Zone of Peace
Authorities Stop Mining In Garthar After Protests
Reuters reports that hundreds of Tibetans demonstrated in late May 2007 againstlead and zinc mining at Yara Mountain (Chin: Yala Shan), which they considersacred. The protests took place in Garthar area, Dawu County (Chin: Daofu),Kardze Prefecture (Chin: Ganzi) prefecture in Sichuan province, which belongs tothe Tibetan area traditionally known as Kham. Tibetans reportedly smashed carsduring the protest outside the local branch of a mining company and, accordingto a later report of 23 June by Radio Free Asia (RFA), blocked the main Dartsedo(Chin: Kanding) to Kardze road and staged a hunger strike. A number of arrestsfollowed, according to RFA, and 22 Tibetans were taken into custody. Reportsthat a number of protesters lost their lives have not been confirmed, butresidents reported that eight elders have been missing since they tried topetition the Sichuan government in the provincial capital of Chengdu. Later,however, a source in Beijing told RFA that an emergency meeting of localgovernment officials, Party leaders and parliamentary representatives was heldand: "On 18 June, Sichuan provincial authorities instructed Kardze officials tostop any mining activities which do not help the public". "They decided torelease all the Tibetans and stop all mining activities which are not properlyapproved", the source added. In the past years, the Chinese authorities havebeen keen to stop small scale, ‘artisan’ mining, as this type of mineralextraction is generally harmful to the environment, and small mines operatorsfind it easy to avoid taxation. The government plan to replace them withlarge-scale industrial mining.
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