STUDENTS FOR A FREE TIBET TARGETS MORGAN STANLEY RAISES CONCERNS OVER CHINESE ALUMINUM COMPANY OPERATIONS IN TIBET
December 4, 2001
Contact: Lhadon Tethong or Alma David (212) 358-0071 New York City -
Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) today announced its opposition to the initial public offering (IPO) of Chalco, China's largest producer of aluminum. The IPO, being underwritten by Morgan Stanley, is scheduled to be priced today and to debut on the New York Stock Exchange on December 11. Chalco's primary aluminum smelting facility is located in Chinese occupied Tibet, near the city of Ziling (Chinese: Xining). Tibetans and supporters oppose American investment in Chalco because of the destructive impacts the smelting facility's operations could have on the Tibetan people and fragile ecosystem.
An environmental review of the plant, conducted by an independent Australian engineering organization for Chalco, found that Chinese government regulated emission levels at the plant had been exceeded. There have been reported cases nearby the Qinghai plant of sheep losing their teeth and starving to death after having been poisoned by fluoride contaminated grass. As a result of their deaths the local Tibetan herders are losing their livelihood.
"Chinese aluminum plants are poisoning my country and impoverishing my people," said Lhadon Tethong, Projects Coordinator for Students for a Free Tibet. "Morgan Stanley will be well advised to postpone the offering until they can prove that Tibetans are not being harmed by the company they are underwriting."
The "Go West Campaign" is the Chinese government's current attempt to aggressively court foreign investment in development projects in occupied Tibet. By locking foreign capital into resource extraction projects, the Chinese government hopes to solidify its grip on its restive western regions. Tibetans and supporters point out that development projects serve the Chinese government's aim to turn Tibet into a resource extraction colony and to lure Chinese settlers to Tibet, thereby diluting the indigenous Tibetan population.
"Chinese government development projects in Tibet harm rather than improve Tibetan lives. This fits right into China's tactics of forced abortions, arbitrary imprisonment, and population transfer - China's campaign of cultural genocide to wipe my people and their culture and identity right off the face of the earth." said Tethong. "Morgan Stanley, by brokering this offering, is complicit in the destruction of Tibet."
When PetroChina, a Chinese state-owned oil company announced its plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange last year, Students for a Free Tibet and a coalition of Tibetan, human rights, national security, environmental and labor organizations launched a widely publicized campaign against PetroChina. This caused the IPO to drop from the initially proposed $10 billion to $2.89 billion.
"Tibetans and supporters will oppose this offering," said Alma David, Grassroots Coordinator for Students for a Free Tibet. "We are already concerned with Morgan Stanley's role in facilitating Western investment in harmful projects in Tibet. We will make sure that they understand that the Tibet issue cannot be ignored and will not go away."