Why Tibet? – OpEd


The intense cases of self immolation amongst Tibetan monks and nuns have been successful in drawing international attention. 21 Tibetan supporters have set themselves alight to protest against the draconian Chinese regime. Why are the Tibetans desperately ending their lives by setting themselves in fire? What is the motive behind that act? Palden Choetso was only 18 when she set her ablaze. Another nun named Tenzin Choedron from the Sichuan province was 19 years old. Why are these youths so desperate to end their lives? China will have to answer the cause of this repression that has crossed humanitarian limit. The fanatical wave of self immolation has questioned the legitimacy of China’s human rights policies.

Tibet is known as the country of immense plateau. It had a peaceful history until the Chinese invasion changed everything. The Tibetan monks were no match for the overwhelming Chinese army thus in 1951, Tibet was forcefully taken. Twenty thousand soldiers had poured into Tibet for its 50,000 population. Thousands of monks lost their lives during the crusade. Despite being a peaceful community, unable to retaliate against the Chinese regime, the Tibetan Monks were subjected to rigorous torture. After the intrusion, a large chunk of Tibetans fled towards India along with their spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

In 1989, Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace prize. This was a true recognition of Tibet and the Tibetans. Protests followed as usual however the Chinese government turned deaf ears. China considers Tibet as its integral part and strictly reacts against any country advocating on behalf of Tibet. The world has witnessed China’s imperialistic policy in taking over Tibet. The only flaw that Tibet had was that it was a small country, weak and non- violent. Despite being a member of the United Nation, China has grossly violated the UN charter. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, ‘Everyone has the right to nationality; It also states that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality’.

The issue of Tibetan independence is almost a forgotten agenda today. Had it been a strong country, the political equation would have been different? During the gulf war, when Kuwait was invaded by Saddam Hussain, the world powers drove him back with instant retaliation. Due to the booming Chinese economy and its grand military power, no country dares to raise voice in favour of Tibet? The United Nations charter does not fit anywhere in the case of Tibet.

Before the onset of Beijing Olympic, new waves of protests rose all over Tibet. Tibetans dwelling in different parts of the world launched anti-Chinese demonstrations. The revolt was brutally crushed. On the 20th of March 2009, the Tibetan protestors were beaten ruthlessly for chanting Pro-Tibet slogans. Chinese Authority has been constantly denying of torture but the video footages shot during the unrest clearly refute their claim.

After the Chinese takeover, Tibet has changed a lot in terms of development. They introduced huge migration policy by allowing the Han population into Tibet. They flocked from all sides and overtook business and shops. Later the Tibetans became a minority in their own country. China was hugely criticized by the Human Rights Groups for forcibly quelling the movement and exercising cultural genocide in Tibet. Monks were beaten and tortured to death, monasteries were destroyed and religious practice halted.

This incident further exacerbated China’s Human Rights record. The insurgency that took the lives of thousands of Monks and rendered tens of thousands homeless has become an old story now. Nobody has time for Tibet today. Tibetans in exile, human rights group organize Pro-Tibet programs now and then but nothing substantial has been done to redeem the loss. Out of sheer desperation, the monks and the nuns have been actively engaged in self-immolation, a new form of protest.

The US and the European powers are passive about Tibet. The Chinese authorities have been tagging the exiled leader Dalai Lama as ‘Jackal in a monk’s robe.’ He has been accused of plotting revolt in and out of Tibet. The world knows the reality of how the small nation lost its sovereignty. China must step down from its ultra-ambitious policy and hold talks safeguarding the fundamental rights of the exiled Tibetan population. The story of Tibet questions the fundamental aspects of human rights. The reality that Tibet was a free country cannot be distorted or forgotten. In this modern age, living with repression is the worst form of torture. China must understand the true nature of their hegemony and free Tibet.

Nabin Kumar Chhetri

Nabin Kumar Chhetri is a Nepalese author and a member of The Scottish Pen. His works have appeared in The International Herald Tribune, The Statesman, Eurasia Review, The Kathmandu Post, Nepal News and The Darjeeling Times. He can be reached at [email protected]

3 thoughts on “Why Tibet? – OpEd

  • March 2, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Yes..i agree…Tibet was a free nation and china must leave Tibet and let the Tibetans govern their life…
    Unfortunately,the governments of the world are playing realpolitik and are passive…but the people are ovewhelmingly in favor of a free Tibet….

  • March 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    The Tibetan agenda has created a confusion. china will have to deal with it in a humane way.

  • March 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    South china tiger has been annihilated- its body parts were used in chinese medicine. South of china, Tibetans are endangered too – they are the next target. Besides “self immolation” deaths, massive refugee populations who departed and via attacks on Tibetans by china’s forces. Tibetans are minority in their own country due to chinese brought in from china. Tibet’s gold, minerals, land, timber, waters and mountains have been raided and are being sucked out by china. What Mao-dze-dung’s successors of communist red china are saying regarding ownership of Tibet is similar to what communist USSR leaders and the Tsars said about Turkestan, Armenia, Georgia etc (formerly of USSR) being under control of historic Russia. Russia backed off and freed them. The same should be done by china for Tibet.

    China’s year of the tiger is a fraud and a farce because of the absent tiger, and the same will happen with Tibet and Tibetans. Tibetans and Tibetan culture are alive only because of Dalai Lama and Tibetan refugees who managed to escape. Tightening control on Tibetans will continue this “annihilation”. FREE TIBET NOW!!


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