[ Water scarcity is causing unrest and could led to war in Asia and the Middle East.
Alice Friedemann www.energyskeptic.com author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity]
House 113-127. January 16, 2014. Water as a geopolitical threat. U.S. House of Representatives, 87 pages.
DANA ROHRABACHER, CALIFORNIA. We examine the topic of water as a strategic resource and its potential use as a threat.
Those of us who have lived around water our whole lives may be unaware of how water may be manipulated maliciously for both material gain and for political coercion. Although in our country’s history, I think it is very clear that there were water wars and people in conflict or people in great accomplishments of people working together, that our country’s history is filled with focusing on the issue of water.
Our witnesses today made clear such conduct is routine when it comes to countries like Communist China that routine conduct is manipulation of water for power’s sake. As our witness today, Gordon Chang will explain, China’s illegal occupation of Tibet puts it in control of the roof of the world and thus, the headwaters that service half the world’s population. We could be confident that resulting water disputes would be handled responsibly and reasonably, perhaps solved in international forums or in agreements like many other countries do, if that is we could be confident in that if China were a country that wasn’t the world’s worst human rights (1) abuser that has had no political reform whatsoever in these last 20 years when we have seen such incredible reform in other and former communist countries. Our Congressional Research Service testimony makes clear that most of these matters in terms of water are resolved through negotiations and peaceably and I might say remarkably these issues are solved by people acting responsibly and providing leadership and reaching out to people and to find solutions. Some of the 300 agreements over the last 70 years have unfolded in that way. Today, a warning alarm is sounding about China’s control of such water resources because we have seen that China, even in the last few months, is not so reasonable when it is making its territorial claims. China isn’t the only flash point for the water issue, however, and water controversies are nothing new.
Water is a volatile issue in the Middle East today, for example, but if you read the history, water played a very significant role in creating the environment that led to the Six Day War back in 1967. Basically, that conflict began when the Syrian Government decided to dam up waters that were flowing into Israel followed by an Israeli air attack which destroyed those dams. Then Egypt and other Arab neighbors were called into the conflict and it almost led to a superpower confrontation which would have been a disaster for the whole planet. And that all began with what, a water controversy over how much water was going to be flowing into Israel and the attempt by Syria to dam up that water. Today, there are heartening signs, however,
The situation involving the basin countries in the Nile River, for example, deserves watching and we need to look at this very closely because the Nile, of course, flows through ten different countries and Egypt is one of the final ones and basically Egypt views the Nile as its primary national security and economic lifeline. So with so many countries upstream, that is an area we have got to look and try to work with these powers to make sure that there are again efforts made for cooperation, rather than confrontation. This subcommittee held a hearing in July of last year on the dam controversy between Tajikistan and Uzebekistan and that was a controversy that is now at the high level international conference of water cooperation which opened up in August. The Uzbeks are arguing that the proposed Rogun Dam in Tajikistan would cost them some $600 million a year. Since this issue has not been resolved, we will continue to monitor it closely.
I have studied the history of water between California and the other border states and Mexico. And I think we have played pretty hardball with the Mexicans on this. And I think there have been very legitimate complaints on the part of Mexico in the past that the United States was not operating with them with the same type of sincerity and the same type of respect that we should have been doing to a country that is our neighbor that we wanted to maintain a peaceful relationship with.
According to the State Department, nearly 800 million people around the world do not have access to clean water. More than 1.5 billion still lack access to improved sanitation facilities. Each year, more than 4 billion cases of diarrhea caused 2.2 million deaths. Most are in children under the age of 5. In addition to the lives lost, the total economic losses associated with inadequate clean water supply and sanitation is estimated at more than $250 billion annually. The scarcity of clean water and sanitation disproportionately affects women and children. In many countries, women and young girls bear responsibility for meeting the water needs of the entire family. Collecting water can consume up to 5 hours a day, time that could be spent in school or improving their families’ livelihoods.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. What we are seeing in Syria today, the experts tell us, is in no small measure a result of sustained drought that drove almost 1 million farmers to migrate to urban areas, hungry, jobless, and was a flash point for that initial protest against the regime as Assad had no interest or ability to deal with it.
Over the next 20 years, we are going to see more urban instability due to population increase, disease, poverty, and social unrest. We have been working with the United States and international partners making some progress, but we risk reversing that progress that we have made due to the explosive population growth that is going to occur in sprawling urban slums which is difficult and expensive to provide sanitation, quickly leading to pollution and disease.
JEREMY M. SHARP, SPECIALIST IN MIDDLE EASTERN AFFAIRS, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENSE, AND TRADE DIVISION, CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
I will provide an overview of the so-called Red-Dead Canal and its potential implications for U.S. policy. To the surprise of many outside observers, just over a month ago, the World Bank Headquarters here in Washington, Israeli, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon, and the Palestinian Authority signed a tri-lateral Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU. This MOU outlines a series of water-sharing agreements which includes the initial phase construction of what has been informally referred to as the Red-Dead Canal. The Red-Dead Canal is a decades-old plan to provide fresh water to water-scarce countries in the surrounding area while simultaneously restoring the Dead Sea, which has been shrinking at an alarming rate. The original Red-Dead concept was to pump water from the Red Sea and desalinate it for use by the participating countries. The leftover brine would then be gradually channeled to the Dead Sea, helping restore the sea’s receding water levels. Regional environmentalists have long criticized plans to restore the Dead Sea using Red Sea water. They warn that the transfusion of water from the Red Sea into the Dead Sea could have serious ecological consequences that would negatively impact both Dead Sea tourism and industry. In 2005, the World Bank sponsored what became an 8-year-long feasibility study of the Red-Dead Canal concept. Almost a year ago to the day, various media outlets reported that construction firms involved in the feasibility study had declared that the project was technically feasible, although it would come with a steep price tag, costing at least $10 billion and take years to construct. The Kingdom of Jordan has vigorously pursued the Red-Dead Canal concept. Jordan is one of the most water-deprived countries in the world and is constantly searching for new water resources. The civil war in neighboring Syria is exacerbating Jordan’s water crisis as over 1/2 million Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan increasing the population by 9 percent within just 2 years. In August 2013, the Jordanian Government announced its intent to construct a scaled-down version of the canal entirely on Jordanian territory. In terms of scale and cost what the Jordanians have announced and agreed on with Israel and the Palestinian Authority is far less ambitious than the initial Red-Dead concept. Estimates suggest that construction of the desalinization plan and pipeline under the new MOU may cost between $450 million to $1 billion. However, it is unclear who will pay for the new project.
For Jordan, the MOU could be considered a major diplomatic achievement. Though the current plan is a scaled-down version of the original concept, the Kingdom will receive additional fresh water resources at a time of heightened scarcity, owing to the Syrian civil war. Nevertheless, as the title of this hearing suggests, security and political challenges remain. Arab cooperative infrastructure projects with Israel could be possible targets for extremist violence as has been the case in Egypt, where gas pipelines traversing the Sinai peninsula to Israel and Jordan have been repeatedly sabotaged by terrorists.
Regional environmentalists have long criticized plans to restore the Dead Sea using Red Sea water. They warn that the transfusion of water from the Red Sea into the Dead Sea could have serious ecological consequences, including large scale growth or algae and formation or gypsum that would negatively impact both Dead Sea tourism and industry. Some of these environmentalists propose instead that countries should stop diverting water from the Jordan River, which feeds into the Dead Sea.
There are also risks associated with doing nothing, such as potential instability in a water-deprived Jordan. If living conditions in Jordan deteriorated further, one could argue that tile stability of a dependable Arab partner for tile United States and a reliable peace partner for Israel would be jeopardized. Over the past few years. rural southern Jordan has witnessed repeated protests coming from within tribal communities that serve as the bedrock of the monarchy. These areas require economic development if they are to remain stable.
MAURA MOYNIHAN, AUTHOR & ACTIVIST
Below is the text from her slides: CLIMATE CHANGE IN TIBET ASIA’S RIVERS AT RISK Maura Moynihan
The Tibetan Plateau is a unique geomorphic entity, its 46,000 glaciers comprise the Earth’s third largest ice mass. This “Third Pole” is a vital component of the planet’s ecosystem, filled with minerals, timber and above all, water; Tibet is the fount of the Yangtze, Yellow, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Chenab, Sutlej, Salween and Mekong, which flow through 11 nations, nourishing three billion people from Peshawar to Beijing. The preservation and management of Tibet’s glaciers and the rivers they sustain is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Tibet’s waters flow through eleven countries, where population growth and industrial development is projected to double within 50 years. The combined effects of rapid development, desertification and water scarcity has already created extreme cycles of droughts and floods, food shortages and pandemics.
SHRINKING GLACIERS, DEPLETED AQUIFERS
- In 2009 the United Nations Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change reported that the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, the source of fresh water for a fifth of the world’s population, are receding at an alarming rate. Temperatures in Tibetan are rising 7 times as faster than in China. Scientists predict that most Tibetan glaciers could vanish by 2035 if present levels of carbon gas emissions are not reduced. Carbon emissions must be cut by 80% by 2030 to preserve the glaciers, of Tibet, the source of water for, China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
- Asia is now facing a shrinkage of river-based irrigation water supplies, which will disrupts grain and rice harvests. Overpumping is swiftly depleting underground water resources in India and China. Water tables are rapidly falling in the North China Plain, East Asia’s principal grain producing region. In India, wells are going dry in almost every state.
- The United States international climate negotiator Todd Stern stated “the science is clear, and the threat is real. The facts on the ground are outstripping the worst case scenarios. The costs of inaction-or inadequate actions-are unacceptable.”
Industrial Development in an Age of Scarcity
70% of the world’s irrigated farmland is in Asia. China and India, the world’s most populous nations and largest grain producers, have millions of new irrigation projects that are rapidly depleting aquifers. Satellite images released in August 2009 by the National Aerospace and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States show massive depletion of groundwater storage in Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana during the 2002-2008. Indian government data shows that major reservoirs have shrunk by 70% since 2000. Deglaciation on the Tibetan Plateau, combined with depletion of underground water resources, could create “permanent famine conditions”, as described by the environmental scientist Lester Brown in his 1995 Worldwatch Institute report “Who Will Feed China?” China’s growth has pushed rivers system to a dangerous tipping point. Two thirds of all cites in China are short of water, agricultural runoff from chemical fertilizers, industrial effluent and urban waste have poisoned reservoirs. China’s Environmental Protection Administration reports that that environmental protests are rising by 50% a year. Since 1949, two-thirds of the Yangtze Valley lakes have disappeared, today the total surface area of lakes in the middle and lower Yangtze Valley has shrunk from 18,000 square kilometers to 7,000 in 50 years.
Today, all but one Asia’s major rivers – the Ganges – are controlled at their sources by the Chinese Communist Party
- In a mere quarter century the People’s Republic of China has risen from poverty and isolation into the 21st century’s emergent superpower. China’s rise as an industrial and military super power has dramatically altered the global balance of power in the quest for what remains of the planet’s resources. The Chinese government dismisses concerns of its own scientists and those of neighboring states, alarmed by a sudden decline in water levels and fish stocks, caused by hydro dams. China has increased militarization of the Tibetan Plateau and strictly controls journalists, scientists and international observers who seek to research conditions in Tibet.
- Few international agreements exist for sharing data and coordinating usage of these rivers. As developing nations manage water supplies as economic commodities in an age of scarcity, water rights and laws must be reappraised in the context of the climate crisis. The effects of receding glaciers and rivers choked by hydro dams will be felt well beyond the borders of the Tibetan Plateau, with profound impacts over a wide area in Asia and great risks of increased poverty, reduced trade and economic turmoil. In the 1990’s China refused to sign the UN treaty on transboundary rivers.
- Since Chairman Mao invaded Tibet in 1951, China has administered a huge military infrastructure across the Tibetan Plateau, which gives China a continuous border with Thailand, Burma, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, and is now filled with military airfields and PLA battalions. In the coming age of “water wars”, China has a firm hand on the water tower of Asia.
THE THREE PHASES of the CHINESE COMMUNIST OCCUPATION of TIBET
PHASE 1: 1950’s – 1960’s: MILITARY INVASION
From 1951-56, Khampa Warriors fight back against Chinese aggression. THE PLA sends reinforcements, thousands of survivors from Kham and Amdo are driven into Utsang. In 1957 HHDL and Panchen Rinpoche go to Varanasi for Buddha Jayanti: HHDL asks Nehru for refuge to expose Chinese atrocities in Tibet. Cho EnLai tells Nehru to send HHDL back to Tibet. Two years later, the Chushi Gandruk delivers HHDL to Indian custody. Nehru’s Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai policy, which gave China control of Tibet, becomes one of the great blunders of the 20th century. 1959; HHDL escapes to India. PLA troops slaughter Tibetan civilians and commence looting and razing of over 6,000 monasteries. The PLA advances to the borders of India, Bhutan, Sikkim, Nepal and Ladhak.
- In 1962 China invades India from the Tibetan Plateau and occupies large swaths of Indian territory, India is defeated, China commences its military consolidation the plateau, unhindered.
- 1963: Tibet is sealed behind the Bamboo Curtain and caught in the catastrophe of the Great Leap Forward, wherein 60-80 million people die under Mao’s adoption of the Soviet model of collectivized farming. 1.2 Tibetans, likely more, are killed through armed conflict and famine. NO news of conditions inside China Tibet reaches international governments or media. US launches the Vietnam War to contain Chinese expansionism, while millions in China are starving to death.
- Chinese Military Engineers build roads across and install military bases and armed encampments across the Tibetan Plateau. Millions of acres of virgin forest is clear-cut and shipped to the mainland
CHINA IN TIBET: Phase 2: 1970-1980’s: The DEATH of MAO and the rise of DENG
- ORPHANS OF THE COLD WAR: The Tibetan people are imprisoned behind the Bamboo Curtain throughout the Cultural Revolution, which is extremely vicious in Tibet.
- 1976 Mao Zedong dies. 1981 Deng Xiaoping comes to power. Deng launches the policy of “Reform and Opening Up”. China builds the Friendship Highway linking Lhasa and Kathmandu.
- 1980; Yu Habong visits Tibet and writes his famous White Paper condemning China’s treatment of the Tibetan people. The Deng regime relaxes restrictions on Tibetan religion and culture. In 1981, China issues the first tourist visas to Tibet for western travelers.
- MILITARY ROADS built by the PLA across Tibet in Phase 1 of the occupation, allow massive population transfer of Han Chinese onto the Tibetan Plateau.
- The roads also facilitate a 2nd exodus of refugees to escape from Tibet: since the 1980’s over 20,000 people have escaped from Tibet.
- 1987: Anti-Chinese demonstrations break out in Lhasa. For the first time since the Chinese invasion, tourists capture images of extreme military repression.
- These images reach the international press; China’s Tibet is at last EXPOSED – and CHINA DECLARES MARTIAL LAW
CHINA IN TIBET: Phase 3: 1990’s 2000’s MINES, DAMS and WAR GAMES
- 1988-1989; MORE demonstrations in Lhasa are captured by tourist cameras. China starts restricting western tourists by periodically banning western tourists.
- 1989: The Berlin Wall goes down, but the Tiananmen Square Massacre follows: The death of Hu Yabong summons millions of Chinese mourners into the streets of Beijing. Gorbachev arrives in Beijing, students from Beijing University launch a hunger strike in support of democratic reforms in China’s government. After a month-long stand-off, Deng orders PLA troops into the square to crush the protestors. Thousands of unarmed Chinese citizens are slaughtered.
- In response to the Tiananmen Square Massacre, HH Dalai Lama is awarded the 1989 Noble Peace Prize. The true history of the China’s rape and pillage of Tibet is exposed. BUT as HHDLs’ start rises, China cracks down harder on the people of Tibet.
- 1995 : Despite pressure from the US congress and rights groups, US President Bill Clinton grants China MFN: Most Favored Nation Trading Status, removing all trade sanctions imposed on the PRC after The Tiananmen Square Massacre. China implements the Strike Hard” Policy: banning all images of HH Dalai Lama, enforcing Communist Re-education at monasteries, aggressive suppression of Tibetan ethnic identity.
CHINA IN TIBET: Phase 3: 1990’s 2000’s Mines, Dams and War Games continued…
2000: China is granted entry into the World Trade Organization and launches XI BU DAI FA: ”The Opening Up of the Western Regions” a vast industrial development plan, to exploit and extract Tibet’s vast natural resources, facilitated by rail and roadway expansion.
2001: 9/11 strikes New York City. China fades from international attention and scrutiny, and accelerates exploitation of Tibet’s natural resources. Chinese engineers launch construction of huge mining operations and hydro dams on Tibet’s rivers, which flow into South and Southeast Asia.
2006: The Qinghai–Xizang railway OPENS in LHASA, bringing millions of tourists into Tibet. The railroad also facilitates the transport of minerals, stone and lumber from Tibet, and brings over 250,000 Chinese engineers into Tibet.
2010: China announces that it has built 6 military airfields in Utsang, and debuts a new fleet of drone aircraft, with technology the US claims has been stolen by Chinese spies. A 2012 US Dept. of Defense report to Congress on China’s military capabilities notes Beijing’s push to develop longer-range unmanned aircraft, including armed drones, “expands China’s options for long-range reconnaissance and strike.”
In 2000 China launched a vast development project entitled “Xi bu dai fa”, the “Opening and development of the Western Regions” of Xinjiang and Tibet, which together comprise half of China’s land mass.
POPULATION TRANSFER: A massive influx of Chinese settlers, urbanization and forced relocation of nomads swiftly followed. The Xizang railway, which opened in 2006, transports Tibet’s vast supplies of minerals, stone and lumber to the mainland and brings in a flood of Chinese engineers and laborers who have built at least 160 hydro dams across Tibet and have plans for hundreds more.
The Chinese government is aggressively re-settling Tibetan nomads and pastoralists into concrete housing complexes. Xinhua, the Chinese state run media, claims the resettlement is necessary to protect the source area of key Chinese rivers in north-west China’s Qinghai province. Dr. Andreas Schild, the Director General of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development said; “Mountains without mountain people will be not sustainable.”
MINES and DAMS: Chinese engineers now operate multiple dams and mines all across Tibet, polluting the rivers at their source – you can find images on Google Earth and on Michael Buckley’s comprehensive website www.meltdownintibet.com The Chinese mainland is also imperiled: in April 2013, Yangtze River water flows were at their lowest level in record. Dams and industrial waste have caused the Yellow River to dry up before it reaches the sea. Large swaths of northern China have had no snow or rain since 2008. Nearly half of China’s wheat crop, covering of 9.5 million hectares, was afflicted by drought. In 2008 China’s State Council admitted: “ By 2030, China will have exploited all its available water supplies to the limit”.
To date, at least 131 people inside Tibet have self-immolated to protest of Chinese Communist assaults on Tibetan religion and culture and the desecration of Tibet’s ancestral lands. There is another potent source of this explosion of Tibetan outrage, which receives negligible international coverage; the covert history of China’s rape and pillage of Tibet’s ancestral lands and waters. The elemental facts about Tibet’s size, wealth of natural resources, and its strategic location on the Eurasian Continent, are not widely understood, but satellite images, maps and environmental studies of the Tibetan Plateau reveal the enormous resource and strategic advantage gained by its capture. and explains why China refuses to enter into dialogue with the Dalai Lama, or share information with the nations of South and Southeast Asia about the exploitation of Tibet’s lands and waters. CHINA’S OCCUPATION of TIBET has created a looming environmental catastrophe for the nations of South and Southeast Asia, but China refuses to discuss its development plans with neighboring states.
TIME MAGAZINE states that despite the wave of self-immolations in Tibet is the “Most under-reported story of 2013
CHINA’S ATTACKS on the DALAI LAMA SUBVERT DISCUSSION of the EXPLOITATION of TIBET’S RESOUCRES
China has succeeded in its mission to isolate and discredit the Dalai Lama by punishing heads of state who meet with the Tibetan leader and threatening any institution that invites him to speak, thereby stifling any discussion of China’s oppressive and destructive governance of Tibet. A study from the University of Gottingen in Germany of countries whose top leadership met with the Dalai Lama, showed that they incurred an average 8.1 percent loss in exports to China in the two years following the meeting. Called the “Dalai Lama Effect,” the found the negative impact on exports began when Hu Jintao took office in 2002. China’s obsessive demonization of the Dalai Lama, the distinguished Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who has lived in exile in India since 1959, has succeeded in subverting all rational and increasingly urgent discussion of China’s exploitation of Tibet’s resources, and how Chinese mining and hydro dams projects across Tibet have created a looming environmental catastrophe in Asia, the world’s most populous continent. Despite irrefutable evidence of the dangers of over-exploiting Tibet’s water resources, the Chinese government will not modify or downscale plans for dams, tunnels, railroads and highways across the Tibetan plateau. Of all the countries which depend of Tibet’s waters, the People’s Republic of China alone, can finance any project it chooses without recourse to international lenders.
TIBET IS A WAR ZONE
In 2012, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie stated: “In the coming five years, our military will push forward preparations for military conflict in every strategic direction…We may be living in peaceful times, but we can never forget war, never send the horses south or put the bayonets and guns away.” In 2009, computer analyst Greg Walton examined computers in the Dalai Lama’s Private Office in Dharamshala and uncovered “Ghost Net”, a massive Chinese cyberespionage hacking system which penetrated 103 countries, as far as the personal laptop of US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Sec. of Defense Robert Gates stated that “Chinese cyber espionage intrusions into US defense networks is nothing less than an act of war”. Tourists who have visited Tibet provide witness: A physician from Boston who went to Tibet in Nov. 2013, observed; “The Tibetan people appeared totally dominated by a chilling degree of militarization and repression. I did not see any ways or means by which the Tibetans could fight back against such overwhelming force. I could see people wanted to talk to me but were too afraid…I have never seen such a ruthless, cruel and effective police state in my life.”
The Chinese Communist leadership is facing a crisis of legitimacy, at home and abroad
- The Chinese economy is in decline. For decades CCP propaganda has been highly effective in promoting China as the new military and economic super power of the 21st century, but financial analysts are concerned about bad debt, a real estate bubble and declining exports.
- There are violent uprisings in China EVERY DAY: in 2010 over 100,000 “incidents” occurred. The CCP propaganda machine is weakening. Chinese netizens are subverting Xinhua and censorship: images of police brutality are now widely circulated.
- China’s “Peaceful Rise” is now seen as a threat to global stability. China has installed a formidable military-industrial infrastructure across the high ground of the Tibetan Plateau, with military roads, airfields, army bases, dams, mines bordering Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan. At the ASEAN Conference in Bali in Nov. 2011, representatives from Vietnam and Cambodia vehemently criticized Chinese aggression in Southeast Asia and asked for American protection from the “Chinese Threat.”
- In 2013 Chinese Troops made over 200 incursions into Indian territory from TIBET. Chinese soldiers planted the Chinese flag in three regions of Bhutan that border Tibet, and are now claiming sovereignty over “Southern Tibet”, all Tibetan cultural zones in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
THE PRICE OF APPEASEMENT For six decades the People’s Republic of China has raped and pillaged Tibet without impediment or penalty But the world will pay a high price for IGNORING the Chinese Communist occupation of Tibet….So goes the old saying:
HE WHO CONTROLS TIBET CONTROLS THE WORLD
Moynihan testimony at the house session
This is a NASA astronaut photograph of Tibet. One great success of Chinese propaganda is to persuade the world that Tibet is insignificant, that it is a lot smaller than it is, but it wasn’t until the 20th century, the era of armed warfare, airplane, and the tank that Tibet could be conquered. Even Ghengis Khan failed. So here is another NASA astronaut photograph of the Tibetan Plateau which is considered the third pole. It is the third largest ice mass concentration on planet Earth after the North and the South Pole. And in Asian folklore, it is known as the western treasure house because it is also one of the world’s largest suppliers of minerals. Next slide. This is a 1920s British map of independent Tibet and as you can see in the insert just how large the Tibetan Plateau is. Tibetan Plateau is a unique geomorphic entity with 46,000 glaciers comprising the world’s third largest ice mass, but what is significant about this in the age of water scarcity is that it is the source of the great rivers of Asia, the Yangtze, the Yellow, the Indus, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Chenab, the Sutleg, the Salween, and the Mekong which flow through 11 nations, nourishing 3 billion people from Peshawar to Beijing. They all rise in Tibet. And the preservation and the management of Tibet’s glaciers and the rivers they sustain is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the 21st century because Asia is the most populist nation and industrial development and population growth is projected to double within the next 50 years. The combined effects of rapid development, decertification, and water scarcity has already create cycles of droughts and flood, food shortages and pandemics. But what is China doing about this? Shrinking glaciers, depleting aquifers. I am going to skip over some of this in the interest of
Asia is now facing a very serious water crisis.
Today, all of Asia’s rivers except one, the Ganges, are controlled at their sources by the Chinese Communist party. There are very few international agreements that exist for sharing data and coordinating usage of these rivers. As developing nations manage water supplies as an economic commodity in the age of scarcity, water rights and laws must be appraises. However, China has refused to engage in any negotiations with the downstream riparian nations on the use of Tibet’s waters. Here is a map which shows where the major rivers come from. There is four that come from eastern Tibet and four that come from western Tibet from Mount Kailash. Again, the Ganges originates just a few kilometers outside of control of the Chinese Communist Party. Now, most maps will only show U-Tsang Province which is in yellow as being Tibet, but in the 1950s and into the early 1960s, the Chinese partitioned Tibet as it moved from east to west. Amdo Province, Kham Province have all been partitioned into Quinghai, into Ganze, into all these other provinces, but this is historical Tibet, so you can see how large it is. It comprises almost one third of Communist China’s land mass. As you can see, this is another important map. It shows China’s grip on Asia and the occupation of Tibet gives China an enormous strategic and resource advantage. This is a map I got next from a Japanese Web site which—next slide, which shows the major ethnic regions. And of course, China learned a lesson from the collapse of the Soviet Union which my father predicted would happen through the forces of ethnicity. China is, in fact, a multi-ethnic state. The one star of the Han and the four stars of the other groups declares that it is a multi-ethnic state. And as you can see in yellow that is East Turkestan, the Uighur people; Tibet, Inner Mongolia, and Manchuria. So there is potential for ethnic conflict also again over exploitation of resources. There are the three main faces of the Chinese Communist occupation of Tibet. Phase 1, 1960s, military invasion. And that is when the deforestation, especially of eastern Tibet began. Millions upon millions of acres of first-growth forest were destroyed at this time which had for many centuries functioned also as a barrier to prevent flooding into Southeast Asia and Southwest China. Phase 2, the death of Mao, the rise of Deng and these are details you can go into later when you have more time.
Now we are into Phase 3 which is mines, dams, and war games. In Phase 2, a lot of military roads were built across Tibet. I have traveled over Tibet several times. As my friend and colleague, Paul Berkowitz said, it is very, very remote and you can see that there is no one to stop the Chinese. There will be no NATO. There will no NATO troops. There will be no U.N. peacekeeping forces. They control the roof of the world. And now because of the population transfer of Han Chinese onto the Tibetan Plateau, and the military infrastructure that they installed, they have been able to now in Phase 3 build thousands upon thousands of hydro-electric dams and mines and military airstrips and military garrisons. In 2000, China launched a vast development project called Xi Bu Dai Fa, opening a development of the western regions of Xizang and Tibet which together comprise half of Communist China’s land mass.
Here is a hydro dam on the Sengye Kabab which means mouth of the lion. Before these were Chinese rivers, Indian rivers, they were Tibetan rivers and there is an enormous body of folklore and mythology associated with all these rivers. Sengye Kabab means mouth of the lion. This is the Indus which flows through India and Pakistan. This is one of the many, many—okay, this is one of the most serious sources of conflict between Communist China and democratic India which is diverting the Yarlung Tsangpo, a Tibetan name, which is the Brahmaputra in the north south water transfer program. The Chinese are building a tunnel to divert the waters of the Brahmaputra to northern China which has been suffering from extreme drought conditions for many, many years.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Could you please repeat where you said the water is being diverted from where to where?
Ms. MOYNIHAN. From the bend in the Brahmaputra as it flows down into northern India and into Bangladesh. Here is a dam on the Mekong. There are over seven hydro-electric dams on the Mekong which is the main source of fresh water for all of Southeast Asia.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Is that actually affecting the amount of water that flows into Southeast Asia then?
Ms. MOYNIHAN. Absolutely. Water flows on the Mekong are said to be down 40 to 50 percent and fish stocks have also declined dramatically. And I met with several Thai senators who were flown by the Chinese Government to northern Tibet to look at the dam projects of which they are very proud and the Thai senators——
Mr. ROHRABACHER. And that water is going to be used in China? The water then, rather than flowing into the Mekong which is a very wide river, now you say the water is being diverted from there to and it is staying in China then?
Ms. MOYNIHAN. Yes. It is being used to create reservoirs that mostly serve southern Tibet and southwestern China and to create hydro-electric. This is a very important map created by my friend, Michael Buckley, whose Web site meltdown in Tibet, I encourage everybody to visit. This shows some of the hydro dams on the Drichu, the Zachu, and the Gyalmo Ngulchu which are the Mekong, the Salween and the Yangtze. Just look how many hydro-electric dams. There are dams that are 10 to 15 feet high and the tallest dam in the world is on the Mekong. The widest dam is at Three Gorges on the Yangtze. But you can ese this is creating a looming environmental crisis in all of South and Southeast Asia. Next slide. China has over 300,000 dams. It is the world’s number one dam builder. You can see most of the concentration of dams are in Tibet, the four rivers of eastern Tibet. Tibet was always called in the nation’s folklore the western treasure house because of the mineral, oil, gas, and salt deposits. Again, you can study these maps in detail. Another important issue is the decline of permafrost in Tibet which will release methane gas and the shrinking glaciers are also of tremendous concern. If we go to the next, there is the map of the melting permafrost. Next slide. This is a glacial lake created near the Rongbuk glacier on the northern side of Mount Everest in Chinese-occupied Tibet. In the last 90 years, the glacier’s tail has lost 90 vertical meters in depth.
Why is this one of the most under reported stories in the world? China spends so much time attacking the Dalai Lama, the distinguished Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has lived for almost 55 years in exile in India. What has this done? It confused diplomats, but it subverts all discussions of the exploitation of Tibet’s resources. My dad always said the Chinese have a perverse obsession with the Dalai Lama, but it works because it diverts everyone’s attention to this strange obsession they have and we are not talking about what is going on in Tibet—next slide, please—because Tibet is a war zone. In 2012, Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said, ‘‘In the coming 5 years, our military will push forward with preparations for military conflict in every strategic direction. We may be living in peaceful times, but we can never forget war, never send the horses south or put the bayonets and guns away.’’
The Chinese are not about to engage in any negotiation, which you see are possible in the Middle East and other conflict zones, about the use of Tibet’s waters. There is a map next of China’s military investment and expansion. Tibet is also a strategic launching pad for drones. The Chinese have stolen drone technology from American firms and an American State Department official went to an air show in southern China and was alarmed to see all these drones. And they have installed many of these drones in six new military airports they have built in southern Tibet. They can reach India. They can reach New Delhi in 20 minutes.
What is the price of appeasement? For six decades the People’s Republic of China has raped and pillaged Tibet without impediment or penalty, but the world will pay a high price for ignoring the Chinese Communist occupation of Tibet. Ghengis Khan is said to have uttered the famous phrase, ‘‘He who controls Tibet, controls the world.’’
In 2009 the United Nat ions Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change reported that the glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, the source of fresh water for a fifth of the world’s population, are receding at an a alarming rate. Temperatures in Tibetan are rising 7 times as faster than in China. Scientists predict that most Tibetan glaciers could vanish by 2035 if present levels of carbon gas emissions are not reduced. Carbon emissions must be cut by 80% by 2030 to preserve the glaciers, of Tibet, the source of water for, China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
Asia is now facing a shrinkage of river-based irrigation water sup lies, which will disrupts grain and rice harvests. Overpumping is swiftly depleting underground water resources in India and China. Water tables are rapidly falling in the North China Plain, East Asia’s principal grain producing region. In India, we ll s are going dry in almost every state.
70% of the world’s irrigated farmland is in Asia. China and India, the world’s most populous nation s and largest grain producers, have millions of new irrigation projects that are rapidly depleting aquifers.
Satellite images released in August 2009 by the National Aerospace and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States show massive dep let ion of groundwater storage in Rajasthan , Punjab and Haryana during the 2002-2008. Indian government data shows that major reservoirs have shrunk by 70% since 2000.
Deglaciation on the Tibetan Plateau, combined with depletion of underground water resources, could create ” permanent famine conditions”, as described by the environmental scientist Lester Brown in his 1995 Worldwatch Institute report ” Who Will Feed China?”
China’s growth has pushed rivers system to a dangerous tipping point. Two thirds of all cities in China are short of water, agricultural runoff from chemical fertilizers, industrial effluent and urban waste have poisoned reservoirs. China’s Environmental Protection Administration reports that that environmental protests are rising by 50% a year. Since 1949, two-thirds of the Yangtze Valley lakes have disappeared, today th e total surface area of lakes in the middle and lower Yangtze alley has shrunk from 18,000 square kilometers to 7,000 in 50 years. Today, all but one Asia’s major rivers – the Ganges – are controlled at their sources by the Chinese Communist Party In a mere quarter century the People’s Republic of China has risen from poverty and isolation into the 21st century’s emergent superpower.
Since Chainnan Mao invaded Tibet in 1951, China has administered a huge military infrastructure across the Tibetan Plateau, which gives China a continuous border with Thailand, Burma, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, and is now filled with military airfields and PLA battalions.
Gordon G. Chang Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
I am a writer and live in Bedminster, New Jersey worked as a lawyer in Hong Kong from 1981-1991 and Shanghai from 1996-2001. Between these two periods, 1 frequently traveled to Asia from California. 1 regularly go there now. I am the author of The Coming Collapse of China (Random House, 2001) and Nuclear Shutduwn: North Korea Takes On the World (Random House, 2006). 1 write regularly about China’s relations with its neighbors and the United States.
China’s Water Crisis The People’s Republic of China, over the course of decades, has grossly misused and mismanaged its lakes, rivers, and streams. The resulting freshwater crisis, in the words of senior Beijing leaders, even threatens the existence of the Chinese state. As Wang Shucheng, a former water minister, tells us, “To fight for every drop of water or die: that is the challenge facing China.” Beijing officials, unfortunately, act as if they believe their overblown rhetoric and are now fighting their neighbors for water. China, the world’s “hydro-hegemon,” is the source of river water to more countries than any other nation, controlling the headwater needed by almost half of the world’s population, in Central, South, and Southeast Asia as well as Russia. The People’s Republic has 14land neighbors- 13 of them co-riparians-but is a party to no water-sharing treaties, refusing to even begin negotiations on water-sharing with other capitals. “No other country has ever managed to assume such unchallenged riparian preeminence on a continent by controlling the headwaters of multiple international rivers and manipulating their cross-border flows,” notes Brahma Chellaney in Water, Peace, and War: Confronting the Glohal Water Crisis. As the noted water expert reports, the Chinese have commandeered Asia’s great rivers by completing on average one large dam a day since 1949. Until recently, those dams were located inside China’s borders. Now, however, Beijing is seeking to harness the water resources of one of its neighbors, Burma, for its own benefit. As it does so, it is encountering local resistance there, and as it encounters local resistance it is blaming the United States for its deteriorating relationships with that once pliant neighbor. The tendency of Chinese leaders to hold us responsible for their own failures can only worsen our ties with them in the years ahead.
The Myitsone Dam
In 2009, a Sino-Burmese consortium controlled by China Power Investment, a Chinese state-owned entity, began work on the Myitsone Dam, located at the headwaters of the Irrawaddy River. It will be the first dam on that vital waterway and a part of a seven-dam cascade, a $20 billion undertaking. Myitsone has been called Beijing’s attempt to export the Three Gorges Dam, and it is even more unpopular in Burma than that massive project is in China. The Burmese version has been called “a showcase” for the country’s former military government, which signed the deal with China without public consultation. Therefore, those who disliked the junta-an overwhelming majority in the country-came out against the dam. And to make matters worse for Myitsone’s Beijing backers, the project became a symbol of Chinese exploitation of Burma, which the junta renamed Myanmar. It does not help that, in a power-starved nation, 90% of the dam’s electricity will be exported to southern China. The Burmese have condemned Myitsone for other reasons as well The dam is located in Kachin State, a minority area, and the Kachins have been uniformly against it, not just the tens of thousands who have been or will be forced to move to avoid the waters. The dam will Hood historical and cultural sites, including what is considered to be the birthplace of the country.
The area that will be lost has been called one of the world’s “top biodiversity hotspots and a global conservation priority.” Downstream rice farmers expect that Myitsone will rob the river of crucial sediments. The dam is about 60 miles from a major fault line, and ifit failed, it would Hood Myikyina, the largest city in Kachin State. Says Ah Nan of Burma Rivers Network, an environmental
DAVID GOODTREE, CO–CHAIR AND FOUNDER, SYMPOSIUM ON WATER INNOVATION
I have studied China most of my life, been to China. China is a very wealthy country. It has wrapped its arms around capitalism and loves it. Still a dictatorship, a brutal country. Constantly violates human rights, has no concern for the environment. Possesses one half of the U.S. outside debt, spending money all over the world, investments we should call them, building its military at an unbelievable rate and buying gold up by the boatloads. Given all that, it is 1.3 going on 1.4 billion people, the Communist Party is still very strong and I think that in my lifetime I will not see that change. What do we do, what does the United States and its allies do to at least curtail the activities of China on a wide variety of bases? Mr. CHANG.
Ms. MOYNIHAN. Well, of course, the hydro dams do produce reservoirs and energy and in Chinese-occupied Tibet, most of that is going to industrial development. And there is one issue I wanted to mention is that China is also rapidly building mines at the source of a lot of the rivers so they are creating long-term pollution that will go downstream to the other riparian nations. And that could be a whole other hearing.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. But that is very relevant, extremely relevant in the discussion of water in terms of countries that are permitting that type of pollution which then again eliminates that as a source for their neighbors and thank you for bringing that up. I think it is important.