"Standoff at Tibet Gold Mine"
24 May 2009
Hong Kong—Hundreds of villagers in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of western China are facing off against armed security forces at the site of a planned gold mine on what the Tibetans consider a sacred mountain, witnesses say.
"The Tibetan protesters are worried," said one local man, who said he was one of eight organizers of the protest.
"The police, the soldiers, and the miners are threatening to move ahead with the mine...They have said they will force their way through and go to the site."
Tibetans have historically worshiped the site, conducting rituals there in the event of drought, residents say. Now a Chinese mining and lumbering firm, Zhongkai Co., has been authorized to excavate the area, and locals are protesting.
Another Tibetan man said hundreds of protesters had gathered peacefully at Ser Ngol Lo ["Year of Gold and Silver" in Tibetan] in the Tsangshul subdistrict of Lhara village, Markham county, Chamdo prefecture.
"Now there are so many soldiers too. I would say more than 300 of them," he said.