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Free Tibet

By , Boulder, CO
Tibet, a mysterious land full of rich culture and tradition, a place full of majestic mountains and staggering beauty, is captive, in a cage, and watched by the Chinese government every moment of every day. The benefits to the Tibetan people are scarce and their ancient culture is being destroyed by this arrangement. The Chinese Government should let Tibet be an independent nation once again.

Being part of China is not and never has been the will of the Tibetan people. In 1950, the dictator of China, Mao Zedong, invaded Tibet with 30,000 troops. Due to this crisis, the 14th Dalai Lama was forced to rule Tibet at age 16, before his training was done, rather than the required 18 years old. Then, in 1951, the Chinese Government proposed a “peaceful liberation of Tibet.” With this agreement, China gained control of the Tibetan military and foreign affairs. However, Tibet had no modern army to fight back so they asked the U.N. for help, but received no support. Therefore, having no choice, Tibet “agreed” to join China. After the agreement, China’s promises were distorted. China promised to build roads, schools, hospitals, and new industry. Roads were built, but for military supplies. Schools were created to “re-educate” the Tibetan people. Tibetans were forced to pledge loyalty to China. Those who did not were beaten. In 1956, Tibetans rebelled, but were bombed immediately by the Chinese. Over twenty years after the invasion, Tibet’s economy is in very bad shape, industries only benefited the Chinese. Clearly, the Tibetan people would rather be independent from China.

Under Chinese rule, Tibetan people are unable to maintain their sacred culture and religion. “Today, the religion, culture, language and identity, which successive generations of Tibetans have considered more precious than their lives, are nearing extinction; in short, the Tibetan people are regarded like criminals deserving to be put to death,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama during a speech (14th Dalai Lama). In the region of Tibet, the Chinese population dilutes the Tibetan population with 7.5 million Chinese and only 6 million native Tibetans (Heinrichs). The Chinese government encourages settlement in Tibet for that purpose. Also, Tibetan children are taught Chinese ways with Chinese ideals. Tibetan children used to learn in monasteries, learning medicine, religion, metaphysics, philosophy, and reading. However, after the Chinese banned religious education in 1959, the schools that children now attend do not teach them valuable information about their culture. Tibetan culture and history is taught through Chinese versions and schools teach Mandarin, not the Tibetan language. In fact, the Chinese government has been destroying sacred Tibetan literature. For example, after the Chinese invasion, the Chinese have destroyed 60% of traditional Tibetan literature (Heinrichs, pg.65). This crucial literature now only exists in the memorization of monks.
In addition, marriage and family laws were changed by the Chinese. Before, Tibetan monks took vows not to marry, but after the invasion, monks were forced to marry. The size of the family is controlled as well, with urban families allowed only two children and rural families allowed three. There are fines for not following these laws. The Chinese government also put bans and laws on Tibetan religion. Before the 1950’s, there were 6,200 monasteries in Tibet (Heinrichs). The Chinese have destroyed most of the monasteries. Some were rebuilt and a few young men have been allowed to become monks again, but there are not enough monks to carry on traditions. The Chinese use monks and monasteries as tourist attractions. The government controls the selection of Lamas as well. They must be told when a Lama is selected and controls the Lama’s upbringing. It is clear that with the Chinese government in control, the culture and religion of the Tibetan people is truly at risk.

The Chinese are depriving the Tibetans of their resources which they should be able to use as they choose. Tibetan beliefs keep them from mining because they believe that it disturbs the spirits living there. The Chinese have built major mines regardless of the opinion of the Tibetan people. They mine half of the world’s lithium and gold, silver, lead, zinc, tin, mercury, coal, salt, arsenic, sulfur, mica, radium, plutonium, jade, borax, iron ore, uranium, and chromites, too. This disrespectful mining brings in cash for the Chinese and shame for the Tibetans. Also, there is an abundance of ideal farmland in Tibet. This is because it is sunny very often and crops grow well there. The Chinese government keeps very strict laws on Tibetan farmland, though, making it hard for Tibetans to own and work land. In addition, Tibet has vast forests. The forests have precious trees such as pine, spruce, fir, poplar, willow, and cypress trees. Since the invasion, the Chinese have deforested a great deal of land to the Tibetan peoples’ displeasure. This disrespect to Tibetan land and resources must end.

The Chinese occupation of Tibet is the less than ideal for Tibet and its people. Tibet should be free, an independent nation once again. The Chinese government disrespects the Tibetan people and creates no benefits. They took Tibet by force, have destroyed and continue to destroy Tibetan culture and religion, and have used Tibetan resources for their own gain. It’s wrong. If this issue is ignored, another culture, another nation, another group of people will be lost forever. Anyone can help Tibet by learning more and getting involved at www.freetibet.org.





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