06/12/2007, 00.00
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Hundreds of Tibetans riot against exploitation of sacred mountain

Tibetans living in Sichuan protest by the hundreds against the exploitation of Yala Mountain, one of their nine sacred mountains. Government reports unrest quelled but locals say eight people are missing.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hundreds of Tibetans protested in late May to stop the exploitation of Yala Mountain which they consider sacred, several local residents said on Monday.

Protesters in the town of Bamei, home to ethnic Tibetans in Sichuan province, protested against the government smashing cars outside the local branch of a mining company.

Yala Mountain—one of nine mountains considered sacred by Tibetans—is located in the Tagong grasslands and may contain important deposits of lead and zinc.

Eventually the unrest was quelled, government officials said.

A Tibetan is quoted as saying that several people were killed, but this could not be independently confirmed; however, eight Bamei elders have been missing since they tried to petition the Sichuan government in the provincial capital of Chengdu.

The lush grassland in which the mountain is located lies in a part of western Sichuan that Tibetans have historically considered the Kham region, part of a cultural Tibet that extends beyond the borders of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

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