For Immediate Release
China’s ‘Steel Dragon’ in Tibet and Canadian investment
(Ottawa, Tuesday, 5 February 2008) – The Canada Tibet Committee will host a briefing by the International Campaign for Tibet on the far-reaching role Canadian companies are now playing in China’s plans for large-scale extraction of Tibet’s mineral and other natural resources. The role of Canadian corporations is directly linked to Beijing’s political agenda of ensuring its control over the Tibetan people.
Event: China’s ‘Steel Dragon’ in Tibet and Canadian investment
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Time: 10:30 am to 11:30 am
Place: 1 Nicholas Boardroom, Suite 1200
The Tibet groups will present new findings on how construction of the world’s highest railroad across the Tibetan plateau has changed the investment dynamic in Tibet, attracting Canadian and other foreign investment, to the detriment of the Tibetan people and its fragile high-altitude environment.
Mary Beth Markey, Vice President of the Washington, DC-based International Campaign for Tibet, said today: “Foreign companies investing in Tibet are participating in a political and strategic agenda aimed at strengthening the Chinese state’s authority and control over Tibetan areas. This commercial interest coincides with a time in Tibet’s history when ordinary Tibetans have no real say in decision-making on their country’s future. We urge Canadian investors to implement guidelines that aim to ensure the genuine participation of Tibetans in the development of their economy.”
“Over 10 months ago, the National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility and the Canadian Extractive Industry in Developing Countries issued its Advisory Group Report. Yet, three hundred and twelve days later, the Canadian government has said ‘nary a word’ on the report’s recommendations. The implementation of comprehensive standards for Canadian mining companies operating in regions such as Tibet, as proposed by the Advisory Group, would be a giant step in the right direction,” said CTC Executive Director Dermod Travis.
The new US$4.1 billion rail link, which has been a critical factor in drawing Canadian investment to the region, is a quantum leap in Beijing’s strategy to accelerate development of its western regions, which is one of the major dynamics of contemporary China. The railroad connects Lhasa with the rest of China, bringing Beijing much closer to the goal set by Mao Zedong over 40 years ago of integrating Tibet with China.
Canadian companies investing in Tibet include Continental Minerals, which is conducting a major exploration into copper and gold deposits near Shigatse; Bombardier, which constructed the rail cars for the new train, and Nortel Networks Corporation, which supplied a wireless digital communications system for the railroad.
Briefing material on ICT’s new findings on the railroad and Canadian investors will be available, including images from inside Tibet depicting the scale of the new investment.
About the Canada Tibet Committee
The Canada Tibet Committee is an independent non-governmental organisation of Tibetans and non-Tibetans living in Canada, who are concerned about the continuing human rights violations and lack of democratic freedom in Tibet.
The International Campaign for Tibet is a monitoring and advocacy group based in Washington, DC, and with offices in Brussels, Berlin and Amsterdam. ICT will publish its latest report, ‘Tracking the Steel Dragon: How China’s economic policies and the railroad are transforming Tibet’ on February 20.
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For more information:
Dermod Travis Mary Beth Markey/Kate Saunders
Canada Tibet Committee International Campaign for Tibet