Plundering Tibet

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Wednesday, October 22, 5pm, Ethnic Cultural Center

Plundering Tibet is a short documentary about the dire consequences of China’s ruthless mining in Tibet. As a Canadian filmmaker, the narrator has a personal take on this because of the involvement of Canadian companies in mining in Tibet—and the railway to Lhasa. Following the arrival of the train in Tibet in 2006, large-scale mining of lithium, gold, copper, lead, crude oil, natural gas and other resources is under way to feed China’s voracious industrial sector. Tibetans have vigorously protested the defilement of their sacred mountains by Chinese mining operations. None of the mining operations benefit Tibetans. In fact, mining pollutes drinking water, kills the livestock, and degrades the grasslands on which Tibetan nomads depend. A disaster of Biblical proportions is unfolding in Tibet—so big you can see it happening on Google Earth—the mines, the pollution, and the environmental damage. The environmental impact may go far beyond Tibet’s borders because of rivers that run downstream to ten Asian nations–including India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos, Burma and Vietnam. Tibet’s abundant rivers supply large quantities of both water and power for mining operations. Chinese engineers are heavily damming Tibet’s mighty rivers to supply power for large-scale mining operations: the building of mega-dams will immediately affect the nations downstream. The documentary uses undercover footage and still photography shot on location in Tibet–including cellphone footage of an anti-mining protest smuggled out of Tibet. Although some photography of mine sites was shot within Tibet, it is extremely difficult to get to mining sites due to tight security in remote locations. For mining sites in Tibet, the film uses Google Earth flyovers to show what is happening on the ground, hidden from view. (Michael Buckley, 24 min, Canada)

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