Why the world needs to pay attention to Free Tibet Movement

In 2020 back His Holiness Dalai Lama marked his 80th year as Tibet’s spiritual leader. A position held almost entirely in exile and under constant vilification by the Chinese government. In his 80th year as a leader in exileObserveNow brings to you a roundup on Tibet’s history, occupation by China, and the Free Tibet Movement. 

 

China’s invasion of Tibet-In 1950, the newly established Chinese communist regime decided that Tibet must become a permanent part of China and launched an invasion.  For China annexing Tibet gave them access to its rich natural resources and allowed it to militarize a strategically important border with India. The Chinese government has robbed Tibet of many of its natural resources, imposed Chinese language and culture, and destroyed many monasteries under the pretext of ‘Liberating Tibet’. 

 

China’s argument -Tibet was absorbed about 800 years ago during the Yuan Dynasty, becoming an inseparable part of China. It has not been a country since and no country has ever recognized Tibet as an independent state. 

Fact-Tibet was not ruled by the Chinese government prior to the 1950 invasion. In 1912, the 13th Dalai Lama - Tibet's political and spiritual leader - issued a proclamation reaffirming Tibet’s independence and the country maintained its own flag, currency, stamps, passports, and army. It signed international treaties and maintained diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.

From a legal point of view, Tibet remains an independent state under illegal occupation, a fact that China wishes it could whitewash from history.

 China Says: Tibet has Autonomy-Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is only namesake and China has full control. In reality, the most senior political position in the region, the TAR Communist Party Secretary, has never been occupied by a Tibetan and Beijing is in charge. The official language is Chinese, with many Tibetan children losing their ability to speak and write Tibetan. Locals have been treated as second-class citizens in their own country. And Tibetan culture is slowly dying. 

Tibet Under Chinese Rule-China claims Tibet under its rule is thriving and has seen many developments. literacy has risen from 5% to 85% and former slaves have been given land. There has also been a huge investment in infrastructure, jobs, housing, schools, and hospitals.

Facts-Infrastructure projects enable the movement of China’s military, mass immigration of Chinese workers, Chinese tourism and access to Tibet's rich resources. The United Nations has repeatedly challenged China on human rights abuses in Tibet, including finding Tibet the worst area for Child Malnutrition in China. Since March 2011, more than 150 people have set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese repression. 

 

Free Tibet Movement- 

 

China’s Argument-The Free Tibet movement is supported by Western anti-China forces. Human rights are China’s internal affair and Westerners who have never been to Tibet have no right to speak against China’s policies.

 

Facts-Free Tibet supporters have no argument with the Chinese people. They support Free Tibet because they see Tibetans as victims of the undemocratic Chinese government and see Tibetans’ unwavering struggle for freedom as a just cause. 

 

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Taniya Tikoo

Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder at ObserveNow. A Mountain girl using the power of words to change the world.

I dream to wake up to a world where I see a thriving Kashmir, a free Palestine and a Free Tibet 

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