Tibetans Protest China’s Nexen Bid Over Human Rights Concerns in Tibet

Slogans including "Harper: Don't sell nexen to China. Stand up for Tibet!". Photo: TPI

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Toronto — Tibetan-Canadians and Tibet supporters across Canada protested the pending sale of Canadian oil giant Nexen to China's state-owned corporation, China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC), on Wednesday, October 31.

Industry Canada is expected to make a decision on the $15.1 billion bid next week as pressure escalates on Prime Minister Harper to oppose the takeover because of national interest and human rights concerns.

In Toronto, a protest took place between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm in front of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, on Yonge Street, demonstrating the Tibetan community's opposition to the deal.

"This deal is bad for Canada, and it is bad for Tibet," said National Director of Students for a Free Tibet Canada, Urgyen Badheytsang.

"The Chinese government has a horrific track record of violating trade agreements, state-sponsored espionage, and human rights abuses.

"CNOOC itself is complicit in human rights abuses in Tibet, funding China's efforts to force millions of Tibetan nomads off their land to make way for mining and oil extraction. This policy is driving Tibetans to self-immolate in protest, with 50 self-immolations in the past year alone. The Canadian government must not sell off our national resources to a company that destroys Tibetan lives."

Protests are also planned over the next week in Calgary and Victoria.

Students for a Free Tibet Canada, the country's largest pro-Tibet youth organization, is encouraging its members to write directly to Prime Minister Harper, while urging their MPs to raise CNOOC's Tibet connection in the House of Commons, calling on the Harper government to publicly address the growing human rights crisis in Tibet where at least 62 Tibetans have self-immolated in a wave of protest against Chinese rule in their country.