Under the garb of environmental protection, the Chinese Communist Party in Tibet is carrying out the oppression of the local nomads, and damming the numerous rivers that originate on the roof of the world, calling the actions as ‘greenwashing’.
Lhasa : Under the garb of environmental protection, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Tibet is carrying out the oppression of the local nomads, and damming the numerous rivers that originate on the roof of the world, a media report said, calling the actions as ‘greenwashing’.
The term greenwashing, coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld is the “practice of construing an activity as more environmentally friendly than it really is,” Global Order reported. China’s Policies Threaten Tibet’s Unique and Centuries-Old Culture
Since 2006, CCP has implemented large-scale programs to accelerate the relocation and sedentarization of the nomadic population, viewed by the authorities as ignorant, backward and irrational, whose ‘overgrazing’ caused significant damage to the Tibetan grassland ecosystem, the report said.
The traditional grazing practised by Tibetan nomads is crucial for Tibetan rangelands; their technique of moving their herd from summer pasture to winter pasture in a rotational fashion helps avoid overgrazing. This renews grasslands, improves wildlife habitats and helps sustain the Tibetan plateau, the report added.
The case of Pika is another related issue that hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Pika is a native small mammal, widely regarded as the keystone species for grassland biodiversity. However, a campaign that characterized pikas as a pest for their habits of eating vegetation and digging burrows underground and deteriorating grassland quality has been underway in the Tibetan plateau for the last 30 years.
Recently, China mobilized 10,000 people in the Ngapa area to poison and exterminate marmots from the grassland, claiming that they are causing grassland degradation. The truth is that this pika poisoning project has the potential to poison all the mammals and birds in the ecosystem that the Tibetan plateau sustains.
Another supposedly “green” policy that China is pursuing in Tibet has been of building a number of dams on the plateau, to reduce the country’s dependence on coal. However, the cost of the CCP’s megaprojects is being paid by the local Tibetans, in the form of disruption of their habitats as well as dislocation of people.
Lianghekou hydropower station, for instance, which is located in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture was estimated to help reduce raw coal consumption by 13.3 million tons and carbon dioxide emission by 21.3 million tons per year, the report said.
However, beneath the veil of “green energy”, about 6,000 people across four counties were relocated and once it is fully completed by 2023, the Lianghekou dam will reportedly drown ancestral homes, Buddhist monasteries and sacred mountains.
China is also pursuing a policy of turning vast areas of Tibet into national parks, which is expected to be used as a pretext to remove even more Tibetans from their ancestral lands, the report said.
China announced the displacement of more than 1,000 Tibetans from a nature reserve in northern Tibet in 2018, which it called “high-altitude ecological migration”.
This act of driving away nomads from their lands involuntarily to “help degraded landscapes to recover and to improve the living standards of local people” is ironic given that these nomads have been the traditional land managers for thousands of years, the report said, adding, these moves are meant only to displace them to give way for mining and damming activities.
Unless the world comes together to hold China accountable for its environmental destruction in the plateau, the rhetoric of greenwashing will continue to wash away the environmental crimes it is committing in the world’s Third Pole, the report concluded.