Qinghai Lake Activists Confront Chinese, Tibetan Poachers

2016-02-12
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Tibetan environmental activists examine a net used by poachers in an undated photo.
Photo courtesy of an RFA listener

Tibetan environmental activists clashed twice this week with Han Chinese and Tibetans fishing illegally in a scenic lake in northwestern China’s Qinghai province, sustaining beatings in their attempts to stop the poaching, sources said.

On Feb. 12, a group of activist volunteers were attacked by poachers at a place called Chik Nga Chik after they had gone to check on reports of fishing in the lake, an area resident told RFA’s Tibetan Service on Friday.

The poachers, who wore head coverings to conceal their identity, were later identified as Tibetans, RFA’s source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It is really sad when some Tibetans try to protect rare fish in the lake, while others try to take those fish,” the source said.

“This puts Tibetan volunteers in a difficult situation, as they have now become the victims of both Chinese and Tibetan poachers,” he said.

Three days before, another group of volunteers was assaulted by Chinese fishermen at a place called Karla on Qinghai Lake, a member of the group told RFA, also speaking on condition he not be named.

“The Tibetan volunteers were severely beaten,” he said, adding, “When police arrived, the fishermen assaulted them, too.”

Three Tibetans were seriously injured in the attack, and two vehicles and a motorcycle belonging to the group were also damaged, the source said.

Incidents of illegal fishing have increased in recent years around Qinghai Lake, also called Kokonor, with local Tibetans stepping up monitoring activities in response, sources told RFA in earlier reports.

On June 26, 2015, Kawa Nyingchak—an environmental activist and writer of children’s books—drowned in Qinghai Lake while attempting to haul in nets used by Chinese poachers so he could hand them in to police.

Directives from China’s central government urging protection of Tibet’s vulnerable environment are often flouted at the local level by Han Chinese migrants to the area, experts say.

Reported by Kunsang Tenzin for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Richard Finney.

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