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Peaceful students march against copper mine in Dawu, TAP Golog, Qinghai, China


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

Name of conflict:Peaceful students march against copper mine in Dawu, TAP Golog, Qinghai, China
Country:China
State or province: Qinghai region.
Location of conflict:Dawu, 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 commodities:Copper
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.

Deerni copper deposit was discovered in 1960s and is a large-scale polymetallic complex sulphide ores with copper, cobalt, zinc, iron, sulfur, gold, silver and other metals. Its design ore processing capacity is 8,000 tonnes per day.

Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:01/07/2011
Company names or state enterprises:Qinghai West Copper Company, Ltd. from China
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Voice of Tibet Radio

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Neighbours/citizens/communities
Students
Forms of mobilization:Street 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 Environmental impacts[7]Rukor-admin
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Repression
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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain: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 & Materials

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[3] Emily T. Yeh, Kevin J. O'Brien, Jingzhong YeRoutledge, Rural Politics in Contem-porary China, January 22, 2016
https://goo.gl/6P5ufk

Save Tibet, Dawu Dzong, 1997

https://www.savetibet.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/TOTAR_Tawu_746-797_txt+img.pdf
https://www.savetibet.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/TOTAR_Tawu_746-797_txt+img.pdf

[7] James Miller,Dan Smyer Yu,Peter van der Veer, Religion and Ecological Sustainability in China, Routledge, 2014

Edited by J
https://books.google.es/books?id=CzJzAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA187&lpg=PA187&dq=Deerni+Copper+Mine&source=bl&ots=CyEEBxU6TI&sig=LV7eO4Dy8oYYL_tNrS-LXi7gq3E&hl=es&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwipiPDpmuHNAhWKORQKHSf2DroQ6AEIXjAJ#v=onepage&q=Deerni%20Copper%20Mine&f=false

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

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
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/warrensmithbooks/Warren1.pdf

Rukor-admin, Copper and gold mining in Tibet, Copper and gold mining in Tibet, Octo-ber 11, 2011
http://rukor.org/copper-and-gold-mining-in-tibet/

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[4] Tibet Times
http://tibettimes.net/

[2] Topix.com, Student protests continue to sweep across tibet, Sep 5, 2011
http://www.topix.com/forum/world/china/T454GSCKDJLGQUURK

[5] Voice of Tibet Radio
http://www.vot.org/

[1] Nick Gulotta, STUDENT PROTESTS CONTINUE TO SWEEP ACROSS TI-BET, Studentsforafreetibet, August 31, 2011
http://blog.studentsforafreetibet.org/?s=Golog+protests+2011

[6] Zijinmining
http://www.zijinmining.com/business/product-detail-26900.htm

Meta information

Contributor:Myriam Bartolucci, EJAtlas internship researcher, [email protected]
Last update08/02/2018

Images

 

[1] Nick Gulotta, STUDENT PROTESTS CONTINUE TO SWEEP ACROSS TIBET, Studentsforafreetibet, Aug 31, 2011

Students in Golog stage sit-in at government offices.

Flickr.com, freeyak59: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[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)

Flickr.com, freeyak59: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[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)