More than 100 Tibetans protested this week against coal mining in Qinghai province's Nangchen (in Chinese, Nangqian) county, citing environmental and health concerns, according to sources.
Carrying banners and shouting slogans, the villagers gathered on Tuesday and Wednesday at the mining site in Dompa township under the Yulshul (Yushu) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in order express their opposition to any resumption of activity.
They told Chinese officials at the protest site in Goshung Ruchen village that the mining activities contradicted directives from the country’s leaders pushing for the protection of the environment. Some of them unfurled banners with quotes of leaders stressing environmental protection.
"A spokesperson for the Tibetans argued and reasoned with the officials who arrived to listen to their grievances," a resident told RFA's Tibetan Service.
“The Tibetan protestors carried banners on which were statements by President Xi Jinping on the protection of environment and on the need to avoid haphazard exploitation of minerals," the resident said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Some of the protesters became emotional and wept in a state of desperation," he said. "The Chinese officials were concerned and promised to take up their concerns with the higher authorities and asked the crowd to disperse."
The Tibetans have been worried about the prospect of mining activities being stepped up in three sites—Gongshung Ruchen Menmar Norbuma, Droglung Okar, and Ahge Kyilung—since a group of mining officials suddenly arrived at villages in Nangchen on Monday, sources said.
"The local Tibetans were suspicious about their intentions. They later discovered that the officials came to the area with the objective of stepping up coal mining activities at the three sites," another Tibetan in the area said.
In June, Tashi Dhargye, the Tibetan head of Nangchen county, and some Chinese officials arrived at Dompa township to convince villagers that prefecture level authorities had given their backing to coal mining in the area.
"The Tibetan people were told not to put up resistance but extend their cooperation,” the Tibetan source said.
Indiscriminate dumping of waste