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. Dalai Lama bemoans deforestation of Tibet

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Nov 21, 2007
The Dalai Lama called Wednesday for special care to preserve Tibet's ecosystem, saying that corruption among Chinese bureaucrats was worsening deforestation.

Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, who is on a visit to Japan, said that as the Tibetan plateau was high in altitude and dry, "once you damage the environment, it will take a long period to recover."

"Therefore, we need special care," the Dalai Lama said.

Because major rivers originating in Tibet feed into South Asia, "special care of the Tibetan ecology is not only the concerns for six million Tibetans, but also the concerns for millions of people," he said.

But some people from China "have no knowledge of ecology. They are only concerned about industries (with) no idea of ecological consequences," he said.

The Chinese government has begun to impose "some restrictions on deforestation in some parts of Tibet. However, unfortunately now in China, sometimes restrictions can be easily ignored through pocket money, corruption," he said.

"Some Chinese businessmen still can carry out deforestation and also they exploit natural resources with poor care for the ecology," he said.

The comments came as China's state Xinhua news agency said climate change was causing more weather-related disasters than ever in Tibet.

China's director of the Tibet Regional Meteorological Bureau, Song Shanyun, was quoted as saying "natural disasters, like droughts, landslides, snowstorms and fires are more frequent and calamitous now" in Tibet and "the tolls are more severe and losses are bigger."

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