Why I Think China’s Occupation Has Benefited Tibet

Posted by Vivashwan Singh in GlobeScope
January 28, 2017

Tibet has dependably been an integral part of China. This could be a shortsighted and erroneous view, yet Tibetan history is muddled to the point that one can perceive in it what one wishes. The Chinese can overlook a few periods and indicate others; they can refer to the year 1792, when the Qing Emperor sent a Chinese armed force to help the Tibetans drive out the attacking Nepalese, or justify that from 1728 to 1912 there were Qing Ambans (high officials), administrators of the monarchy, positioned in Lhasa (as mentioned by Warren W Smith Jr. in “Tibetan Nation: A History Of Tibetan Nationalism”). For the Qing Dynasty, Tibet was crucial because it acted as a shield from their enemies due to its geographic elements.

Ambans and armed forces were sent to ensure that Tibet lives in peace, however they rolled out very few administrative improvements, and there was no push to compel the Tibetans to receive the Chinese dialect or Chinese traditions. In the Qing view, Tibet was a piece of China yet in the meantime it was something other than what’s expected; the monasteries and the Dalai Lamas were permitted to keep up authority over most internal issues.

In 1912, as the Qing empire collapsed and China attempted to beat the dominion of imperialist foreign powers, Tibet gained importance for new reasons of patriotism. Educated people and political leaders, including Sun Yat-sen (first president of Republic of China), trusted that China’s historical claim for Tibet had been encroached by Western forces, especially Britain, which attacked Tibet in 1904 to compel the 13th Dalai Lama to establish diplomatic ties and resolve territorial dispute between Sikkim and Tibet.  

As Tibet kept slipping from Chinese control, a constant flow of nationalistic talks shoved Tibet into a well-known example of embarrassment by outside forces, as Hong Kong went to the British, Manchuria and Shandong to the Japanese, Taiwan to the U.S. In the Indian context, this would mean the liberation of  Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and now Kashmir, would the Indians approve of it? China couldn’t afford giving up the control of its territory anymore. When Chairman Mao Zedong established the People’s Republic of China, in 1949, Tibet was considered along with the country’s pre-prominent assignment: the reunification of the homeland.

Tibet along these lines had changed from a shield of the Qing dynasty to a leading piece in Communist China’s vision of itself as an autonomous state which would be free from an imperialist impact. This issue addresses sovereignty, it addresses the solidarity of China, and particularly it addresses the issue of the West as a predator, the violator of Chinese sovereignty. At the point when the Chinese talk about pre-1951 Tibet, they emphasise the weaknesses of Tibet’s medieval feudal-religious government. Tibet’s life expectancy was a mere 36 years; 95% of Tibetans were uneducated; 95% of the populace were serfs and slaves in the possession of nobles and monasteries. Tibet was completely a slave society where people were beheaded for their mistakes.

Tsepon Lungshar, was an official educated in England who introduced reform for Tibet in the 1920s. After losing a political struggle he was sentenced to be blinded by having his eyeballs dodged out. The following is an excerpt from Melvyn C Goldstien’s book “The History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The Demise of The Lamaist State”, “The method involved the placement of a smooth, round yak’s knucklebone on each of the temples of the prisoner. These were then tied by leather thongs around the head and tightened by turning the thongs with a stick on top of the head until the eyeballs popped out. The mutilation was terribly bungled. Only one eyeball popped out, and eventually the ragyaba (untouchables) had to cut out the other eyeball with a knife. Boiling oil was then poured into the sockets to cauterize the wound.”

“As signs of the lamas’ power, traditional ceremonies used body parts of people who had died: flutes made out of human thigh bones, bowls made out of skulls, drums made from human skin. After the revolution, a rosary was found in the Dalai Lama’s palace made from 108 different skulls.”

Tibet is scantily populated. The 3 million Tibetans are insufficient to deal with the challenge of developing such a colossal region. I believe there’s no harm in sending Hans (ethnic Chinese people) into Tibet to help them. The Chinese are doing what is best for Tibetans and in what capacity can they advance at a quick pace, and develop along with modernization in China. The fact is that the Tibetans endured under an awful framework, and the Chinese had an ethical commitment to free them. For the Westerners, this is a troublesome point of view. However, the Chinese have a more grounded authentic claim to Tibet than the United States does to the Gulf region.

The CIA trained and equipped Tibetan guerrillas in the 1950s, amid a crucial period of peaceful cooperation between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese. The peace finished when Tibetan uprisings, in which these guerrillas had an impact, brought about ruthless Chinese suppression and the Dalai Lama’s flight to India. The Dalai Lama is intentionally concealing the corrupt history of Tibet, to cheat the sensitivity of a few people who are ignorant about reality, to gain support. Tibetans were routinely purchased and sold as slaves, and torture for revolting against Dalai Lama included eye-gouging, tongue slashing and cutting of limbs as mentioned by Rebecca Redwood French in the book “The Golden Yoke: The Legal Cosmology Of Buddhist Tibet”.

Even this claim of his in is in doubt, due to the fact that Tibet’s population at the end of the Second World War was only 2.5-2.7 million. If that’s true then and today Tibet’s population which is approaching 3.18 million is a miracle. Polygamy and polyandry was broadly practised in Tibet. In an interview in 1993, despite claiming to be a feminist, Tenzin Gyatso (the 14th Dalai Lama), claimed that “beautiful women are his weakness”.  In another interview with the BBC, he made a sexist remark saying that his successor could be a woman but her “face must be very very attractive, otherwise not of much use“. Tibetan women have been made to feel ashamed of their gender and the very word used to address them means “inferior birth“. Most shockingly, Tibetan customs allowed a husband to cut off the tip of his wife’s nose if he discovered she had slept with someone else. Upper monks could force poor monks to take their religious exams or perform sexual services. (In the most powerful Tibetan sect, such homosexual sex was considered a sign of holy distance from women.) A small percent of the clergy were nuns. What were the Dalai Lamas, who preach peace nowadays, doing when all this was happening under their knowledge?

The Dalai Lama once used to be the person everybody needed at their gatherings. However, since China’s development as an economic superpower, he has turned into an awkward guest to welcome. The Chinese government recently warned India against Pranab Mukherjee’s meeting with Dalai Lama. Furthermore, Tibetans won’t be having very beautiful women as the Dalai Lama, since Communist party of China will be appointing the next successor. Dalai Lama claims himself to be a staunch believer of Tibetan tradition, but there came a time when he called himself a Marxist and showed interest in joining the communist party of China.  Today, Dalai Lama is nothing but the single most prominent risk to the unity of the China.

As per the Chinese government, a huge number of Han (ethnic Chinese) labourers have served in Tibet since the 1950s. Taxes levied in Tibet were not remitted to China; Tibetan peasants have got tax-free leases of land from the government, and a particular duty code has been built up to encourage business. Low-interest loans are accessible, and trade imports from Nepal are duty-free too. In spite of the meagre local revenue, government venture is consistently building up a modern infrastructure.

From 1952 to 1994 the Chinese government put $4.2 billion in the area, and in 1994 CPC started 62 noteworthy infrastructure ventures for which the possible speculation is required to be more than $480 million (in “Travelers’ Tales Tibet: True Stories by James O’Reilly and Larry Habegger). Recently, China has invested another $21 billion in Tibet which include 226 major construction projects.

It is evaluated that more than 90 percent of Tibet’s administration income originates from outside the region. Western reports regularly refer to the misuse of Tibetan assets as a colonial feature, which is totally misleading. In spite of the fact that China is positively doing what it can with Tibet’s timber and mineral resources, China spends a tremendous measure of money in the area.

In 1996 China spent some $600 million in Tibet (from the book “Light At The Edge Of The World: A Journey Through The Realm Of Vanishing Cultures). No country is going to assist Tibet with that kind of monetary help as that of China. The Chinese have constructed Tibet’s state funded education framework starting from scratch. Before they touched base, in 1951, there were no state-funded schools in Tibet, though now there are more than 4,000. In a poor region like Tibet such policies are admiringly generous (as in “Education And Reform In China” edited by Emily Hannum and Albert Park). Chinese investment was expected to induce financial development in Tibet, yet in the meantime, the Hans ought to be more conscious of Tibetan culture and shouldn’t force them into atheism. The cadres are expected to learn Tibetan; the language should be utilized as a part of government workplaces serving people in general and religion should be permitted more liberty. 

It is frustrating to see that so many resources and so much manpower has been invested into a poor nation for its enhancement and the nation has only given unhappiness in return. Moreover, frequently I felt that the common men, who knew little of Tibet’s complicated history and social issues, were being manipulated by the Dalai Lama in ways they didn’t comprehend. I wish I could tell them that in India there are many people who boast of “Free Tibet” fridge magnets, T-shirts, posters etc, yet they have overlooked Kashmir and the tribal people in the north-east who are struggling along similar lines as in Tibet. The Indian forces have been torturing and humiliating the inhabitants in both the regions, yet no Indian would agree to declare Kashmir and the north-eastern regions independent. Freedom for Tibet is not just an instance of freedom from China and the restoration of traditional values. Around 70% Tibetans live below poverty line. Poverty cannot be eradicated on the basis of a colourful culture. The traditions and spirituality alone won’t enhance financial conditions. Chinese occupation of Tibet cannot overshadow the development been done in Tibet under the guidance of Chinese Communist Party.

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