Canadian mining companies targeted by Tibet rights groups
(Ottawa and Vancouver, 10 March 2007) - Tibetans and their supporters held demonstrations and marches in cities across Canada and around the world today to commemorate Tibetan National Uprising Day. This year’s 48th anniversary commemoration was one of the largest demonstrations since the 1959 uprising in Lhasa, Tibet when tens of thousands of Tibetans rose up to protest China’s illegal invasion and occupation of their country. On Parliament Hill, supporters gathered to demonstrate their backing of a resolution to the Tibet-China issue and specifically called on Canadian mining companies to immediately withdraw from Tibet.
“In 1959, our grandparents took to the streets to resist China’s occupation of our land and protect the life of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” said Tsering Lama, spokesperson for Students for a Free Tibet Canada. “We draw inspiration from their brave resistance and remain determined to regain the freedom of our country for future generations of Tibetans.”
Tibetans carrying colourful flags, banners, and placards were joined by federal and provincial members of parliament, and thousands of supporters at rallies in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, and Toronto. With Canadian companies at the forefront of the Chinese government’s push to exploit Tibet’s natural resources, this year’s Tibetan Uprising Day demonstrations had a distinctly Canadian focus.
“In the past year, we have seen a disturbing increase in Canadian mining firms active inside Tibet,” said Dermod Travis, Executive Director of the Canada Tibet Committee. “These companies are partnering with the Chinese government to profit off Tibet’s resources, while Tibetan communities are left to deal with the devastating economic, social, and environmental consequences.”
“As a Tibetan who has grown up in Canada, it makes me frustrated and angry to see Canadian companies contributing to the economic marginalization, displacement, and cultural assimilation Tibetan people face under Chinese rule,” said Tsering Lama as protestors marched passed HDI/Continental Minerals, a Vancouver based mining firm currently conducting exploratory drilling near Shigatse, Tibet’s second largest city.
Tibet rights groups are calling on Canadian mining companies to cease drilling operations in Tibet until Tibetans are in a position to freely determine the use of their natural resources. “Not only is mining in Tibet unethical, but it remains a high risk investment,” added Travis, “These companies are facing public pressure here in Canada and internationally, while at the same time operating in an unstable business environment.”
For more information:
Dermod Travis 514.487.0665/281.1907
Tsering Lama 604.341.4669