The Tibetan Independence Movement Essay

This essay has a total of 1137 words and 7 pages.

The Tibetan Independence Movement



History of East Asia

The Tibetan Independence Movement

The Independence of Tibet is one of the hottest topics in the world today, undoubtedly due
in part to the massive media exposure and attention given to the Dalai Lama and his
movement in America. Recent Movies such as Kundun, The Wind Horse, and the extremely
popular Seven Years in Tibet have had an astounding impact on the arousal of international
awareness of Tibet’s situation with China. This impact and the establishment of the
Tibetan Independence Movement as a major issue on the international platform has lead to
the argument by supporters of Chinese rule of Tibet that interventionists have based their
arguments on ‘history according to Hollywood‘.


Have these films swayed public opinion and perhaps even influenced America’s foreign
policy regarding China? My answer would be yes. But to argue that it is the basis and the
only knowledge of the relationship between Tibet and China is a vain attempt by the
Chinese to portray the stance of most of the free world as the work of capitalist
propaganda. As an American, I find it insulting that Many of the Chinese-over-Tibet
supporters look upon Americans as being so easily influenced by the media that we would
use a Hollywood production as the basis for promotion of Tibetan Independence described by
one Chinese advocate:


“Humanitarian Interventionists and Benevolent Global Hegemonists, most of whom lack even a
rudimentary understanding of China’s long and complex history, share a particularly nasty
trait. Many of these Globocops imagine because they have downloaded a few pages of
seperatist propaganda from Tibet.org, and shed a tear or two while watching Seven Years in
Tibet, that qualifies them as China experts. They believe this qualifies them to pass
judgment about whether China “deserves” to remain intact or be forcibly Balkanized by the
worlds only remaining superpower. Their attitude rivals that of the most contemptible 19th
century imperialists”(Chu, Tibetan Chinese are not American Indians).


Of course China has throughout history has viewed itself as the peak of civilization, but
they have also suffered greatly due to their lack of awareness of the world around them.


It is, with little doubt, that China’s position on Tibet is largely affected by
anti-American sentiments. I would argue, even further, that Tibet is viewed by China and
America alike as one of the last fronts of the Cold War. These issues however distracted
me in my readings from the heart of the matter. The question to be answered is not whether
Americans approve or disapprove of China’s actions over Tibet, but rather is China’s
governance over Tibet legal?


In 1949-1951, The Peoples Liberation Army of China took control of China, in the same
decisive action they took it upon themselves to liberate Tibet. In fact what they were
doing was colonizing Tibet under the guise of “liberation from feudal serfdom.” The
Chinese support this action with the claim that Tibet has been under Chinese rule since
the Mongol Yuan (1260-1368) and the Manchu Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. The claim of the
Tibetan Government in exile is that the nature of the relationship between China and Tibet
during those periods was not one of subject-ruler relationship but rather “Tibetan Lamas
established a political-spiritual relationship, known as Cho-Yon, or priest-patron
relationship, with the Mongol empire”(Smith, Tibetan Nation: A history of Tibetan
Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations, p.93). During this period, Tibet remained
politically autonomous, and isolated from any foreign presence. Relations did exist
between China and Tibet, but they were more of a diplomatic than of a subjugative nature.


While Tibet had developed a definite ethnic and cultural identity, China argues that
Tibet’s national identity was always as a part of China, even going as far as to use such
ridiculous arguments as “In the 18th volume of The Encyclopedia Britannica for 1973 and
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