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Police Banned Lhasa Students' Procession And Petition For Cleaner Tibetan Environment (DIIR)

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 99/01/18 Compiled by Nima Dorjee]

8 January 1999

DHARAMSALA, 8 January 1999 - Lhasa police banned a planned procession by Tibetan students to express their concern for Tibet's fragile ecosystem, according to delayed reports coming from Tibet. This is the first known case in Tibet of Tibetans staging a demonstration to increase people's environmental awareness.

The Lhasa police also banned the students from distributing their petition addressed to both the Chinese government and the Tibetan public. The petition was a mildly-worded plea for better environmental protection.

According to eye-witness reports, about 40 students of Lhasa Teachers' Training School gathered together at their school on 4 October 1998 with banners and a one-page petition and were on the verge of taking to the streets of the city when the police arrived and stopped the procession on the grounds that such demonstrations needed prior police approval.

A new Tibetan refugee, (name withheld for reasons of security) who arrived in Dharamsala on 29 December 1998, handed a copy of the petition to the Tibetan Administration. The copy of the original petition's translation is attached here.

The Tibetan Administration has made efforts for years to draw the attention of the Chinese authorities to the massive environmental degradation that is going on in Tibet because of mis-guided and short-term official policies.

This year China publicly admitted that rampant deforestation upstream on the Tibetan Plateau caused the devastating Drichu (Yangtse river) floods in August last, which killed 3,656 people and resulted in a direct economic loss of US$ 37.5 billion.

Because of the unprecedented scale of death and destruction caused by the summer floods, the Chinese authorities consequently banned logging upstream in the eastern Tibetan province of Kham through which the Drichu river flows.

The Tibetan Administration welcomes such moves. We feel that such a ban will reduce the environmental destruction in Tibet. However, such official ban must be accompanied by effective enforcement mechanism in order to reverse Tibet's environmental degradation.

LHASA STUDENTS' PETITION

(English Translation)

Increasing Environmental Awareness to Create a Clean and Enchanting Homeland

Tibet, as known to many people, is one of those rare places on this earth with clean and enchanting environment. It has clear blue skies with verdant grasslands. The rich forest regions are home to diverse species of animals. These animals thrive on the lush grasslands, clean water and fresh air. TibetĚs environment provides sustenance for all its inhabitants. However, will it forever remain as nourishing as the sun rays? Will our sky remain blue and pure all the time? Will the water in our rivers and streams remain crystal clear? Will our trees in the green forest flourish forever? Can any great power guarantee the future survival and protection of our natural resources?

The 21st century is the century of environmental protection. Air pollution, deforestation, degradation of grasslands, desertifications, acid rains and other environmental perils devastate the environment of Tibet, which directly influence our livelihood. Do you see these critical symptoms of ecological decline?

If we look at the future development of society, the human population is increasing at a dramatic rate; natural resources are vanishing fast; the greenhouse gas emissions and the ozone layer depletions affect us all. If we look at the future of industry in Lhasa, there are problems all around; polluted rivers and streams flow in the north of the city, thick clouds of smoke emit in the west, and there is the constant music blaring in the centre of the city. Everybody has seen these problems, but nobody even attempts to solve them. Is this modern civilisation? As human civilisation develops, is it not the human greed for wealth that may ultimately lead to the demise of this civilisation?

The 21st century is the century of environmental protection. Environmental awareness must first start from the individual, spreading to the children of today to conserve the environment of Tibet. To restore human civilisation, increasing environmental awareness among the people is the immediate need of the hour. With the unity of mind and hands, we promise to work hard ceaselessly to rebuild a beautiful and enchanting homeland.

by All Students of Lhasa Teacher Training School, Graduating Class of

Year 2001, Section Third, Tibet.

Note:

The original students' petition in Tibetan is available at the Environment & Development Desk

Contact person: Mr. Tsultrim Palden, Head of the Environment & Development Desk, Department of Information & International Relations, Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamsala-176215, India. Ph: +91-1892-22510/22457/24662 Fax: +91-1892-24957 Email: ecodesk@tcrclinux.tibdsala.org.in


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