The Chinese government is seeking UNESCO World Heritage status for Kokoxili (Hoh Xil in Chinese) in Tibet. Kokoxili is a vast area, as big as Denmark and the Netherlands combined, of breathtaking lakes, stunning wetlands, and striking wildlife. China’s plan may sound noble, but it’s not! That’s why SFT, along with other Tibet groups, is urging the committee to vote against it, or at least defer the vote until they can make a fully informed decision.
- China has wrongly branded Kokoxili as “no man’s land,” insinuating that it is untouched land. However, in reality, Kokoxili is Tibetan nomad land, and has been for centuries – something China’s nomination completely ignores.
- Tibetan nomads have stewarded this area for over 9,000 years, and have built a deep understanding that is essential to sustaining the area’s wildlife, healthy ecosystems, and water resources that are relied upon across Asia.
- China claims to be the protector of wildlife, but evidence shows that under China’s control, the number of Tibetan antelopes plummeted by almost 94%, from roughly 1,000,000 to as few as 65,000.
Nomads have died in protecting the antelopes from Chinese poachers, who profit off the sale of its fur. In 2006, Chuan Lu, a film director and writer released a film called, Mountain Patrol: KekeXilie. Mountain Patrol is based on a true story of a Chinese journalist traveling to KokoXili to document Tibetans risking their lives to protest the antelopes and the wildlife.
Watch the film here: https://sfthq.cc/MountainPatrol
Through tourism, Tibet’s environment is quickly becoming a new form of economy for the Chinese government. Protecting biodiversity is important, but if China’s nomination is approved, it will enable China to intensify development and increase mass tourism. Furthermore, China would gain legitimacy for the policies that forcefully resettle Tibetan nomads, rendering the traditional Tibetan nomad lifestyle virtually extinct.
On July 1, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee will vote on Kokoxili as a natural heritage site. Help us raise the alarm by adding your signature to our petition. Tell UNESCO, “Your actions in the coming days will make a critical difference for the Tibetan traditional way of life and the protection of Tibet’s wildlife, which is sacred to the Tibetan people.”