A grim, relentless exposé of the plundering of Tibet's natural resources by China.
A Canadian journalist who has found his way into the secret workings of an oppressed country via trekking, kayaking and documenting the issues, Buckley (co-author of Lonely Planet's first guidebook to Tibet in 1986) sounds the alarm on what he calls China's eco-cide of fragile, high-altitude Tibet. He notes all of the devastation that is taking place with impunity and in secret: deforestation (to the tune of 50 percent of Tibet's forests since China moved into the country in 1950; this has represented $50 billion for construction and manufacturing); damming of important rivers whose waters have sustained populations in the deltas of India, Nepal, Pakistan and others yet are now diverted to thirsty Chinese cities; tunnel boring through sacred mountains for mineral extraction via railroads and the conveying of a huge influx of Chinese Han settlers that beleaguer the scant 6 million Tibetan Buddhist natives; and the sad, silent disappearance of wildlife such as the Tibetan gazelle and black-necked crane. The Tibetan Plateau is called the "Third Pole" due to the significance of its glaciers, which are melting at an alarming rate thanks to climate change. Since 2006, China has the dubious distinction of being the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and other gases, largely due to coal. China has also engaged in a dam-building frenzy, harnessing hydropower not for the Tibetans, who are scarcely consulted, but for the needs of the billions of Chinese. Unlike in India, public protests are circumvented by authoritarian speed and secrecy; moreover, the Tibetan nomads are removed forcibly from their ancestral grasslands and rendered ecological migrants. Buckley's concluding tribute to idyllic Bhutan is eye-opening and provides a stark contrast to the bleak picture of Tibet.
A passionately committed environmental activist unearths China's criminal, ongoing policy of resource extraction.