26 October 2013
The ultimate judge of China’s rule in Tibet should be the Tibetan people. Even after 60 years of China’s invasion of Tibet and more than 50 years after Tibet came under the complete control of Beijing in the aftermath of the repression which crushed that year’s popular uprising against Chinese rule, today large parts of Tibet are still under martial law like control. The alarming escalation in desperate forms of protest, including self-immolations, in Tibetan areas, is a clear judgment made by the Tibetan people of China’s sixty years rule of Tibet.
Since 2009, over 121 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest against the Chinese government’s continued occupation of Tibet. The self-immolators have called for freedom for Tibetans and the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
The white paper issued by China’s State Council on Oct. 22, it is clear that economic and material development have failed Tibetans in their struggle to survive as a people with a distinct culture.
In fact, the latest white paper is an attempt to cover up the darkest period experienced by the Tibetan people after China’s invasion of Tibet. No less a figure than Hu Yaobang, the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, who visited Lhasa in 1980, apologized to the Tibetan people and said the conditions in Tibet were worse than pre-1959 Tibet. The late Panchen Lama, said in 1989, a few days before his untimely death, that China’s rule in Tibet brought greater suffering than benefit for the Tibetan people. Over 1.2 million Tibetans died as a direct result of Chinese communist rule and more than 6,000 monasteries were razed to the ground.
Interestingly, no other minorities in China have been the object of so many white papers. In light of growing public awareness and sympathy for the Tibetan cause, China is constantly challenged to justify the legitimacy of its presence in Tibet.