Russia/China: Pipeline Threatens Sacred Highlands

Construction threatens World Heritage Site, national parks, and sacred lands of the Telengit people. 

For at least 8,000 years, people have journeyed to the high Ukok Plateau to bury their dead with sacred ceremonies and give offerings to the spirits of the heavens, the mountains, and the waters. Today, the Telengit people carry out their ancient rituals on the Ukok amid the burial mounds, stone stellae, and petroglyphs of their ancestors in this mountainous borderland between Russia and China. Through centuries of experience, the Telengit people learned the survival skills—herding, hunting, fishing—that sustain their clans and communities in this remote, arid, permafrost landscape. But now they are facing a new challenge: Russia and China are planning to build a pipeline to carry natural gas from Siberia to China. The pipeline would bisect the sacred Ukok Plateau and the Golden Mountains of Altai UNESCO World Heritage Site in Russia, and the Kanas National Park in China, one of China’s last undeveloped wilderness areas. This remote mountain region is critical habitat for snow leopards, argali mountain sheep, and other endangered species.

 The Telengit people and Russian environmental organizations are calling out to the
international community for help to re-route construction of this gas pipeline. Please write
letters to Russian and Chinese officials today.


This film, “The Word of Heaven,” was produced by Russian NGOs in 1997 when the Russia-China gas pipeline across the sacred Ukok Plateau was first proposed. Their protests have prevented construction until now, but this year Russia and China entered into a new round of negotiations to build the pipeline. The film shows the unique environmental and cultural values of the Ukok Plateau and the citizens’ movement to prevent construction of a pipeline across it.
The Word of Heaven Part 1
The Word of Heaven Part 2

For more information, see:

Special thanks to our campaign partners: Ere-Chui Association of Obshchinas of the Telengit, the Save Ukok Coalition, The Altai Project, and Pacific Environment.

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