding greater pollution controls and it also called on the factory to withdraw from a religious site and an old road that it forcibly occupied.  One major point of contention was the damage done to a white pagoda—cherished by Tibetan Buddhists—by factory trucks carrying excavated stones. The factory, was expanding and digging out tunnels.  The petition states as well: “The cows and sheep no longer eat the grass growing on contaminated slopes, forcing us to buy pasturage somewhere else. Our natural pasture has lost its function to feed the livestock. This has significantly affected our life" . Villagers have filed petitions to the local authorities. Tension ran high after villagers, on May 15, 2010, went to the gate of the factory to protest, without receive any attention from the authorities and therefore the citizens started to rebuild a road leading to Yarshul (Ch: Yaxiu) village which had been made inaccessible by a road blockade by the Chinese authorities to expand the factory. Staff from the cement factory, cadres from Madang Township and police officers warned them to stop the road construction. The deputy governor of the county asked the Tibetans to withdraw from the site threatening them with action if they did not allow the factory’s vehicles to pass. The Tibetans were given 15 minutes to clear the area and even they did move back from the road, according to a source, the police still opened fire . No one was killed, but according to the same source at least two Tibetans were taken to hospital with gunshot wounds, one apparently injured in the leg. Others were allegedly beaten up by police.
Tibetans in Markham have renewed protests against mining operations on mountains they consider sacred, despite strong presence of armed Chinese police. Markham was the site of vehement protests last year against mining on a mountain called Ser Ngul Lo.