In the past five years, China has spent $1.35 billion to protect the environment of Tibet. This includes establishing nature reserves to protect wetlands and forests. By the end of 2010, Tibet had established 47 nature reserves that covered 413,700 square miles of the territory.
While China’s Cabinet, the State Council, outlined ecological guidelines for Tibet in 1998, and environmental protection guidelines in 2000, one must keep in mind that China has long been reluctant to recognize Tibet as a separate country apart from China. As long as China represses Tibet, one must consider any policies that China initiates as morally questionable, and instead, a ploy to keep Tibet under its control. This is best illuminated by the fact that one of the areas of extreme focus under China’s environmental policies for Tibet is the Qinghai-Tibet plateau (http://english.cntv.cn/20110519/108250.shtml). The plateau is home to glaciers that feed many of the rivers that flow through China and India, yet due to global warming the glaciers are melting. It is true that loss of the glaciers would mean certain environmental and economic catastrophe across the Eastern hemisphere, and of course China should be concerned about this, but why then does China believe that forcibly displacing the 2.5 million nomads who have lived and depended on the plateau for some 9,000 years, should be integral in enforcing their environmental policy? Not only is this a human rights issue, but China also wishes to develop the plateau by initializing non-regulated mining of minerals, as well as the building of hydro-electric dams which pose to choke the natural rise and fall of the rivers through Tibet. It is difficult to believe China has Tibet’s best interests at heart – it is a power struggle that has been going on for decades.
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