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China starts building its largest solar plant

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Beijing, China has begun constructing its largest solar power plant spread over 2,550 hectares in the Gobi desert.

The plant will come up in Qinghai province. Nellis_AFB_Solar_panels

The plant will have an installed capacity of 200 megawatts, and be capable of supplying electricity to 1 million households, according to Qinghai Solar-Thermal Power Group.

“Its designed heat storage is 15 hours, thus, it can guarantee stable, continuous power generation,” Xinhua quoted group board chair Wu Longyi as saying.

Once operational, the plant will slash standard coal use by 4.26 million tonnes every year, reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide by 896,000 tonnes and 8,080 tonnes, respectively.

The solar power tower system boasts higher efficiency and better energy storage than the more commonly used trough system.

The plant will also be China’s first large-scale solar power plant under commercial operation, said Yu Mingzhen, vice director of Qinghai development and reform commission.

China has been focusing on increasing its proportion of clean energy. By 2014, the country’s solar power capacity was 28.05 gigawatts, 400 times more than 2005, and there are plans to increase this to around 100 gigawatts by 2020.

(IANS)

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Tibetan Activist Sentenced to 5 Years of Imprisonment in China

A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence "unjust" and urging his immediate release.

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A Tibetan education activist was on Tuesday sentenced to five years in prison by a Chinese court for inciting separatism, Amnesty International (AI) said, calling the sentence “unjust” and urging his immediate release.

The main evidence against Tashi Wangchuk, who was sentenced by a court in Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai province, was a 2015 video by the New York Times about his campaign for saving the Tibetan language, according to his lawyer.

“Today’s verdict against Tashi Wangchuk is a gross injustice. He is being cruelly punished for peacefully drawing attention to the systematic erosion of Tibetan culture,” AI East Asia Research Director Joshua Rosenzweig was cited as saying by Efe news.

Before his arrest, the 31-year-old activist had expressed concern over the fact that many Tibetan children could not fluently speak their native language, contributing to the progressive extinction of the Tibetan culture.

Representational Image: Tibetan Teachings
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Tashi must be immediately and unconditionally released,” demanded AI, pointing out that the activist had already spent two years in detention without access to his family.

Rosenzweig claimed that Tashi Wangchuk “was a human rights defender and prisoner of conscience who used the media and China’s own legal system in his struggle to preserve Tibetan language, culture and identity”.

In the New York Times video, the activist had highlighted “the extreme discrimination and restrictions on freedom of expression that Tibetans face in China today”.

Also Read: An Attempt to Preserve Ancient Tibetan Literature

Non-profit Human Rights Watch (HRW) also criticized the prison term for Tashi Wangchuk, whose “only crime was to peacefully call for the right of minority peoples to use their own language”, a right safeguarded by the Chinese Constitution.

“His conviction on bogus separatism charges show that critics of government policy on minorities have no legal protections,” said HRW China Director Sophie Richardson. (IANS)

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