Spoiling Tibet

China and Resource Nationalism on the Roof of the World

Gabriel Lafitte


China's plans to expand exponentially its exploitation of Tibet's natural resources will have terrifying consequences for land and people. This book is an entirely unique, authoritative guide through the torrent of online posts, official propaganda and exile speculation.
The mineral-rich mountains of Tibet so far have been largely untouched by China’s growing economy. Nor has Beijing been able to settle Tibet with politically reliable peasant Chinese. That is all about to change as China’s 12th Five-Year Plan, from 2011 to 2015, calls for massive investment in copper, gold, silver, chromium and lithium mining in the region, with devastating environmental and social outcomes.

 Despite great interest in Tibet worldwide, Spoiling Tibet is the first book that investigates mining at the roof of the world. A unique, authoritative guide through the torrent of online posts, official propaganda and exile speculation.

Author Bio

Gabriel Lafitte has spent years living with Tibetans, in exile and in Tibet. Based in Australia, he researches the impacts of Chinese policies on the Tibetan Plateau, and regularly trains young Tibetan professional environmentalists and advocates. Decades of immersion in Tibetan culture, and a dozen journeys around China, have given him an insider/outsider perspective on two great civilizations in conflict. He is an experienced public policy adviser with expertise in development, biodiversity and resource management policy. He has authored numerous reports, submissions and a 2006 book on the Dalai Lama's teachings Happiness in a Material World.

Table of Contents

  • A note on the geography of Tibet
  • Maps of Tibet and China
  • Introduction
  • 1. Tibet in its own right
  • 2. Gold rush in Tibet
  • 3. Reach of the revolutionary state
  • 4. Chromite globalization
  • 5. Capitalizing on Tibet: privatizing the treasure house
  • 6. Intensive exploitation
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Further reading on Tibet
  • Index


'This is not just a simple book on minerals and mines in Tibet. It is the first serious study of the subject. It is also a book that tackles the issue of Tibet's sacred mountains, which are at present being badly damaged by the development of mines. At a time when Tibetans are fighting to save their physical environment as well as their religious landscape from destruction, an informative book such as this is most welcome. Written in a comprehensive and lively style, it sheds light on Chinese policies regarding Tibet's minerals resources. It is a must read for anyone interested in Tibet and in the fragility of the environment.'
Katia Buffetrille, École Pratique des Hautes Études, co-editor of Authenticating Tibet: Answers to 100 China Questions and editor of Revisiting Rituals in a Changing Tibetan World

'Spoiling Tibet contains a fascinating wealth of information about mining in contemporary Tibet. Bringing reflections on the relationship between landscape and enlightenment together with analyses of capital flight, primitive accumulation, and the dynamics of Chinese state capitalism in an era of globalization, the book is packed full of often counter-intuitive insights. Lafitte highlights the voices of Tibetans who are excluded from decision-making and object to environmentally destructive mining, while also arguing that to date, China has not exploited Tibetan minerals as much as commonly presumed.'
Emily T. Yeh, University of Colorado at Boulder

 'Gabriel Lafitte is one of the few analysts wtih a profound knowledge of the extent and impacts of mineral exploitaiton in Tibet. This book is a vital reference point for anyone inerested in the future of Tibet.'
 Isabel Hilton, chinadialogue.net


Publication Date: 12 September 2013
216 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781780324357
Hardback: 9781780324364
eBook ePub: 9781780324388
eBook PDF: 9781780324371
eBook Kindle: 9781780324395

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