zomg Free Tibet ;)

February 25, 2010
1.2 million Tibetans have lost their lives since the beginning of Chinese occupation in 1949. That is over one sixth of the total population of Tibet. Tibet was a peaceful, Buddhist country with a unique culture and a distinctive national identity, until the newly created People’s Republic of China invaded Tibet and seized control of the government. Since then, China has been treating Tibet as an imperialistic colony, exploiting its resources and peoples, and ruining their national identity. I personally believe China must release Tibet from its grasp and allow it to become a free and independent sovereign state, letting go of the peaceful Himalayan country and allowing the independent people of Tibet their right to self determination.

The Chinese attempted to integrate Tibet into their country, but have only succeeded in turning it into a colony, a rural outpost on the flanks of the greater nation. Thanks to ambitious resettlement plans by the Chinese government, Tibetans are now a minority in their own country. The Chinese government encourages native Chinese to settle Tibetan towns, subsidizing their moving expenses and offering those higher wages who are willing to move to Tibet, so now the percentage of Chinese people vastly outweighs the native Tibetans. Not only do they encourage the Chinese resettlement of Tibet, but they are commercializing the Tibetan culture, diluting it with Chinese, as well as Western ideals. What was once a rich and vibrant nomadic culture has been thinned into a couple of tourist towns that are the Asian equivalent of the “Wild Wild West”, with Chinese tourists flowing in to soak up the seemingly “authentic” culture. China has ruined the ancient culture of Tibet in the span of fifty years.
Not only is the traditional Tibetan way of life threatened, but Chinese development and industry is inflicting serious damage to the fragile and distinctive ecosystem of the Tibetan plateau. Strip-mining, nuclear waste dumping, and extensive deforestation, all supported by the Chinese government, are destroying once-pristine wilderness. Not only that, but the industrial development of Tibet benefits the Chinese, not the Tibetan people, sending the output of these industrialization to China. The Tibetans, however, do not support the industrialization of their country. The Chinese have shown themselves to be poor environmental advocates, as they are the most polluted country in the entire world, and soon Tibet will be in a similar situation. Reminiscent of the African colonies of the Europe during the age of imperialism, China is wringing Tibet out, squeezing every last drop from the weak country, until eventually, it will be void of resources.
Hopefully, the Chinese would be treating the Tibetan people with dignity, while taking advantage of their state, but instead, the basic human rights that all people should have are denied to the Tibetan people. Freedom of speech, assembly and religion are all limited by the Chinese government. The restrictions on religion are an especially heavy blow to the Tibetans, who are deeply Buddhist, and were governed since the 17th century by their religious leader, the Dalai Lama, until the Chinese seized control. The Dalai Llama was forced to flee his country and people in 1959, dedicating himself to nonviolence and civil disobedience after the takeover of his own country. China also treats Tibet as a police state, fearing an uprising of the Tibetan people and responding with heavy militarization and creating a huge infrastructure of roads and waterways convenient for moving a large army across a country. Tibetans who question Chinese control are incarcerated without a trial, and torture is a commonly used practice within jails. China has made it clear by these actions that it is not treating Tibetans with the respect and justice that all people have a right to.
China defends its claim to Tibet by arguing that Tibet is legally a province of China, that the treaty signed in 1949 after the defeat of the Tibetan army proves it. But the treaty was signed because of the threat of 40,000 Chinese troops in Tibetan territory, not because the Tibetans wanted the Chinese to govern them. Another excuse the Chinese have for the occupation of Tibet is that the Chinese government is making life better for the Tibetans, by developing industries in Tibet and modernizing the economy. However, all the money China is pouring into Tibet isn’t helping the Tibetans, its helping the Chinese. The Chinese who move to Tibet get the best jobs, while the Tibetans are stuck with the menial, lower class work. The Chinese are unfairly occupying a conquered nation, forcing foreign viewpoints on an already weak country.
Therefore, China is not only occupying Tibet without the consent of the Tibetan people, but detrimental to the Tibetans as a whole. The Tibetan people yearn for self control, as nationalism has shown us in the past, with the Greek’s quest for independence as well as the self-determination of countless African nations. We are past the age of imperialism by two hundred years, and there are very few countries in the world today that are still being unjustly governed by the tyranny of a foreign government. Not only that, but China has proved itself unworthy of governing Tibet by exploiting the Tibetan environment, discouraging the Tibetan culture, and denying the Tibetan people of their basic rights. If China ceased to occupy Tibet, the Tibetan people would be far better off. The international community must pressure China to release Tibet from its imperialist grasp, as they did in the example of the Greeks and the Ottoman Turks in 1829. We must encourage the independence of the Tibetan people through peaceful demonstration and activism, pleading with the Chinese government for the release of Tibet. Tibet must become independent from China.





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