It’s Time for the Uninvited Guest to Depart!
The country of Tibet was invaded by China in 1949/50. Over 1.2 million Tibetans have died as a direct result of the occupation, over 6,000 monasteries have been destroyed, and thousands of Tibetans have been imprisoned and tortured for their political or religious beliefs. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s political and spiritual leader, was forced to flee Tibet in 1959, along with over 1,20,000 other Tibetans, and established the Tibetan Government in Exile in Dharamsala. The Chinese government has divided historical Tibet into one “region” and several “prefectures” and “counties”. The “Tibet Autonomous Region” (TAR) encompasses only the central area and some of the eastern regions of Tibet. Well over half of Tibet’s original territory has been absorbed into Chinese provinces. “Autonomous” is a euphemism for direct control by Beijing. The Chinese Government’s policies of cultural assimilation and population transfer of ethnic Chinese into Tibet threaten the very survival of the Tibetan identity. Chinese colonists outnumber Tibetans in most urban areas and many rural areas, making Tibetans a minority in their own nation. Meanwhile, thousands of Tibetans continue to flee from Tibet every year, trekking over the treacherous Himalayas, into the uncertain world of exile. The area of historical Tibet was roughly equal to Western Europe. Tibet is the source of five of Asia’s largest rivers, which provide the lifeline for 2 billion people. China has endangered Tibet’s fragile environment through strip-mining, nuclear waste dumping, widespread deforestation, and extensive construction of dams. All employment opportunities for Tibetans are directly controlled by the Chinese. The infrastructure development in Tibet has been undertaken by the PRC with the intention to increase militarization of the Tibetan plateau, allowing China to maintain Tibet as a police state. China is also trying to use international funds to develop Tibet as a resource extraction colony and consolidate control over the region. Foreign investment in Chinese companies gives legitimacy to China’s colonization of Tibet and the exploitative projects they fund do not benefit Tibetans. Tibet was independent. Tibet had a sovereign government, currency, postal system, language, laws and customs. While the Chinese government claims that Tibet has always been part of China its invasion of Tibet is no different from the imperialist aggression that China accuses other powers of exhibiting. In Tibet the basic freedoms of speech, religion and assembly are strictly limited, and arbitrary arrests continue. The world community has done very little to address the core issue of China’s illegal occupation of Tibet. China represents a gigantic market and cheap labor force, and its associated businesses have such a strong lobby that politicians are reluctant to take any substantive measures against the Chinese government. Since western countries adopted policies of so-called “constructive engagement” with China in the 1990s, the human rights situation in Tibet has drastically deteriorated. In order for this to change, world governments must take decisive action to pressure China into respecting human rights and ending its occupation of Tibet. Students for Democracy condemns, in no uncertain terms, the illegal Chinese occupation of Tibet, and the gross human rights’ violations carried out by the PRC. We also condemn the passive stand of the Indian government on Tibet, and the increasing restriction of democratic space available to raise a voice of dissent against these atrocities.
Students For Democracy,Delhi University
Students for Democracy started as an informal group of students in Delhi University acting as a forum where students could share views and information on various political goings-on around campus and in the country.