The Yunnan Great Rivers Project is a collaborative conservation and development project between the Yunnan provincial government and The Nature Conservancy. Transnational environmental projects of this kind must be brought more critically into view in order to understand the competing discourses and struggles over nature as the west is opened for investment. In this case the subject of ethnographic enquiry is a county-level workshop sponsored by The Nature Conservancy which drafted a petition eventually presented to the State Council requesting an end to mountaineering on a “sacred” Tibetan mountain. This case study raises a series of questions about the politics of ethnic minority empowerment and disempowerment and the transforming role of transnational environmental activity, including the production of biological and cultural knowledge.
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