Students for a Free Tibet Toronto took to Canada’s financial district this week to shed light on Canadian mining corporations operating inside Tibet. The Canada China Business Council, as an effort to encourage Canadian business in China, has organized an ongoing breakfast series called “Bumps in the Road”, guiding Canadian companies on how to overcome problems they will face while doing business in China.
Standing outside the entrance to the event’s venue, we aimed to inform attendees of the financial and reputational risks one would face if they were to invest in mining operations in Chinese-occupied Tibet. Canadian mining companies, like Continental Minerals and Jinshan Gold Mines, are leading the efforts in exploiting Tibet’s natural resources; a growing and concerning trend considering the political instability and the human rights violations which continue under China’s rule.
While facing extreme financial risks caused by weak rule of law and the political instability inside Chinese-occupied Tibet, Canadian mining companies are using these factors to mine Tibetan land without the consent of the local Tibetan communities. This results in protests by Tibetans, where Tibetans face danger from Chinese authorities who shut down these protests and blockades by shooting those Tibetans who are standing up against these mining operations who are seen as destroying their sacred land. Beyond the human rights abuses caused by these companies, the environmental destruction and impact is frightening.
Most mining sites are located near sources of major river systems, including the Yarlung Tsangpo/Brahmaputra, the Sutleg and the Indus. Chemicals from mining sites can be released into these rivers, where they poison the water. Not only does this pollute the water in Tibet, but since the Asian continent depends on the water sourced from the Tibetan plateau, this presents a threat to almost half of the world’s population; a clear and present danger that, in itself, should sway mining companies from unethically mining Tibet.
Canadian mining companies operating in Tibet need to see that there so many “bumps in the road” that the risks far outweigh the possible rewards; information that we hope reached key decision makers during our action Thursday morning!
To learn more about SFT’s campaign against mining in Tibet, please visit: www.stopminingtibet.com.