Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Mining Tycoon Says: Tibetans Hope to Get Rich from Mining" By Woeser

High Peaks Pure Earth has translated a blogpost by Woeser that was originally written for broadcast on Radio Free Asia on September 9, 2010 in Beijing and posted on her blog on September 28, 2010

This is another blogpost by Woeser that deals with mining in Tibet. For previous articles by Woeser on this topic see:

In the blogpost, Woeser quotes an article by Tibetan writer Jamyang Norbu, to read his article "High Sanctuary" in full, click on this link.

Finally, a small note about the term 'Hongding Businessman' that Woeser uses at the end of the blogpost, 'hong' literally means red and 'ding' means the tip, it is a reference to a hat with a red tip, referring to a traditional Chinese government official.

The photos below were taken from the mining tycoon Bian Hongdeng's microblog:

"Mining Tycoon Says: Tibetans Hope to Get Rich from Mining"
By Woeser

Shortly after the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, a Chinese mining tycoon named Bian Hongdeng flew to the Tibet Autonomous Region to enclose land and buy up 21 mining sites and, with the permission from government authorities on different levels, he opened mining companies, some even reaching Lhasa. He recently emphatically announced on his blog: “Tibetans hope to get rich from mining.” At the beginning of his post, he states in an omniscient manner that “historically, Tibetans always drew their wealth from gold and silver mining and from helping the British source lead to make bullets.” Let us simply neglect the middle part in which he calls those Tibetans who protest against mining “unruly citizens” or “whiners” who are not worth mentioning. In the conclusion he says: “Now, many Tibetans wishing to get rich, hope that the government would quickly introduce prospecting and mining policies, enabling them and their families to acquire wealth within their own region. If not, they would send the ‘Laba’ Lama to occupy the mountain slopes and chant scriptures and turn the current mountain used for mining into a sacred mountain, prohibiting any further mining activities.” “Laba” is not a typo; he deliberately satirized the word “Lama” and wrote it as “Laba” (meaning trumpet or loudspeaker)

I would very much like to tell this egomaniacal “mining tycoon” that Tibetan people’s attitude towards mining and wealth is not at all as he surmised. Let us turn to a Tibetan writer, Jamyang Norbu, who reviewed how various environmental and wildlife protection measures were put into practice through laws, moral values, annual celebrations or sarcastic behaviour by the old Tibetan government, religious and social institutions and citizens. He wrote in an article: "We Tibetans are rightfully proud of the fact that we were traditionally kind to animals and did not thoughtlessly exploit our wildlife and environment as the Chinese are now doing in their frighteningly mindless and rapacious way." Like the tradition of “sealing the hills and the valleys”, "protection was not only extended to wildlife but often to the environment: the forests, grasslands, lakes and streams."

‘Shameless’ is the right word to describe the tycoon’s remarks. It is actually him and people like him who plot and scheme to seize the abundant resources found in Tibet while sanctimoniously saying: “it is you Tibetans who want to do the mining but you lack the ability because you ‘only know how to dig up caterpillar fungus on the mountains’. So we are here to help you so that you will never have to experience ‘days of bitterness’ again”. He also asserted in a different article that the reason why Western countries support the Dalai Lama’s fight for independence is “only because of the abundant resources found in Tibet”. All of the above is nothing but an excuse which colonialists would use to excessively plunder resources of the indigenous. 

Actually, this kind of plotting and scheming already started fifty years ago. The Tibetan scholar Jampa Gyatso, from within the Chinese system, revealed in his newly published book that when the young Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama spent Tibetan New Year in Beijing, Mao Zedong said bluntly: “one should not just say that Han people help minority people. It’s also the other way round… There are certain mineral resources that cannot be found in our Han areas but only exist in minority areas.” Another example would be the second hand book I purchased online, a survey data on geology and mineral resources in east Tibet, which was compiled by the Chinese Academy of Sciences from 1951 to 1953 and published in 1959. When I read the sentence “finding useful mineral resources shall be the top priority of our work” I started to better understand the true intentions behind the “liberation of Tibet”.

In the past, it was this country, this government that entered Tibet uninvited under the false pretences of wanting to “liberate” and “help” us; now, different kinds of capitalists from this country continue to enter Tibet uninvited in the name of “aid” and “development”. On the one hand, they are ruthlessly plundering as if there is no tomorrow; on the other hand, they cunningly claim that insufficient mining activity is the reason why Tibetans are in “poverty and plunged in debt”. This “mining tycoon” skillfully makes money by supporting “anti-separatism” in the same way as those government officials who control Tibet do. They label Tibetans who protest against mining activities as “dissatisfied poor locals who come to the gates of the government to cause trouble”.    

On a blog, I came across this sentence: "a 'Hongding Businessman'. Later, this term came to be used to refer to 'red' capitalists. Just like the red flag, the red tip of a Hongding Businessman’s hat, is dyed red with fresh blood.” This is indeed the case.

Beijing, September 9, 2010

No comments: