Tibet Insight No: 07/14





China Drills 7 km borehole in Tibet in Oil and Gas Hunt

South China Morning Post, April 07, 2014

‘China Resources’ reported on April 7, that Chinese exploration teams have drilled a seven-kilometre borehole- the deepest ever in the world at such altitudes - into the Tibetan Plateau in their bid to tap the region's oil and natural gas resources. Professor Li Haibing, a researcher with the Institute of Geology of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, did not reveal the project’s location and declined to identify which state-owned oil companies were active in the region. The project is secret.

Li Haibing also disclosed that the central government was reviewing a proposal for a new “deep-earth” exploration project “submitted by the nation's most prominent geologists” to drill wells more than 10 kilometres deep to obtain study samples, with Tibet an area of the greatest interest.

Last August, the China Geological Survey, under the Ministry of Land and Resources, signed a 20 million yuan (HK$25.1 million) exploration agreement with Sinopec after the Tibet region showed “enormous oil and natural gas potential”, according to the ministry's website.


Minor quake triggers landslide in Tibet

China Tibet Online, April 14, 2014

A trunk road linking Tibet with neighboring Sichuan province was blocked by a landslide on April 13, after a minor earth termor hit Nyingchi Prefecture in Tibet. The earthquake measuring 3.1 on the Richter scale hit Nyingchi prefecture in TAR at midnight, according to the China Earthquake Networks Centre.

[Comments: Environmentalists witnessed frequent earthquakes in Tibet. An increase in the number and severity of earthquakes on the Tibetan plateau raise fresh concerns about China’s massive dam building plans in the region.]


Tunnel of Qinghai-Tibet railway to be completed

China Tibet Online, April 14, 2014

After seven years of work, the new Kagyur Tunnel of the Qinghai-Tibet railway has entered the final stage, and is estimated to be fully completed on April 15, 2014. The new Kagyur Tunnel is located in Themdzong County between Xining and Golmud of Qinghai Province. With a total length of 32.645 kilometers, the average elevation of the tunnel is above 3,600 meters and geological conditions are extremely complex.

Once open, the tunnel will save two hours in journey time for trains to cross the Kagyur Mountain and the transportation capacity of the Qinghai-Tibet railway will be greatly improved.


China to invest 7 billion yuan to improve livelihood in Tibet

China Tibet Online, April 15, 2014

China has planned to invest 7 billion yuan this year into the Tibetan people’s livelihood. Lobsang Gyaltsen, Chairman of the local government of TAR, said that the investment will cover the areas of employment, income, “areas of stabilizing price, social insurance, health care, cultural project, poverty relief, preventing and reducing natural disasters.”



Nepal‚ China mull over opening Rasuwagadi trade route this year

Himalayan Times, March 31, 2014

Nepal and China are mulling over opening the Rasuwagadi route for international trade in 2014 so as to provide an alternative road link for imports and exports of goods between the two countries. Currently, Tatopani in Sindhupa chowk district is the only land route for international trade between the two neighbouring countries. “If things go according to plan, an alternative route from Rasuwagadi would be opened as early as October,” a senior official at Nepal’s Ministry of Commerce and Supplies told The Himalayan Times on condition of anonymity.

Peng Wei, Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, confirmed to the Nepalese newspaper that “Plans are afoot to bring the Rasuwagadi route into operation in 2014, and both the governments have agreed to it.” The route is part of the plan of Nepal and China to establish three ports for international trade at Tatopani, Rasuwagadi and Yari. An additional three routes, including those at Kimathanka and Lizi, will be used for bilateral trade, especially frontier trade.


UN urges Nepal to register Tibetan refugees

Tibetan Review, April 12, 2014

Reviewing the country’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the UN Human Rights Committee on April 10 urged Nepal to register long staying Tibetans and to ensure that all Tibetans who may have a valid refugee claim are guaranteed access to Nepali territory.

The committee has commended Nepal for hosting a large number of refugees and asylum seekers in its territory but expressed concern “at the restrictions imposed on Tibetan refugee rights should the State party deem any activity to undermine the friendly relationship with its neighbour.” It added that the existing lack of legal protection rendered them vulnerable to refoulement to China.


Tibetan man sets himself on fire in Tawu

Dossier Tibet, April 15, 2014

A Tibetan man set himself on fire in Tawu county in the Kham region of eastern Tibet to protest against Chinese oppression on April 15. 32-yearold Trinley Namgyal, self-immolated in protest against the Chinese government's continuing repressive policies in Tibetan regions. Namgyal set himself ablaze around 12.06pm (local time) near the Chinese government building in Khangsar Township in Tawu County. Soon after the incident, the man's body was taken by locals to the Gongthal Monastery and his condition remains unknown.


TAR People’s Congress Chairman visits Shigatse

Voice of Tibet, April 15, 2014

10th TAR People’s Congress Chairman Padma Choling paid a two day visit to Shigatse prefecture as part of the second batch of the Party’s mass line campaign. He stressed the need to adhere and follow the mass-line campaign of the 18th Party Congress of CCP through educational practice and unity. He listened to the work reports of the concerned authorities and urged the people of the district to study and implement the spirit of General Secretary Xi Jinping and TAR Party Secretary Chen Quanguo’s series of speeches and instructions.  He stressed the importance of unity of thought and adherence to the practice of always learning through party members and cadres.

Meanwhile, TAR People’s Government Chairman Lobsang Gyaltsen visited Lhoka Prefecture (Ch: Shannan) as part of the same propaganda campaign on April 14.


No Accord on Consulate in Lhasa

The Hindu, April15, 2014

Indian media reports state that despite talks during the sixth round of their strategic dialogue, China and India did not reach agreement amid persisting Chinese reservations on India opening a consulate in Lhasa, Tibet. India is reportedly increasingly inclined to acquiesce to China’s reservations by putting on hold its request for Lhasa and considering establishing a presence either in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan provincebordering Tibet, or in Kunming in Yunnan province.

China has clarified that it will not allow any additional foreign diplomatic presence in Tibet, where only Nepal has a diplomatic presence.


China opposes Britain's slander towards issue about Tibet

China Tibet Online, April 16, 2014

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying reacted on April 15, to a recent human rights report released by UK and castigating China's human rights record. Hua Chunying said "China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this”. “We urge Britain to stop the wrong practice of taking human rights issues as a pretext for interfering in China's internal affairs and judicial sovereignty to create conditions for the next round of human rights dialogue," She also confirmed that China had cancelled a human rights dialogue with Britain.


Chinese order school for young monks shuttered

Dossier Tibet, April 16, 2014

Chinese authorities in Qinghai province have closed a private school for young monks and implemented other restrictive policies, while sacking officials of a local monastery who have been accused of separatist activities. Authorities in Pema County in the Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on April 10 forcibly closed the “School for Love and Altruism,” provoking concern from its affiliated monastery and parents about the quality of education the young monks would receive at their newly-enrolled “mainstream” schools. In addition to closing the school, sources reported that authorities in Dunda had cracked down on a grassroots Tibetan unity campaign. Earlier in January, the Chinese police had targeted Tibetans participating in a similar ‘unity’ campaign, detaining hundreds found wearing special ‘unity’ armbands or carrying photos of a senior religious figure backed by the Dalai Lama.




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