China Bans Mining on Sacred Buddhist Mountains

August 24, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: The Star

Wire Service: Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has banned mining on mountains sacred to Buddhists after protests from monks that the exploitation was damaging ancient temples and violating holy sites, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

The move was in response to complaints from monks in northern Shanxi province's Wutai mountain, a sacred peak, Xinhua said, but it also follows a riot among Tibetan Buddhists in the country's southwest in an area that was being mined for lead and zinc.

"The blasting to extract ore has cracked the walls, and ruined some of the frescoes," Xinhua quoted Abbot Shi Renfa of the Manjusri Monastery in the Wutai Mountains, as saying.

"I used to worry greatly that they would also break the Buddha statuettes and the outdoor pagoda made of coloured glaze."

The area is home to rich iron ore deposits and about 10 mines were being developed there, the report said.