2. The Dalai Lama, Tibet's political and spiritual leader, fled Tibet in 1959 to Dharamsala, India, followed by over 100,000 Tibetans and established the Tibetan Government-in Exile. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for a steadfast dedication to non-violence.
3. Tibet, before occupation, was a nation with an established sovereign government, currency, postal system, language, legal system, and culture. Prior to 1950, the Tibetan government also signed treaties with foreign nations. The Chinese government claims that Tibet has always been part of China, yet its invasion of Tibet resembles imperialist aggression that China accuses other powers of exhibiting.
4. The "Tibetan Autonomous Region" (TAR) is not Tibet, nor is it autonomous. The Chinese government has divided historical Tibet into one region and several prefectures and counties, with the TAR encompassing only the central area and some eastern regions of Tibet.
5. The basic freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly are strictly limited, and arbitrary arrests continue. There are currently hundreds of political prisoners in Tibet, enduring a commonplace punishment of torture.
6. The Chinese government increasingly encourages Han Chinese to migrate to Tibet, offering them higher wages and other inducements. This policy is threatening the survival of Tibetan people. Tibetans are becoming a minority in the TAR. Yearly, thousands of Tibetans still flee from Tibet, making the treacherous journey over the Himalayas into a world of exile.
7. Historical Tibet was a vast country, with an area roughly equal to Western Europe. Tibet is the source of five of Asia's largest rivers, which provide water for two billion people. Tibet's fragile environment is endangered by Chinese strip-mining, nuclear waste dumping, and extensive deforestation.
8. The Chinese government claims to have “developed” Tibet, with “developments” mainly benefiting the new majority Chinese, not Tibetans. China, neglecting education and healthcare, has spent millions of dollars building infrastructure; many roads, buildings, and power plants directly support heavy militarization, allowing China to maintain Tibet as a police state.
9. The Chinese government aggressively seeks foreign investment for its “Go West” campaign, with use of these international funds to develop Tibet as a resource extraction colony and consolidate regional control. Foreign investments in Chinese companies legitimise China's colonisation and exploitative projects that harm Tibet.
10. The United Nations and international community have done very little to address the core issue of China’s illegal occupation of Tibet. China represents an enormous market and cheap labour force, and its associated businesses have such a strong lobby that officials are reluctant to take substantive measures. Since western countries adopted policies of so-called “constructive engagement” with China in the 1990s, the human rights situation in Tibet has only deteriorated.
Here are some great books to read on the subject as well. Heinrich Harrar wrote the book Seven Years in Tibet about his life before the occupation. He escaped a British Prisoner of War camp in 1945, and made his way to Tibet. He fell in love with the country, but left after the Chinese invasion. He returned in 1982, and the book Return to Tibet is his experience in the country AFTER the invasion. It truly is a heartbreaking book, although Harrar has a lot of hope for a truly peaceful country of people.
Tears of Blood: A Cry for Tibet by Mary Craig is another fantastic book that is powerful and heartbreaking. It tells the story of the persecution of the Tibetan people and the colonization of their country. She did tons of research and also has many interviews with refugees of Tibet that are now living in India. If you want a look at the atrocities that the Chinese have plagued upon this country, read this book.
The final book is a wonderful book. And it just proves that even one person can help change the world. It's called A Beginner's Guide to Changing the World: A True Life Adventure Story by Isabel Losada. Although Losada isn't exactly the most well-versed author on this subject, her heart is definitely in the right place. Here are her adventures, as one woman tackles trying to make a difference in the quest to free Tibet.
As I said before, I'm very politically active. Although we feel the need to stick our noses in wars all the time, America has steered clear of trying to help the occupied people of Tibet. And it's a travesty. I think you will all feel the same if you read up on the subject just a little.
Thanks Dewey for such a relevant Weekly Geeks!!