Tibetan-Canadians Outraged Over Sale of Oil Giant to China, Call On Harper To Do The Right Thing

by December 7, 2012

The Canadian government has approved a controversial deal to sell the Canadian oil giant Nexen to a Chinese state-owned company complicit in human rights abuses in Tibet. Nexen is actively exploiting in the Tar Sands near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Students for a Free Tibet Canada is asking people to call 613-992-4211 and tell Harper: Tibetan lives are more important than trade dollars. Canada must lead a coordinated international response to help end the Tibet crisis.

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For Immediate Release

December 7, 2012


Toronto – Tibetan-Canadians and Tibet supporters are appalled that the Harper government has approved the controversial sale of Canadian oil giant Nexen to China’s state-owned China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), sneaking the deal through the door at 5:30 on a Friday evening. CNOOC heavily funds forcible removal of Tibetan nomads from their lands, one of the most destructive policies of the Chinese government in Tibet.

“In approving this deal, Prime Minister Harper has sold out the Tibetan people – including the 7,000 of us who call Canada home – and betrayed Canada’s reputation as a country that upholds universal human rights,” said Urgyen Badheytsang, National Director of Students for a Free Tibet Canada. “Canada has aligned itself with a Chinese state-owned company that is aiding Beijing’s human rights violations and brutal policies in Tibet, at a time when more than 90 Tibetans have given up their lives in protest of China’s rule.”

For the last three months, Tibetans and their Canadian supporters have petitioned Ottawa and held weekly rallies to protest the possible sale of Nexen to CNOOC, arguing that the deal threatens not only Canada’s long term national interest but also the rights and freedom of the Tibetan people. Inside Tibet, self-immolation protests spiked sharply during last month’s Chinese leadership handover.

“Tibetan lives are more important than China’s trade dollars,” said Tsering Dolma, Toronto Coordinator of Students for a Free Tibet Canada. “At this time of crisis for Tibet, Prime Minister Harper must step up to coordinate strong, international diplomatic action that seeks to address the urgent rights abuses taking place in Tibet right now.”

Chinese state-owned China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) is heavily funding the Chinese government’s policy of forcing Tibetan nomadic communities of their ancestral lands and into reservation-style camps. Nomad resettlement is one of the many failed policies that has led to the devastating wave of self-immolation protests in Tibet. In November alone, 28 Tibetans set fire to themselves to call for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama; many of them were Tibetan nomads.

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Contact: Urgyen Badheytsang, 647-637-1810 Tsering Dolma, 416-829-5809