A Dragon In The Land Of Snow

chin.JPG”We are nothing but minority in our homeland.” — Dalai Lama

A red flag over the white ice is the symbol of the strongest communist government of the world dominating a small territory called the ‘roof of the world’. It has been more than 50 years and despite many revolts, Tibet is slowly adjusting with the People’s Republic of China. When Dr. Manmohan Singh visited China recently, Tibetans had high hopes from the Indian Government speaking in favour of their freedom and liberation from the oppressive Chinese. But they were left disappointed after the decision of the Indian Government to ignore this issue and forge personal relations with China to become allies.

Tibet has been a part of China since the Yuan Dynasty. Centuries ago, Manchu and Mongol emperors ruled a large part of Asia and Yuan dynasty was under the control of Mongols who were ruling China. After Mongols, the next major power came with the Manchu rule in China who, on a number of occasions, protected Tibet. Later, the British started annexing Tibet so that it could stop Russia from entering into South-East Asia. However, in the treaty with China in 1906, Britain agreed not to annex the Tibetan territory and declined to interfere in their administration. It was a British fee to the Qing army, who protected the Tibetan state time and again. In 1912, the Republic of China was established and it was with this establishment that brought the end of the Qing dynasty. With this end, Chinese army surrendered to the Tibetan authorities.

In early 1913, Agvan Dorzhiev and two other Tibetan representatives signed a treaty in Urga, proclaiming mutual recognition of their independence from China. However, Agvan Dorzhiev’s authority to sign such a treaty has always been, and still is, disputed by authorities. In 1914, Simla Convention was signed which gave rights to the British to annex some part of southern Tibet and they got Arunachal Pradesh as their part. This is, till date, disputed and has even lead to Sino-Indian war in 1962. Soon after 1914, China started losing control over Tibet with the onset of the First World War It was from then onwards that, till 1933, Tibet was peacefully ruled by the 13th Dalai Lama. Moreover, it was first time in history, in 1951 that Tibet directly came under the control of People’s Republic of China. In 1956, there was rebellion against the Chinese government but this incursion was supported by CIA. From 1956, the revolts have become almost a part of the Tibetan lifestyle with many still unhappy of China taking over Tibet as they feel they were a sovereign country and should remain one. However, this has not been much affect in China, where the red flag is still ruling the people the way it wants. This revolt is not only about a country but more about their spiritual leader, who is in exile and cannot enter his own country. The Central Tibetan Administration, an exile group, says that the People’s Republic of China has actively swamped Tibet with Han Chinese migrants in order to alter Tibet’s demographic makeup while historically, the population of Tibet consisted of primarily ethnic Tibetans.

Where developments are seen in economy in many parts through the introduction of railways and continuously rising GDP, the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) today is thirty times than that before 1950. Workers in Tibet have the second highest wages in China; the TAR has 22,500 km of highways, as opposed to none in 1950. All secular education in the TAR was created after the revolution, the TAR now has 25 scientific research institutes as opposed to none in 1950, infant mortality has dropped from 43% in 1950 to 0.661% in 2000, and life expectancy has risen from 35.5 years in 1950 to 67 in 2000. Even though the development has seen suppression by the Government, especially at the issue of Dalai Lama exile, the Indo-Sino contract may have led to many developments for both the countries. However, no initiatives have been taken either by India where Dalai Lama resides in Dharamshala or by the Chinese Government. However, they do get pressurized when Hollywood actors and actresses speak for helping Tibet to become an independent nation. I feel non-interference of India in this matter is a fair decision since its China’s internal matter and should be sorted out without interference from us.