To: Unitex Msg #15, 17-Jul-90 03:21pm Subject: Ecology in Tibet Source: Canada Tibet Commi

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

From: Paul Nietupski Crash/spewmail Sent To: Unitex Msg #15, 17-Jul-90 03:21pm Subject: Ecology in Tibet Source: Canada Tibet Committee Newsletter, Spring 1990 TERRACIDE IN OCCUPIED TIBET Prior to the Chines invasion and occupation of Tibet, this vast land atop the Himalayas existed as an ecosystem virtually free from the impact of the industrial age. Compassion for other living beings was the core value of the Buddhist culture of the Tibetan people, and protection of the environment was a natural result. Thirty years of Chinese occupation of Tibet has resulted in genocide accompanied by a "terracide" of appalling proportions. FACTS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEVASTATION OF TIBET * THE DECIMATION OF WILDLIFE: Indiscriminate shooting has reduced the flourishing wildlife to a grim list of endangered species, including the wold yak and the snow leopard. Recent accounts, such as in the March-April 1990 cover story of Greenpeace magazine, report a virtual absence of wildlife in Tibet. * DEFORESTATION: The devastation of Tibet's forests is widely documented by refugees, foreign visitors to Tibet, and the Chinese themselves. The roads once used for the Chinese military invasion of Tibet are now filled with a ceaseless procession of trucks taking timber to China. * NUCLEAR AND TOXIC WASTE DUMPING AND NUCLEAR TESTING: The effects that these practices may have on the local environment are ignored by the Chinese occupiers of Tibet. An earthquake zone, Tibet is particularly dangerous as a nuclear dumping site. Seven major rivers of Asia have their source in the Tibetan plateau, and their contamination would be widespread and catastrophic. * OVER-GRAZING: Because of forced collective livestock farming, too many animals are raised on land that will not support them. The result is severe erosion, flooding, and the increase of silt deposits in rivers. * MINING: It is reported that the Chinese government is preparing to extract Tibet's rich deposits of gold, uranium, copper and iron. * POPULATION TRANSFER: In addition to military personnel, China has engaged in large-scale transfer of Chinese citizens to Tibet. Urbanization accompanied by heedless waste disposal imperils the unique and fragile nature of the Tibetan plateau. DID YOU KNOW? * Tibet has the largest forest area in the whole of Chinese controlled lands. * Tibet's medicinal herbs number more than 1,000 varieties, or 65% of the herbs in Chinese controlled lands. * Tibet has more than 5,760 varieties of plants, of which over 3,000 have economic value. * Vast tracts of Tibet's forests have been reduced to empty waste lands. Attempts at reforestation have been generally unsuccessful due to lack of proper care for seedlings. * US$54 billion worth of lumber has been taken from Tibet into China since 1959. * Tibet's forests were home to deer, musk deer, bears, leopards, wild yaks, antelope and lynx. * Many environmentalists attribute the frequent and devastating landslides and floods in Nepal, North-eastern India, Bangladesh, Burma and China to the massive deforestation in Tibet. To know more about environmental issues in Tibet or to become a member of Canada Tibet Committee, please write to: Canada Tibet Committee 4675 Coolbrook Avenue Montreal, Quebec H3X 2K7 CANADA From: Paul Nietupski Crash/spewmail Sent To: Unitex Msg #16, 17-Jul-90 03:22pm Subject: Tibetan Children's Village Source: David Phillips THOUSANDS OF ORPHANS AND DESTITUTE CHILDREN FIND SHELTER AND WARMTH IN TIBETAN CHILDREN'S VILLAGES Two years ago, more than 300,000 people journeyed to Bodh Gaya, India, site of the Buddha's enlightenment, to receive the teachings and the blessings of the XIVth Dalai Lama of Tibet. Among the multitude of pilgrims that came from every continent were many who journeyed from their homes in Tibet. After the Long Life Blessing was transmitted and the faithful departed, 450 Tibetan children began a journey in a new direction. Instead of starting on the 20-day trip back home with their families, they went by train to Dharamsala to be raised there in the Tibetan Children's Village (TCV), an institution which cares for orphaned and destitute Tibetan refugee children. Since 1960 when it began its work to care for 51 starved and sick refugee orphans, TCV has cared for more than 8,000 needy children. It has expanded its programs to the plateau of Ladakh, the valley of Kulu and the hot plains of Byalakuppe -- all in India -- and has also expanded the range of services it provides to children in its care. In 1984, a second school was opened in Dharamsala to accommodate new arrivals from Tibet who now number about 800 and represent close to a quarter of the children currently being cared for by TCV. TCV has taken much of its inspiration and guidance from the SOS Children's Villages of Dr. Hermann Gmeiner. Caring for orphaned and destitute children is a totally new experience for Tibetans now in exile, and over the years the SOS model has proved to be most suitably adaptable. Groups of children (usually about 30) of varying ages live in TCV homes with a house mother and a family atmosphere. Everyone has some responsibility in cooking, cleaning and taking care of the garden. Villages are comprised of many such homes, staff quarters, hostels, school buildings, sports facilities, offices, kitchens, bakeries, community centers, libraries and buddhist temples. A sense of community, belonging and responsibility is thus created and maintained for children who otherwise wold face the world alone and defenseless. TCV accepts any child offered to the care of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, of whom 75% are orphans, semi-orphans or destitute. The quality of care and education is so high that parents of greater means seek admission there for their own children. Ten per cent of the children in TCVs are of government officials, and the remaining 15% are children whose parents pay for schooling at TCV. Interactions between children of well-off families and orphans helps to bind the Tibetan refugee community in India together. The curriculum at TCV schools follows the syllabus set by the Board of Education in New Delhi. In addition, Tibetan is taught as a first language with history, religion and literature incorporated into the text books to preserve and transmit Tibetan culture. Children up to the age of eight are taught according to the Montessori method in which teachers act as guides for pupils encouraged to follow and develop their own learning impulses. TCV also sponsors a variety of cultural programmes, provides religious instruction on the principles of Buddhism, operates a handicraft and vocational center for teenagers and young adults, and manages an Educational Reserve Fund to help graduates meet expenses for higher education. For more than 200 helpless and inform refugees who in their old age have become like children, TCV has arranged special homes to care for them. TCV is entirely dependent on the help it receives from philanthropic organizations and individuals. SOS Children's Villages has been a mainstay of support, but also more than 3,000 individuals from 26 countries directly sponsor children for US$20 a month. Shipments large and small of warm clothing for children and adults, as well as medicines, particularly against tuberculosis, have helped TCV over the years. TCV is planning to expand the Kulu Valley village to east overcrowding and accommodate an additional 500 children. A youth hostel is being built in New Delhi, and more textbooks will be translated into Tibetan. For more information, contact: Tibetan Children's Village Dharamsala Cantt. 176216 Kangra District, H.P. INDIA From: Paul Nietupski Crash/spewmail Sent To: Unitex Msg #17, 17-Jul-90 03:23pm Subject: Bulldozing Lhasa Source: Australia Tibet Council News, June/July 1990 LHASA UNDER THE BULLDOZER TO EASE CROWD CONTROL Chinese authorities are demolishing part of the historic Tibetan quarter of Lhasa in order to provide better access for police and troops, according to reports from Tibet. Up to 10% of the remaining traditional Tibetan two-storey stone housing has been flattened in the last three months as the Chinese lay out new streets in the City, much of it over 200 years old. Five large blocks of land to the north and east of the famous Jokhang Temple have been bulldozed, and streets are being re-laid. Official claims that old houses were unsafe or unhygienic are regarded as an excuse by some observers, who point to chalk markings for the new road lay-out which were clearly visible in Lhasa last week. "Roads and deep foundations in the Barkhor have been dug up, this is not just building new houses," said one eyewitness, who asked not to be named. He told me that "The police have found the narrow alleys impossible to control when there is trouble. They make it easy for people to escape and it is easier to hide from police gunfire." Lhasa's complex maze of twisting alleyways, many barely wide enough for two people to pass, looks destined to be replaced by straight, wide streets. Wider streets will allow access for the Armed Personnel Carriers and Tanks used in the rest of the city on days when demonstrations are expected. On three occasions since 1987 it has taken armed Chinese police more than six hours to regain control of the quarter once pro-independence protesters started throwing stones from the flat- roofed houses and form the numerous alleyways. In March 1989 the 1-kilometer square Tibetan quarter, known as the Barkhor, or "inner circuit", was out of control for three days before the Army was brought in. The city has been under martial law ever since. 1,500 TIBETANS REHOUSED At least 1,500 Tibetans are said to have been re-housed in temporary accommodation outside the town awaiting relocation in the new houses according to a report reaching Tibet Information Network, an independent monitoring organization based in London. The report confirms an official statement last August by the Chinese Government which announced investment of up to 10 million yuan (about US$1.9 million) in 1989 for "renovating hazardous housing in Lhasa". This is about 4% of Tibet's total fund for capital construction this year. Some of those already re-housed have complained that the new houses, which have Tibetan-style facades, are cold and unsuited to the climate because the Chinese do not use traditional Tibetan thick-walled construction methods. There was an outcry among Tibetans in 1988 when one house was rebuild three storeys high, making it taller than the Jokhang Temple which lies at the heart of the Tibetan quarter. Four years ago the western side of the Barkhor was flattened to make way for the "piazza"-style square which now allows unobstructed views of the Jokhang Temple. The new square, which this year has a flagpole flying the Chinese flag, protected by three sentries armed with AK-47s, does not only offer improved viewing facilities for tourists. It includes two police stations, now occupied by troops, and a flat-roofed four-storey building used as a viewing station to monitor crowds around the temple and to film any protesters. Since 1959, housing space in Lhasa has increased by a factor of 12, to 3 million square meters. The total urban area of Lhasa has increased to 40 sq. kilometers, making the modern city nearly twenty times large than the 2-3 kilometers it covered when the Chinese took over in 1959. The Tibetan part of the city has now dwindled in size to about 2% of the total area of the town, which consists mainly of modern Chinese commercial buildings and dormitory blocks. Although only 40% of the population is officially admitted to be Chinese, the shrinking size of the Tibetan quarter lends graphic support to Tibetan claims that Chinese settlers are now a majority in the city. A source in Lhasa recently reported that a new 7-storey Bank of China has just been completed, nearly twice as tall as almost any other building in the city apart from the Potala, which is also undergoing extensive and unmonitored "repair works". The source confirmed earlier reports that all building work in the city outside the Tibetan quarter is done by Chinese laborers. The efforts to rebuild the Barkhor area of Lhasa involve the use of tracked vehicles, bulldozers, and dump trucks, rarely seen in similar sized cities in China. The exercise is remarkable given repeated warnings by the Lhasa Government in its budget last August that "we must resolutely limit non-productive investment . . . [and] nonproductive construction projects must be rigorously controlled." The intensity of the demolition work, as well as the fact that roads are being relaid, has increased suspensions that crowd control now dominates the Chinese approach to town planning in Tibet. From: Paul Nietupski Crash/spewmail Sent To: Unitex Msg #19, 17-Jul-90 03:32pm Subject: Australian Views on Tibet Source: Australia Tibet Council News, June/July 1990 TIBETANS URGE SANCTIONS AGAINST CHINA Sonam Rigzen, a representative of the Australian Tibetan Community, spoke at a press conference organized by the Australia Tibet Council on 24 May 1990. Sonam called for the Australian Government to send a fact-finding mission to Tibet and to impose sanctions against China for its continued human rights violations in Tibet. The conference was called in response to a report published in the Melbourne Age from Peter Ellingsen, an Australian journalist in Beijing, that up to 2,000 Tibetans have been executed in the six months leading up to the lifting of martial law in Lhasa. Sonam said that there is overwhelming evidence that Tibetans are routinely tortured and executed and treated as second-class citizens in their own country. He also said that a type of apartheid was being waged against Tibetans, who had a different culture and religion to the Chinese. AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SUPPORTS HUMAN RIGHTS IN TIBET Mrs. Pema Decjen, of the Tibetan Womens Association called on Australia's Foreign Minister, Senator Garreth Evans for a new position paper on Tibet, when she met him in Adelaide during her recent visit to Australia. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL RECALLS TIBETAN TRAGEDY ON ANNIVERSARY OF THE TIANANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE ATC members joined with members of Amnesty International, Federal politicians from each of the major party and members of the public in an AI meeting, on June 5, marking the release of their latest report on human rights violations in China. The meeting was held on the first anniversary of the slaughter in Tiananmen Square. Although Tibet cannot be considered part of China, the human rights abuses committed in Tibet at the hands of the Chinese made this an important opportunity to talk about the Tibetan tragedy. Speakers from AI included Molly Missen who made an impassioned plea for prisoners of conscience around the world, and Paul Rees who read from the report, which vividly described the experiences of witnesses to the massacre. Sen. Janet Powell of the Australian Democrats, Sen. Barney Cooney of the ALP and Peter Nugent, Liberal MP for Aston were uniform in their condemnation of China's human rights record and recalled personal responses to the human rights abuses committed by the Chinese. All echoed similar sentiments, regarding the important role the Australian government has to play in championing the rights of oppressed people. Karen von Stockirch from Monash University presented an analysis of CHina's response to dissent over recent decades, and the use of dissent as a political tool in the hands of factions seeking to control China. The story of Tibet was recounted by Jonathan Cebon, who pointed out that this tragedy was little known because for most of the last 40 years, witnesses to the events in Tibet including journalists, cameramen, travelers and observers concerned about human rights have all been excluded by the Chinese authorities. Those authorities have recognized that no witnesses means no attention and no international concern. The only window of opportunity allowing people to observe events in Tibet occurred briefly during the 80's. However, this opportunity was rapidly lost with the expulsion of journalists in 1987 following anti- Chinese demonstrations, and imposition of martial law in 1989. He added that the savagery unleashed on young Chinese intelligentsia, in Tiananmen Square, revealed the extremes the ruling clique in China were prepared to go to in order to retain control. If this was what happened in full view of the international media, how much worse must it be for Tibetans, considered barbarians by the Chinese, away from the scrutiny of witnesses. On the basis of accounts from Tibetan refugees, it would appear that the oppression and persecution in Tibet rates among the worst anywhere in the world. He asked whether Australia's push to resume normal relations with China would enable an independent Australian fact-finding team to visit Tibet. Refusal by either Australia or China to consider this would raise doubts about the nature of the Sino-Australian relationship, and doubts over the proud claim that we are a nation concerned about human rights. From: T.I.N./London Crash/spewmail Sent To: Unitex Msg #20, 17-Jul-90 09:43pm Subject: EcoTibet /* Written 10:36 pm Jul 14, 1990 by CEBON in cdp:tibet.informat */ /* ---------- "Rivers and ECOTibet" ---------- */ INTERNATIONAL CONCERN FOR TIBETAN WATERWAYS The effects of deforestation and the ruthless exploitation of the Tibetan ecosystem were the subject of international attention and concern at the second International Rivers Conference held in Oslo, Norway in May. Delegates representing associations for river protection from North and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia were present. In a resolution which was carried unanimously, the conference expressed their support for Ecotibet's efforts in drawing attention to the plight of Tibet's ecosystem. Text of the resolution: The Chinese occupation of Tibet has now endured for 40 years. During that time the Chinese occupation forces and settlers in Tibet (now outnumbering the Tibetans) have exploited the Tibetan ecosystem to such an extent that today in large areas, animal and plant life are close to total elimination, and the extent of the destruction is steadily growing. Among other effects, vast tracts of forest cover have been totally denuded, resulting in floods and heavy silting in rivers. Additionally, some rivers are being dammed or diverted with negative consequences downstream. The rivers affected are most of the large rivers of central, southern and south-eastern Asia, like: Indus, Sutlej, Ganges (many of whose tributaries flow from Tibet), Brahmaputra, Salween, Mekong, Yangtsekiang and Hwangho An international working group - ECOTibet - (Environmental Concern Over Tibet) has been set up to try to alert the world to what is happening to the Tibetan natural systems and to build political pressure to stop these destructive practices. The International Rivers Network, gathered at their second international conference, hereby want to express our support of ECOTibet's work. We have furthermore resolved to establish a permanent working relationship with between ourselves and ECOTibet. Oslo 6th May 1990 On behalf of the International Rivers Network: Phillip Williams President

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank