FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 14, 2010
Raymond Yee, Canada Tibet Committee
Tenzin Wangkhang, Students for a Free Tibet Canada
TIBETANS, SUPPORTERS PROTEST CHINA GOLD INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION
Call on China Gold International Resources to immediately withdraw from Tibet
VANCOUVER – This morning dozens of Tibetans and Tibet supporters protested outside the Terminal Club (837 West Hastings Street) in Vancouver, where China Gold International Resources Corporation held a special shareholders meeting.
Demonstrators called on China Gold International Resources Corporation (formerly Jinshan Mining) to immediately withdraw from Tibet, as shareholders and executives of China Gold gathered to finalize the acquisition of a copper mine in Gyama (Ch. Jiama) close to Lhasa, Tibet’s capital. The sacred area is the birthplace of the major Tibetan historical figure, King Songtsen Gampo, who unified the Tibetan empire in the seventh century.
In 2009, Tibetans in Gyama protested water contamination and resettlement of nomads that had resulted from the mining operations. Human rights groups are calling on Canadian mining companies and their investors to stay out of occupied Tibet or face escalated public pressure.
“Tibetans on the ground in Gyama, Tibet have been leading the way for many years now, by protesting against the destruction of their environment and entire way of life by companies like China Gold International,” said Raymond Yee of the Vancouver branch of the Canada Tibet Committee, who was barred from entering the meeting, despite being a shareholder. “Now, this company which is essentially owned and controlled by the Communist Chinese Government but headquartered in Vancouver is using the Canadian financial markets to raise money to exploit the already dire situation in Tibet.”
“Despite China’s repression, active opposition to mining activity by Tibetans inside Tibet is growing and today’s protest spotlighted China Gold’s International Resources’ unethical operations in Tibet,” said Tenzin Wangkhang, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet Canada. “As a Tibetan-Canadian, I know first-hand the human rights violations my people suffer under Chinese rule and China Gold is making the situation even worse for Tibetans. Tibetans and supporters will not stop until these mining companies are no longer profiting at the expense of the Tibetan people.”
As the political situation inside Tibet continues to intensify due to increased concern and opposition to mining operations in Tibet, rights groups are calling on Canadian companies and their investors to steer clear of high risk business ventures in occupied Tibet or face increased public and political pressure.
- Villagers who were arrested for opposing mining in Gyama remain in prison awaiting sentencing. Two farmers, Sonam Rinchen and Thupten Yeshi were tortured and sentenced for up to 15 years in prison for demonstrating against mining operations in Gyama. Sonam Rinchen died of illness with part of his body paralyzed as a result of repeated torture while in prison.
- Tibetans of Gyama village have been overwhelmed and displaced from their traditional lands by the influx of thousands of Han Chinese, including military police and special forces.
- Hundreds of nomads have been displaced from the grasslands to socialist housing, depriving them of their traditional way of life and livelihood
- Severe pollution has resulted in illness of Tibetan villagers and death of their livestock
- The re-routing of villagers’ fresh water system to mining operations caused intense conflict between villagers and authorities
- Thundering noise from mining blasts through the night has caused sleep deprivation to villagers
- Villagers have been forced to sell their property, such as vehicles, to mining companies
Students for a Free Tibet works in solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and independence. We are a chapter-based network of young people and activists around the world. Through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action, we campaign for Tibetans’ fundamental right to political freedom. Our role is to empower and train youth as leaders in the worldwide movement for social justice.
The Canada Tibet Committee is an independent non-governmental organization of Tibetans and non-Tibetans living in Canada, concerned with the continuing human rights violations and lack of democratic freedom in Tibet. We seek to end the ongoing destruction of the Tibetan culture, alleviate the suffering of the Tibetan people and restore Tibet to its status as an independent state within the family of nations. The Canada Tibet Committee is committed to the principle of non-violence and recognizes the Tibetan Government-in-Exile as the legitimate representative of the Tibetan people.