Essay Topic on Tibet
Imagine being arrested for peacefully protesting. Imagine it being a crime to have a picture of the president or a flag in your house. Imagine a forcefully imposed, illegitimate government taking over America and killing off 800,000 Americans. For Tibetans no imagination is required on these issues, this is their reality. In 1950, China forcefully invaded Tibet, defeated their small army, forced them to sign an agreement and has controlled the Tibetan culture and government against their will ever since. Today I’m going to tell you a little bit about the history of Tibetan-Chinese relations, present day life and government in Tibet, what’s being done about this crisis, and what you can do to help. The world owes it to the Tibetans to give them back their homeland and their culture. Immediate action is imperative as the Tibetan people and culture are endangered. We must save them from extinction.
In the early 1900s as China was attempting to expand it’s empire, it decided Tibet was a key territory it needed to control. For years, China and Tibet had had fairly good relations and some stake in the other’s affairs. Now China wanted Tibet to part of its territory. In 1914 the Simla Convention was held between Tibet and China to iron out disagreements over this. It was facilitated by Great Britain who didn’t want the Chinese as the neighbors to it’s India. At this convention, Tibet’s position was articulated by the Tibetan plenipotentiary who said, “ Tibet and China have never been under each other and will never associate with each other in the future.
It is decided that Tibet is an independent state and the precious protector, the Dalai Lama, is the ruler of Tibet in all temporal as well as spiritual affairs.” China said that Tibet was “an integral part of the Republic of China”. In the end they agreed that Tibet would have control over it’s government, government officials, customs and laws, that China couldn’t station large numbers of troops in Tibet, Chinese suzerainty would be recognized and China could keep a commisioner in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital. Unfortunately no agreement could be reached on the exact borders of Tibet and in the end, China refused to sign the agreement.
For years Tibet petitioned to the United Nations, the U.S. and Great Britain for assistance in this matter but nobody answered their pleas. Great Britain no longer cared, because they no longer had stake in India. In 1949, China stated that the “liberation of Tibet” as one of it’s main goals. On October 7th, 1950 The Chinese People’s Liberation Army attacked Tibetans controlling their border. Within two weeks they had defeated the entire army. Tibet was coerced into signing China’s seventeen point agreement. The agreement acknowledged Chinese ownership, but promised that Tibet’s political and economic systems wouldn’t be tampered with by China. It also promised the Tibetan customs, habits and religious beliefs and institutions would remain intact.
Since then the Chinese have killed off somewhere near 800,000 Tibetans. About 173,000 of these deaths were a result of imprisonment in prisons and labor camps, around 98,000 died due to torture (which includes beating, suspension by the arms, electric shock to the mouth and genitals and being put in self confinement cells for long periods of time among other things), 432,000 have been killed while participating in uprisings against the Chinese and around 157,000 have been executed.
Ethnic Tibetans are becoming a minority in Tibet. Over the years, the Chinese have destroyed thousands of Buddhist monasteries in Tibet and banned public religious ceremonies and festivals. The Chinese have basically assumed complete control over the government in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital. The Dalai Lama currently lives in exile in Daramsula, India, which is the site of the Tibetan Government in exile. They work campaigning throughout the world for assistance and trying come up with agreements with China. They have always advocated nonviolence in its relations with China. Maybe that’s why they still aren’t being taken seriously enough.
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