Protests Against China’s Rampant Mining in Shigatse Continue

The Chinese government has deployed a large number of riot police and security forces to clampdown on Tibetans who are protesting against its rampant exploitation of mineral resources in Shethongmon county in Shigatse.

DHARAMSHALA: The monks from Lingka Monastery and general public in Tamo township protested as officials and workers from a government-owned mining department approach a rich mining site near Lingka Monastery on 22 November 2010.

As the protesters tried to stop the mining work, the officials of the mining department and local government attempted to cajole them to continue the extraction work.

But the general public did not give into the cunning tricks and they continued to express their opposition to the mining work from 22 November till 18 December.

The local government of Shethongmon sent riot police to disrupt the demonstrations, which led to verbal confrontation between the police and the protesters. The police, who were outnumbered by the protesters, tried in vain to be gentle to disperse them.

Later, a large contingent of public security bureau and armed personnel were sent from Shigatse to crackdown on the protesters. As a result, many Tibetans were severely beaten up and arrested.

Khenpo Kelsang, aged 49; Jamyang Tsering, 38; Tsewang Dorje, 37; Rigzin Pema, 35 and Jamyang Rigsang, 34, were among the monks of Lingka Monastery arrested following the crackdown.

Around 12 Tibetans from the lay community were also arrested, out of which two were released. The rest are still in detention centres near Shigatse and in Shethongmon county.

Such cases of forcible mineral extraction by the Chinese government against the will of the Tibetan people is not new in Shigatse. On 5 June 2010, Tibetan residents of Sogchen village in Namling county strongly protested the exploitation of their region’s rich mineral resources. The police and army used force to crush the peaceful protest of Tibetans, many were severely beaten up and around 30 detained. The whereabouts of the detainees still remain unknown.

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