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Dharamshala — Emerging sources say local Tibetans were severely beaten by police in Awong village in Gojo County, Chamdo, Eastern Tibet after staging protest against Chinese mining plans.

In the village, there is a small mountain named Minee Mountain, considered sacred by locals, and the proposed mining site of the Chinese government. "A year ago villagers were able to halt the project after vehement protests," a Tibetan living in exile told Tibet Post International (TPI)citing sources in the region.

"On April 2nd, the local government told all the people of the village that there were plans to convert the natural geyser water near the mountain into hot spring baths," the sources told the TPI.

"Locals agreed to the plan, understanding that the project could attract many tourists and generate income," the sources also said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"However, the next day preparations were underway to build a road leading to the site, inducing more pretests from the locals," the sources said.

A delegation of ten villagers went to the local government, the local government leader, Norbu Dhondup, told them "all of you shut your mouths. If you need money, we are giving you money."

"The delegation refused the money and potential project to generate local income, instead only insisting that the mountain remain untouched."

Police promptly arrived and arrested all ten members of the delegation. Local villagers continued to protest, causing an altercation between locals and armed forces.

Many locals were injured in the struggle, many of which refused treatment from the government hospital, instead going to private hospitals.

Additionally, several business people from Gojo who now are living in Lhasa, were arrested after making an appeal to a local commissioner from Chamdo stationed in Lhasa to stop the construction. Sources say "even threatening to seek higher authority of the central government if the local government continues to ignore the feelings and protests of local villagers."

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