By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, Oct 15: Gabriel Lafitte, an Australian Researcher and Environmentalist held a special briefing on the new challenges faced by Tibetans inside Tibet and its impact on collective rights of the Tibetan People at Hotel Norbu House in Mcleod Ganj yesterday.
At the event organized by the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights & Democracy (TCHRD), Gabriel Lafitte highlighted the grave danger posed by China’s proposed 13th five-year plan of constructing 181 Dams by 2030 on the Tibetans and the people inhabiting the lower stream of the Tibetan rivers.
The environmentalist described the Chinese dam construction plan as overpowering Tibet to benefit Chinese industries.
“The ultra high voltage electricity generated by these dams will cater to the needs of the major Chinese industrial cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou some 2000kms from Tibet,” he said.
“By planning to dam virtually every river in Eastern Tibet, China plans to turn Tibet into a showroom of electricity by exporting it to third world countries,” the scholar added.
“Worst still, earlier this year, China announced their plan to build water reservoir to impound water by diverting Drichu and Machu in Kham Kardze and Amdo Ngaba. This will become world’s highest water reservoir measuring 318 meters in height. Although they claimed it is necessary to generate electricity all through the year, this actually provides free electricity to the state owned coal industries which require lots of water. China’s coal consumption is greater than the rest of the world put together,” the Tibet scholar revealed.
“The grave exploitation on Tibet’s ecology caused by China’s forced settlement of Nomads and dam construction on Tibetan rivers are serious violation of human rights. The so-called development of Tibet that China boasts is development with ‘Chinese Characteristics’ forced on the Tibetan people,” the environmentalist said and added, “given a choice, Tibetans can develop based on their necessity and desire, like the Tibetan diaspora in exile across the globe.”
Gabriel Lafitte, a dedicated and vocal environmental activist on Tibet has worked tirelessly for the past 39 years doing research work and highlighting the plight of Tibetan ecology.
His book titled ‘Spoiling Tibet: China and Resource Nationalism at the Roof of the World’ released in 2013, narrates in detail how Tibet is currently on the verge of rapid industrialization as copper, gold, silver and other minerals which are abundant in Tibet are being mined in large quantities for the first time.