Lhasa: In a new directive that can only be called greenwashing, Chinese Communist Party has listed half Tibet Autonomous Region’s land area under the scope of an “ecological protection red line”, practically rendering half of the territory of Tibet Autonomous Region off-limit for Tibetan villagers.
“The ecological protection red lines cannot be crossed and are located in areas with critically important ecological functions that should be strictly protected” and the “villagers have been reminded not to cross the red line of environment protection from multiple channels”, noted China.org.cn.
“Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the region has spent over 12.7 billion yuan ($1.82 billion) on various types of ecological protection projects”, added the report. As Tibetan Review pointed out, these projects have included relocating hundreds of thousands of Tibetans from their ancestral villages and grazing lands, which meant an end to their traditional, ecologically sustainable, means of livelihood that had endured for many centuries until the advent of the current Chinese occupation rule.
China, which has unlawfully occupied Tibet since 1959, is involved in a number of activities - from damming its rivers to relocating Tibetan nomads - that are destructive of Tibet’s environment. What makes it more worrying is the fact that these are being carried out under the garb of environment preservation.
Since 2006, CCP has implemented large-scale programs to accelerate the relocation and sedentarization of the nomadic population, viewed by the authorities as ignorant, backward and irrational; whose ‘overgrazing’ caused significant damage to the Tibetan grassland ecosystem. They argue that careless overgrazing and unscientific land management by herders cause grassland degradation, erosion and gradual desertification, which is far from the truth. The traditional grazing practiced by Tibetan nomads is crucial for Tibetan range lands.
While the Chinese authorities claim that dams are green, and thus better for the environment than burning coal, China's dams, which it is building to divert water into its own territory, are targeted towards creating a “hydro hegemony” based on the control of the Tibetan plateau. There are a number of other instances that can be, and should be identified and called out as greenwashing.