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Human Rights and Environment Groups Call on Sino Gold to Stay Out of Tibet

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 03/05/20; May 20, 2003.]

19 May 2003

An international coalition of human rights and environment groups today called on Australian listed miner, Sino Gold Ltd, to cease all exploration in Tibet until Tibetans are in a position to freely express their wishes about the use of their resources.

Making the call are the Australia Tibet Council, The Wilderness Society, the Mineral Policy Institute and AID/WATCH in Australia as well as Students for a Free Tibet in the US and Free Tibet Campaign in the UK.

The company is currently carrying out exploratory drilling at Jinkang in the Tibetan area of Amdo on the border of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

If a mine goes ahead, Sino Gold would be the first foreign company to mine in Tibet, creating a precedent for other foreign companies to exploit non-renewable resources with negligible benefit to Tibetans.

This reinforces the political aims of China s Western Development Plan to further consolidate control over Tibet by building infrastructure, facilitating migration of ethnic Chinese and further integrating Tibet into the Chinese economy.

According to Australia Tibet Council s Executive Officer, Paul Bourke, this poses an ethical dilemma for Sino Gold and its shareholders who would be making themselves complicit in supporting the ongoing human rights abuses that have characterised the Chinese occupation of Tibet since China s invasion in 1949.

Tibet s gold and other resources rightfully belong to the Tibetan people. We believe it is irresponsible to extract non-renewable resources while Tibetans are unable to exercise their internationally recognised rights, including deciding how their resources should be used. Sino Gold should stick to China and keep their hands off Tibet. said Paul Bourke.

Tibetans and their supporters will demonstrate outside Sino Gold Ltd s AGM at 10am on 20 May 2003 at the Sir Stamford Hotel at 93 Macquarie Street in Sydney to protest the company s exploitation of Tibetan resources.

Actions will also take place in Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia and at Australian Embassies and Consulates in New York and London.

A research report Who Owns Tibet s Gold? has been produced by the Australia Tibet Council and is available.

Further information - Paul Bourke: 0419 420 526 (from outside Australia dial +61 419 420 526)

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