Luo Huaibin, a famous scholar who protested the destruction of Tibetan forests and wetlands, was assassinated in 2020. The assassins are still at large.
by Lopsang Gurung
The family of Luo Huaibin is seeking answers about the assassination of this well-known scholar, who was murdered in Lakang Town, in south-eastern Tibet Lhozhag (Ch. Luozha) county under the jurisdiction of the prefecture-level city of Shannan, on April 27, 2020. Luo was staying in a guest house in Lakang, and was found dead in his room at age 53.
Luo was a member of the Chinese Communist Party and a brilliant scientist. A look at the scientific data bases shows that it had several peer-reviewed publications, and was often quoted by his colleagues.
Luo was an expert in ecological issues, forests, wetlands, and the flora and fauna of Tibet. When he was murdered, he held the position of professor-level cadre at the Central South Survey and Planning Institute of the State Forestry and Grassland Bureau.
Luo was certainly not a political opponent of the CCP regime. He was, however, dangerous in another way. He opposed deforestation and wetland drying in Tibet, and the destruction of forests by Chinese companies for mining.
Luo was also a great friend and scholar of the black-necked crane, a beautiful endangered species of birds that breed in Bhutan and Tibet. While they are protected in Bhutan, in Tibet the drying of wetlands for large-scale agriculture and cattle farming creates a serious threat to the black-necked cranes.
For Tibetans, the black-necked cranes are not only elegant creatures. They are sacred birds, revered as symbols of peace, and it is even believed that in past centuries they carried the Dalai Lamas and other senior monks in their trips from one monastery to the next.
This is why Luo’s campaigns to protect the black-necked cranes were popular among Tibetans. They were certainly less popular among the large Chinese mining and agricultural companies that routinely violate the laws theoretically intended to protect the environment with the complicity of corrupt CCP officials.
It is not difficult to guess who killed Luo Huaibin in 2020. Nor why, as the family now complains, no arrests have been made after more than two years, and authorities do not seem eager to find the assassins.