Tibet's rivers are Asia's lifeline: SFT and CTWA to advocate for Tibet's climate at the UN

Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) and Central Tibetan Women’s Association (CTWA) stage a demonstration at Mcleodganj to raise awareness about Tibet’s rivers on November 14, 2017. Photo: TPI/Panchsheel Gaikwad

Fragile River System
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Dharamshala — Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) and the Central Tibetan Women’s Association (CTWA) staged a demonstration at McLeod Ganj to raise awareness about the deteriorating state of Tibet’s rivers.

This collaborative event was a call for action to save Tibet's rivers and to be heard at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Congress of Parties’ twenty-third session (UNFCCC COP 23), which is being held in Bonn, Germany from November 6 to 17, 2017.

The event featured a short skit and charts demonstrating the effects that the rapid industrialization of Tibet has brought on to the environment. The main aim of the skit was to spread awareness about China’s fast-paced exploitation of the Tibetan peninsula.

The skit featured a man wearing a mask of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping who held a bucket that said ‘Source of 10 major Asian Rivers’, showcasing the control that China expects to have over these rivers; three people representing the countries of Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh lay dead on the ground while a Chinese military official held onto a protester who represented Tibet.

SFT and CTWA painted this grim picture to showcase the tyranny of China and a glimpse of what the future might look like if China continues with its exploitation of Tibet.

One of the major concerns voiced by the protesters was to say a vehement no to the building of dams by China. The continuous building and exploitation of dams in the peninsula are having an adverse effect on Tibet’s natural resources.
SFT emphasizes that Tibet’s environment, especially its rivers, is a geostrategic concern for South and Southeast Asia. China’s hydro-damming and mineral extraction in Tibet threaten to destroy Tibet’s unique ecosystems, disrupting the lives of billions across Asia.

SFT and CTWA intend to come together and prepare a report on this topic and send it to all world leaders at the COP 23 summit.

“This is one of the initiatives that we have put up so that the world leaders will listen to us. We want to highlight the threat that the building of dams in Tibet imposes on the downstream countries. We want to give the issue of Tibet and its fragile ecosystem a voice at COP 23, and we want the UN to take urgent climate action for Tibet, which is the roof of the world,” Tenzin Tselha, National Director of Students for Free Tibet said.

Tibet was invaded by Communist China in 1949. Since that time, over 1.2 million out of only 6 million total Tibetans have been killed, over 6000 monasteries have been destroyed, and acts of murder, rape, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment have been inflicted on the Tibetans inside Tibet. Beijing continues to call this "peaceful liberation."