Chinese policies damaging the ecology, says Tibetan govt-in-exile

Updated on Jan 02, 2019 01:30 AM IST

The Tibetan government-in-exile has contested China’s claim of according top priority to ecological conservation in Tibet, saying “the ground realities were altogether different”.

The Tibetan government-in-exile said China’s “weak environment policies” and “lack of sincere efforts” have exacerbated Tibet’s fragile ecosystem.(AP/Picture for representation)
The Tibetan government-in-exile said China’s “weak environment policies” and “lack of sincere efforts” have exacerbated Tibet’s fragile ecosystem.(AP/Picture for representation)
Hindustan Times, Dharamshala | By

The Tibetan government-in-exile has contested China’s claim of according top priority to the ecological conservation in Tibet, saying “the ground realities were altogether different”. It noted China’s “weak environment policies” and “the lack of sincere efforts” have further exacerbated Tibet’s fragile ecosystem.

China had made the claim in a white paper published in July. The white paper said Beijing regarded the Tibetan Plateau’s protection vita for China’s survival and development.

The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), as the government-in-exile in is known, released a 21-page response to the white paper. “The paper would have been a wonderful reading for someone who knows very little about Tibet, but for a regular observer, there are too many lies, factual errors and contradictions between policies and implementations,” CTA president Lobsang Sangay said in the foreword of his government’s response to China.

The CTA cited the impact of climate change, mining, “irresponsible damming, forceful removal of Tibetan nomads and littering on the environment of Tibet. It urged China to respect Tibetan cultural beliefs in the sanctity of the sacred mountains, lakes, and rivers to tackle the environmental issues.

“The Chinese government must involve the local Tibetan population in decision-making processes for any major development projects in Tibet,” the CTA said.

Sonam Norbu, official spokesperson for the CTA, called environmental concerns apolitical and universal in impact. “The ecological health of the Tibetan Plateau, which also functions as the roof of the world, is vital for the well-being and sustainability of the entire world, including China.”

Researcher Tempa Gyaltsen said China has failed to mitigate the alarming climatic conditions in Tibet and further aggravated the environmental crisis by increasing the scale of resource extraction and dam construction. He welcomed China’s past initiatives in environmental protection, including the introduction of the 2015 new environment protection law.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Naresh K Thakur is a staff reporter in Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. Based at Dharamshala, he covers Tibetan affairs, local politics and environmental issues.

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