One Tibetan was shot dead and six others arrested on Aug. 15 as Chinese security forces dispersed a crowd of some 1,000 Tibetans protesting against the re-opening of an environmentally destructive mine in Markham County of Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region. The protesters belonged to the county’s Choeten Town and the deceased has been described as a man named Nyima.
The protesters marched from Choten Town to the mining site to express their objection on environmental grounds, but they were met with teargas and live bullets fired by the Chinese police. Nyima, apparently the leader, was surrounded by the police and shot dead by them. Six others – named as Dawa, Atsong, Phuntsog Nyima, Jamyang Wangmo and Kelsang Yudron – were taken away.
Following the brutal repression, many Tibetans were reported to have run away and not returned to their homes.
The mining project, operated by a private Chinese mining company, began work earlier this year but stayed operation in the face of a determined protest by the Tibetans of Choeten, a township of some 11 villages and 3,000 residents.
Source: Tibetan Review.net, Aug19, 2012)
Oligarchy, force, and the repression of democracy, whether through overtly illiberal authoritarianism or through capitalist property structures, is as central to environmental destruction as participatory community empowerment is to environmental justice. People have ecological consciousness; they know it is in their interests and the interests of their communities to have a functioning, healthy ecosystem. But that consciousness is gone to waste as long as people far removed from their community, whether they be autocratic state bureaucrats or autocratic corporate bureaucrats, have the power to make decisions for the community, removed from their experiences, knowledge, and interests.