HomeThe Greenpeace Issue

The Greenpeace Issue


Image: original photo cdnmg.co.za/graphic @tibettruth

The world’s most high profile environmental organization, with a network of international offices and serious resources at its disposal invests considerable time, effort, thought and finances into developing its Greenpeace-China operations.

With headquarters in Beijing and Hong Kong, it campaigns on a range of environmental issues in China, including climate change, energy and pollution prevention.

Yet one area of significant environmental concern in China and occupied territories such as Tibet and East Turkestan, which Greenpeace-China does not campaign upon, is nuclear issues.

It would appear that Greenpeace does not recognize the considerable ecological damage caused by nuclear production, and uranium mining and the disposal of radioactive waste within China and the occupied territories of Tibet and East Turkestan.


You would expect transparency from this organization,  right? Well once their Greenpeace East Asia (China) operation ran an English version of their website. Curiously since our efforts to report upon and expose the shortcomings of Greenpeace China that appears to have been taken offline!

Maybe it’s our bad and somewhere across the internet such a translated option exists.  It would be too cynical to conclude it was removed to obscure, for English speakers, any evidence that Greenpeace was indeed running a policy of silence on China’s disturbing nuclear record.

For the time being we see only the Chinese language option: http://www.greenpeace.org.cn

On that we entered the following search terms:

正在搜索:中国的辐射  ‘radiation in China’,中国的核污染 ‘nuclear pollution in China’, 放射性污染 ‘radioactive pollution’, 中国的核污染 ‘nuclear pollution in China’, 新疆核, ‘nuclear, Xinjiang (East Turkestan)’, and  西藏,核 ‘nuclear, Tibet’.

The result was: No Matching Results. A complete absence of any reference to China related nuclear and radioactive pollution!

This strange omission naturally raises the question, does Greenpeace consider its work inside China of such importance that it’s willing to operate a political compromise to placate the communist Regime’s sensitivities on its expanding nuclear activities?

To be fair there is one mention of concern, published in 2016, but that was directed at a Hong Kong government which at that time enjoyed political autonomy from the Chinese regime. Greenpeace called for a suspension of a nuclear plant’s operations following safety concerns. https://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/press/1508/greenpeace-calls-on-hong-kong-government-to-demand-suspension-of-taishan-nuclear-plant-amid-safety-concerns/

However this isolated report cannot be said in any way to compensate for the total silence on China’s nuclear poisoning of areas across Tibet and East Turkestan,

Mainland China has around 47 nuclear power reactors currently in operation, with more scheduled, which intend to maximize further China’s nuclear capacity. Yet, as Greenpeace’s record testifies it exercises anti-nuclear protests around the world.








However, it appears completely indifferent to the massive growth of nuclear plants and uranium mining inside China, and the hazardous environmental impact they pose. Nor in the past has it seemed troubled by the worrying standards which operate within China’s nuclear industry:


Currently a heavy importer of uranium, China is engaged in a determined effort to secure deposits within territory under its control. Significant amounts of the ore have been located in Eastern Tibet in Amdo (so-called Qinghai Province particularly in so-called Gansu Province). The China National Nuclear Corp operates in that region, and since 2008 has expanding and intensified activities there: http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/ENF-CNNC_to_develop_uranium_deposits_in_Qinghai-1707085.html

“The laborers have no understanding of health protection or prevention.Those kids sit on the uranium ore to smoke and eat their steamed buns, and at night they even set up their cots inside and sleep in the uranium caves. I’ve told them that stuff could give people lung cancer, but they don’t understand any of it.”.

(Comments of mine employee working at No. 792 Mine located in Gansu’s so-called Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, one of China’s most important bases for uranium. This area was historically part of Tibet’s Amdo Region)

All forms of uranium mining, and the milling of ore, generate serious environmental hazards to the hydrosphere and atmosphere, waste deposits often dumped into heaps release radioactive dust particulates into the atmosphere and pollute a huge area. Two methods in particular, which are used in China, cause grave concern.’Leaching’ and ‘open pit’ extraction of uranium have resulted in radioactive contamination of soils and rivers. Not that Greenpeace appears troubled, despite these forms of mining posing a grave health-risk. Details of these mining methods, their environmental impacts, and health risks may be viewed on a slideshow here:


The deadly hazards of nuclear pollution is also suffered by First Nations peoples in the USA, which was documented in the film ‘Posion Wind’:

“This film tells the personal stories and struggle of several the Indigenous people living in the southwest USA from the 1940’s to today. Set against the desert landscape and focuses on lives being destroyed by Uranium mining and testing. The effects of prolonged radiation within Native American communities, and workplaces”.

A similar destruction is being visited upon the Tibet and East Turkestan (Between 1964 and 1996, China used East Turkestan [so-called Xinjiang] for all of its nuclear testing. The Christian Science Monitor reported that the 45 official nuclear tests led to radiation poisoning that resulted in an estimated 210,000 deaths. However, it has been reported that secret nuclear testing has also been going on with grave effects on the health of the people in the surrounding areas. An investigative report by London’s newspaper, The Independent, revealed that the areas surrounding the Lop Nor nuclear test site—on the eastern edge of the Taklamakan Desert—have a cancer rate that is 35 percent higher than the rest of China and higher than average rates of Leukemia, tumors, and birth defects such as cleft palates.

Uighur Infant Suffers From China's Fall-Out
Uyghur Infant Suffers From China’s Fall-Out

Image Courtesy of: ETIC

A UK television documentary ‘Death on The Silk Road’ (Channel Four 1998) secretly filmed inside East Turkestan documented a range of illnesses linked to radiation exposure. Yet Greenpeace keeps a shameful silence, even though it would be aware of the detailed material which continues to document the extent and nature of environmental problems resulting from China’s nuclear industry, both commercial and military.

Greenpeace too has been disappointingly silent on the case of the courageous environmentalist Mr. Sun Xiaodi, who had researched and exposed serious radioactive pollution in the so-called Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu Province (part of Tibet’s eastern region of Kham). It would be reasonable to imagine that Greenpeace would have supported Sun’s actions and featured the appalling pollution in that part of Tibet. Sadly it chooses to ignore the plight of this inspirational campaigner, who reports suggest remains under house arrest for his activities. As Sun, the former nuclear plant worker testified to the 2006 Indigenous World Uranium Summit http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=25

“The No. 792 Uranium Mine (Gansu, Kham in Eastern Tibet) is one of the highest yielding uranium mines in China. Just a couple of days ago, under the cover of night, while the local Tibetans were all asleep, the mine as usual dumped untreated irradiated water straight into the Bailong River, a tributary of the Yangtze. At present, in our region, there are an unusually high number of miscarriages and birth defects, with many children born blind or malformed. But the mine authorities have military backgrounds; our local Party secretary and mine director once said to me, “Get on the wrong side of us, and the birds will be picking your bones!”


Tibettruth considers that Greenpeace’s ongoing silence on nuclear issues within China to be a serious violation of its own operating objectives and commitments and an appeasement of the communist government of China. Moreover, by not opposing and campaigning on such issues Greenpeace is guilty of complicity in the ecological and environmental suffering of Tibetan and Uighur people. While Greenpeace may argue that constructive engagement with China will bring environmental progress, it should not be at the expense of a major issue such as this. Nor should the environmental condition of the peoples of Tibet and East Turkestan be ignored in preference for fostering positive relations with the communist Chinese authorities. Furthermore there remain serious questions as to the realism of establishing an effective, transparent and independent environmental movement, within what is a draconian and totalitarian system. Under China’s authoritarian regime environmentalism has for years (and remains so today) been subject to particularly acute state scrutiny.


Email Greenpeace
Email Greenpeace

Email your concerns to Greenpeace Executive Director Jennifer Morgan via info.int@greenpeace.org

Or to Greenpeace East Asia (China) Executive Director, Mr. Sze Pang-cheung info.eastasia@greenpeace.org