Over 1.2 million Tibetans died between 1949 and 1979. China still claims that what occurred during this period was the “peaceful liberation” of Tibet. But the whole world must know that there are so many unanswered questions about how these mass murders occurred and who is really responsible.
Tibet known as the ‘roof of the world is an Asian nation, situated between the two ancient civilisations of China and India, separated from the former by the mountain ranges to the east of the Tibetan Plateau and from the latter by the towering Himalayas.
In 1949, China’s new leader, Mao Zedong – widely regarded as the most prolific mass murderer in human history – decided to invade it, with the help of Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin. In 1949, Mao’s so-called People’s Liberation Army invaded the area under the pretence of emancipating the Tibetan people. They quickly defeated the small Tibetan Army and corrosively forced the government of Tibet to sign the Seventeen Point Agreement in May 1951, a covenant tying Tibet to communist China.
With over 40,000 troops situated in Tibet and growing repression by the Chinese heavily felt, many Tibetans began to fear for the future of their country, so resistance movements started to form.
China’s occupation has attempted to destroy Tibetan culture and national identity. Although this has brought superficial improvements to the region, human rights are extremely limited with thousands imprisoned for exercising basic freedoms.
Over 6,000 monasteries have been systematically destroyed in Tibet in an attempt by China to eradicate native religious identity. On top of this, China’s excavation of Tibet’s natural resources has had a crippling effect on livelihoods of those living in rural communities.
Thousands of Tibetans, including Buddhist monks, lost their lives in major Tibetan protests against the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959, 1987, 1988, 1989 and 2008 to the present. By 1959, discontent with the Chinese occupation had become widespread and culminated in a mass popular uprising on March 10 1959. This uprising was quickly and brutally suppressed by Chinese troops resulting in more than 90,000 deaths in Lhasa alone. In 2008, over 200 Tibetans were killed, thousands were imprisoned and hundreds simply disappeared.
Since 2009, at least 135 Tibetans have self-immolated, with more than 116 of those resulting in death. This wave of suicides have all been in response to China’s regime and their ongoing crackdown in Tibet.
These acts savagely reveal the extent of the grievances that Chinese policies exact upon Tibetans, which in turn has exacerbated resentment Chinese government both in and out of the country. Besides being dull at times and silent strike until world leaders take action on Tibet, Beijing continue to be harsh, restricting freedoms and basic human rights – intensified grievances and exacerbated the resentment felt across the region.
The regime is committing a form of ‘cultural genocide’ in Tibet – eliminating Tibetan culture, language, and national identity once again for what many believe is another Chinese false-flag policy.
Thousands of Chinese troops are currently stationed in Tibet and monks and nuns have been subjected to increasingly harsh “patriotic re-education” programmes. Tibetans have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for advocating for the right to use their language, and the friends and families of Tibetans who have self-immolated have been interrogated and severely punished.
Naturally, many living within Tibet and a distinct proportion of the world view this as a Chinese false-flag operation. Many leading Chinese intellectuals, artists, lawyers and writers in China point to the Chinese government and its policies as the cause of the self-immolations and the growing resentment of the Tibetan people. Unsurprisingly, China refute this.
In 2011, Zhu Weiqun – of the CCP United Front – boldly proposed abolishing all reference to nationality on the identity cards that Chinese citizens must carry for inspection. This latest step towards erasing Tibetan identity as a category with legal meaning has not spontaneously appeared. It has a lineage and is best understood in the context of a steady, deliberate, two-sided strategy that has been implemented over the past 20 years.
Prior to Weigun’s proposal, in 2010, the language of instruction in Tibetan schools was changed from the native language to Chinese. It was met with widespread protest from thousand of students.
But let us accept the proposition that China did warn those Tibetan officials in a recent crackdown. Can that really help the communist regime’s cause? Didn’t China destroy more than 6,000 monasteries and institutions? Didn’t the regime kill at least 1.2 million Tibetans? Didn’t they do the same thing in 2008? Didn’t the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu of South Africa end up saying, “China must stop naming, blaming and verbally abusing one whose life has been devoted to non violence, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Laureate“?
What was the purpose of giving a warning when Tibetans were going to be severely punished anyway? Didn’t the Chinese jail more non-violent people than terrorists? Didn’t they attack unarmed protesters while they were protesting peacefully?
Mao Zedong killed an estimated 49-78 million people during China’s Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976. From Mao to Hu Jintao, one after another, the Chinese dictators have taken full control over the lives of their citizens. Today, China is more brutal and inhumane than any other communist regime in the world. The beginning of the 21st century continues to be a time of genocide and violence for the people of Tibet.
Make no mistake that the economic growth that China has seen is not due to its people. It is because of its use of cheap labour, poisonous fake products, unending propaganda, corrupt government officials, nationalistic land thieves, and evil authoritarians. The country has been moving steadily towards downplaying, forgetting, even erasing ethnic difference, as a key policy that has existed since the start of the CCP’s reign.
China should remember that the immediate cause of the Soviet Union’s collapse was ethnic nationalism. Thus China should do all it can to nurture concepts such as ethnic autonomy and self-determination, with special rights and responsibilities guaranteed for legally classified ethnic minorities. Unlike Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan, Tibet, as another part of mainland China, is treated in a totally different way.
Many say the CCP defines people in Hong Kong and Macau as Chinese but not Tibetans. There lies the contradiction. On the one hand, the official policy is that Tibetans are part of their family. On the other, they grant one constitutional system to Hong Kong and Macau, yet deny it to Tibetans.
Perhaps there is a lesson here for all of us. We must understand that we are not the author of history. We are only a part and a product of it. If there is justice in the world, then truth will ultimately win for Tibet. It is just a matter of time. The regime may become even more powerful, but that does not negate the fact that if it continues in its current form, it will encounter a toxic demise. This is encouraging. The regime possesses tremendous resources in the media and politics, but tremendous resources are not necessarily signs of a bright future. In the end, those who have the truth hold the future.
- China says no to foreign rights monitors for Tibet (chinadailymail.com)
- 57th Tibetan sets himself on fire to fight for a free Tibet, that is less and less likely (chinadailymail.com)
- Observations from Tibet: Part 1 Buddhism (chinadailymail.com)
- Observations from Tibet: Part 2 Chinese rule (chinadailymail.com)
- Tibet: Train journey to Lhasa (chinadailymail.com)
- China’s army: Lifting the veil (economist.com)
- The PLA’s New Rule: No More Promotions for Fat Officers (thenanfang.com)
- After long freedom struggle, Tibetans still seeking justice for Tibet (deliberation.info)
- The Mao the merrier: China boom for leader lookalikes (pakistantoday.com.pk)
- Beijing playing long game to supplant US as top dog: analyst (wantchinatimes.com)
Categories: Human Rights & Social Issues