Thursday, April 4, 2013

Tibet landslide in Lhasa gold mine area traps 83

Pat Macpherson, Irma Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly; Didi Tang (AP via Huff Po, 3-29-13)
Tibet's Potala Palace, Lhasa, a Buddhist "Vatican" before Chinese invasion (
BEIJING, China - No signs of life have been detected at a gold mining site in a mountainous area of [semi-autonomous] Tibet more than 24 hours after a massive landslide buried 83 workers, Chinese state media said Saturday.

The state-run China Central Television said more than 2,000 rescuers have been dispatched to Lhasa's Maizhokunggar county to search for the buried.
Earthmovers remove rocks and mud on the scene. The landslide hit a mining area in Lhasa, southwest of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, on Friday, March 29, 2013 (AP/Xinhua, Chogo)

About 2.6 million cubic yards (2 million cubic meters) of mud, rock, and debris swept through the area as the workers were resting and covered an area measuring around 1.5 square miles (4 sq kms), CCTV said.

The miners worked for a subsidiary of the China National Gold Group Corp., a state-owned enterprise and the country's largest gold producer. A woman who answered the call at its Beijing headquarters Saturday said she could not provide any information.

The disaster is likely to inflame critics of [draconian] Chinese rule in Tibet who say Beijing's interests are driven by the region's mineral wealth and strategic position and come at the expense of the region's delicate ecosystem and Tibetans' Buddhist culture and traditional way of life.

Tibet-bound Chinese military (AFP/Getty Images)
The reports said at least two of the buried workers were Tibetan, while most of the workers were believed to be ethnic Han Chinese, a reflection of how such large projects often create an influx of the majority [Chinese] ethnic group into the region.
The more than 2,000 police, firefighters, soldiers, and medics deployed to the site, about 45 miles (70 kms) east of Lhasa [site of Potala Palace, seat of the rotating absolute secular/spiritual ruler known as the Dalai Lama or patriarchal Vajrayana Buddhist "pope"], the regional capital, conducted searches armed with devices to detect signs of life and accompanied by sniffer dogs, reports said. More

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