The Unfolding Tragedy of Tibet
By Lobsang Sangay and Karma Choeying
Tibet, famously called the roof of the world; a state in the Himalayas neighboured by India and China has for long been in a state of tussle with Beijing. China lays the claim over the entire Tibet and calls it its own territory; however, Tibet has always strived for an independent existence. This is among the many conflicts currently brewing in south Asia, probably the worse as far as the power imbalance is concerned. The water tower of Asia has for long witnessed the cold and dark nights under the communist regime of China. The process of democratisation is merely a ghost only if that ghost exists. This makes it imperative for the powers across the globe to play their role in fostering a dialogue between Beijing and Tibet, and only recently we have seen some improvement on that front and some progress will hopefully be on its way.
Tibetan people have struggled under the mighty and brutal fist of Beijing and since the independence of China we have been demanding our separate homeland. The division of Tibet into smaller units and segregating them from the mainland Tibet is a typical example of engineering. Tibet as known today is only a fraction of the historical mainland of Tibet. The Chinese have created a facade by giving the autonomous region of Tibet, which is what is left of Tibet after its repeated geographical divisions, an autonomy nonexistent in practice. People in Tibet demand the unification of all the parts which were historically part of Tibet, and post that want a complete political, economic and religious freedom. People in Tibet have tried to resist the imperialistic control of the communist China in Tibet and have always raised their demand for independent Tibet. The inspiration to the people of Tibet comes mainly from outer Mongolia and Bhutan, both countries are doing quite well in managing their affairs and their foreign policy. The other countries in the region enjoy the power over their own destiny while in case of Tibet, the destiny of people is being meddled with and is mostly in the hands of Han Chinese, who have never been sympathetic to the people of Tibet.
The gross human violations in Tibet is not a new story and is not hidden from anyone despite the media ban and propagandistic approach adopted by Chinese government to have the control of one’s destiny is the luxury Tibetans don’t have. Young People are abducted from the tribal regions of Tibet and the same are inducted in PLA (People’s Liberation Army), who are then sent to various regions of mainland China wherein they go through the process of political re-engineering; approximately half a million people have already been inducted in PLA from Tibet tribal regions and same are being engineered to serve the agenda of communist China. One of the major internationally recognised research organisations has stated the conditions being equally worse as that in Syria. The excruciating pain shivers the spine when one sees that people are not even allowed to decide on the number of children they can have. The free and fair process of governance in Tibet is just a mirage and the reality, just the opposite. The dilapidated condition of Tibetans is mostly being ignored and not reported, however, the reports which come out as Tibetans flee from Tibet in search of a peaceful asylum are very disturbing. The missing list of people from Lhasa and adjoining areas is growing and no political rival is left unmonitored. The accounts of the torture being administered to politically active workers in Tibet has seen no parallel.
The fear of losing identity is among the worst fears any community can encounter. The cultural identity and the religious identity of the people of Tibet is among the worst hit. Tibet and China are culturally diverse and have very little to nothing in common. The Chinese, however, are trying to impose their culture in Tibet which would subsequently mean the lost Tibetan culture. The freedom of religious expression is even more hit. The interference in the elections for Dalai Lama by China is not only protested against, but the proxy Dalai Lama which has been put in place in Tibet is not even revered by the people of Tibet. Tibetans have a strong notion of being separated from their religion and fears of Chinese Buddhism taking over Tibetan Buddhism under the protection of communist China. This is one of the grave situations as far as the freedom to profess and practice of religion is concerned.
The world needs to come together to solve this issue of gross human rights violation among other conflicts.
The US, UK and India have been actively involved in resolving the long pending issue of Tibetans. The US and allied parties have actively participated in resolving the issues around the globe and the same needs to be done in case of Tibet. The democratic powers across the globe should come forth to rescue Tibet from this situation. The Bills must be passed in their respective Parliaments to put pressure on Chinese government to secure rights for Tibetan people. After the US under the Trump regime passed the Bill of Tibet Act, the Biden-led government should smear ahead the campaign while including Tibet in their main agenda. Given China’s increasing assault on Tibetan human rights, the US has a larger role to play. They must appoint and empower an individual coordinator committed to the plight of Tibet. White House must step in to curb China’s role in picking up Next Dalai Lama. The world powers should come ahead and declare the situation as genocide of human rights seeking UN intervention. If the Biden administration chooses to lead it, this might result in exerting control over a situation where China is attempting to assimilate the culture and persecuting the religion.
Tibetans are peace and progress-loving people, however, that has to come along with meaningful freedom.
We also urge the people across the globe to help us raise the issue of Tibet before the world community and be part of securing a meaningful solution.
Lobsang Sangay Sikyong – President of the Tibetan-government-in-exile, called Central Tibetan Administration. Co-author is Karma Choeying, CTA official Spokesperson. Views are personal