Historically Tibet has served as a buffer zone between India and China

 Historically Tibet has served as a buffer zone between India and China. In 1959, China occupied Tibet and since then the border has became a contentious issue between India and China. The Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made substantial efforts to create peace with China and they reached an agreement, which is known as the Panchsheel agreement. This was Nehru’s strategy to build a partnership with China to consolidate the non-alignment movement in the world. This Sino India partnership did not last very long. In 1962, China launched a war against India and India lost 3270 Indian soldiers. This was an unprecedented defeat for India and a huge victory for China. Thus both countries suspended their diplomatic relations. In 1979 the countries restored their diplomatic relations and they exchanged a head of the states visit but in 1998, India tested its first nuclear weapon, which China strongly condemned. Again the diplomatic relations between the two countries were suspended but they resumed the again 2005. In 2005 Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited India and established trade relations and strategic dialogue regarding the border dispute. The trade between the two has progressed but border dialogue has not made any notable progress. There has been indirect competition between the two in the North of India and in South East Asia. China has been rapidly advancing its military bases towards the Northern border of India and making its presence seaports in South East Asia. India and China are hugely different in terms of political ideology and culture. Due to these issues, confrontation between the two in the future is inevitable.

The history of the Sino Indian relations began in 1949 when India became the first non-communist state who recognised the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the legitimate government of China. Jawaharlal Nehru was the Indian Prime Minister and was the founding architect of Indian foreign policy, which vigorously opposed global military alignment. India supported the new independent states of Asia to pursue a policy of non-alignment.[1] This was a core Indian foreign policy to approach any other states including China. India viewed China as an essential partner for India to strengthen the non-alignment movement in the world. On the eve of India’s independence, Nehru expressed an “Asian Monroe Doctrine,” which described a complete removal of the Western militaries from Asia,[2] for which cooperation with China was vital. Therefore, Nehru actively engaged with China in the 1950s and as a result India signed an agreement with China, which was known as ‘Panchsheel’ or ‘five principles’, of peaceful coexistence between two nations. In that agreement, India supported the one China policy, which stated that Tibet was a part of the PRC.[3] From 1949 to 1959, these two nations maintained a decade long good relationship. This period was described as “Hindi Chini Bye Bye” which meant that Indians and Chinese were brothers. However, this period of peace came to an end when China ruthlessly cracked down on Tibetan protestors in Lhasa on the 10th March 1959, forcing the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan peoples to flee to India.  India granted refugee status for the Dalai Lama and Tibetan people in India. Thus the relationship between India and China worsened and it lead to the 1962 war between India and China.

The 1962 war between India and China deeply impacted on the contemporary Sino Indian relations. Under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s leadership, India played a leadership role among Asian nations. The Bandung Conference was held in Indonesia in 1955. Jawaharlal Nehru dominated the session by proposing five principles of foreign policy, which were non-alignment, anti-colonialism, anti-racism, peaceful coexistence and respect of others’ territorial integrity.[4] There were twenty-nine state representatives participated in that conference and all members unanimously supported Nehru’s proposal. India gained a substantial legitimacy over international affairs. At the same time the Asian nations expected to see leadership from India and India also claimed itself as a dominant power in Asia. However, in the 1962 Sino India war, China defeated India militarily and psychologically. The war went for thirty-two days and left 3270 Indian soldiers dead, and it proved that India was in a militarily weak position.[5] Therefore, many Asian nations turned away from India because they saw India was unable to provide security for them. India lost its credibility as a great international power – indeed India had to live with great humiliation. This was the worst period in the history of the Sino Indian relations.

The Sino Indian diplomatic relationship was restored between the two countries in 1976. The ambassadors were restored in both countries’ capitals and the ambassadors attempted to make improvements to the relationship by establishing further diplomatic exchange. In 1979, Indian foreign minister Mr Behari Vajpayee visited China and he signed an agreement, which stated that both countries promised to keep peace in the region.[6] In 1988, Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited China. This was the highest Indian politician to visit China since the 1962 war. This was a turning point and both countries hoped it would improve their relationship beyond the war. Indeed, both countries began to look forward to developing their relations. In 1991, the Chinese Premier Li Peng visited India and then in 1993, the Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao went to China. In 1993, the Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited India, marking the first time a Chinese head of state had visited India. During Jiang’s visit, they agreed to build a constructive and cooperative relationship based on the five principles of peaceful co-existence.[7] Above all, the diplomatic exchanges demonstrate that both countries fully restored a diplomatic relationship after the 1962 War. However, there was no progress in regards to border and security issues.

India carried out its first nuclear tests in 1998 and this overturned its diplomatic relationship with China. China vigorously condemned India’s nuclear test and China took the lead in drafting the UN’s Security Council Resolution 1172, which strongly condemned the tests.[8] India understood the consequences of testing nuclear weapons without the United Nations’ permission but the Indian politicians considered it as absolutely necessary to demonstrate India’s security capabilities. China and Pakistan were a constant security threat to India and India viewed the security threat from these countries as inevitable. However, it resulted in China immediately suspending its diplomatic relations with India, viewing India’s nuclear test as a security threat. For two years there were no diplomatic engagements between the two countries. This was the second period in which the complex Sino India relationship was damaged badly.

Sino Indian diplomatic relations resumed in 2000 when the Chinese foreign minister visited India and met with the Indian foreign minister to start a security dialogue. In 2005, the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited India, which was a historic visit because the Premier upgraded the bilateral ties to a strategic level.[9] Premier Wen’s visit produced three points. Firstly, India and China agreed on a strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity in both countries. Secondly, they agreed to establish political guiding principles for the settlement of the disputed boundary issue. Thirdly, they created a five year plan for all-round cooperation and trade between the two countries.[10] Premier Wen’s visit was extraordinarily successful. In the following year Chinese President Hu Jintao visited India, which consolidated the bilateral ties between the two countries. Hu stated that “building trust through trade” was necessary and also declared that the two countries were “not rivals or competitors but partners for mutual benefit.”[11] During this visit, President Hu and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to expand their trade target to $20 billion by 2008.[12] China became India’s largest trading partner in 2008 and it overtook the United States. The trade between the two countries is increasing and diplomatic visits between the two have become quite regular, including heads of the state. However, the core issues between Sino India of the border and security have so far not made any progress.

Historically India and China did not share a contiguous border. Tibet was an independent state, which served as a buffer zone between India and China. In 1959, China occupied Tibet with military force, killing millions of Tibetans. The Tibetan government was lead by the Dalai Lama, who fled to India on 10th March 1959. Since then China claimed that Tibet is a part of Chinese territory, which India reluctantly accepted. Thus, historically China did not share a border with India but since China occupied Tibet, China now shares a border with India. Therefore, China does not know the exact land border demarcation with India, and this is disputed. In 1914, British India, Tibet and China established the Shimla Treaty, which marked the demarcation between Tibet and India’s border, which is known as the McMahon Line.[13] Tibetan representatives and British Indian representatives signed this treaty and they recognised the McMahon Line was the legitimate border between India and Tibet, but China did not sign this treaty because Tibet and China did not agree with their border demarcation according to the Shimla Treaty.[14] Historically India and China both dealt with Tibet in regards to their border issue, but now China occupies Tibet and denies the history of Tibetan government and its legacy. Thus China does not recognise the Shimla Treaty and other Tibetan history. Therefore, China has no clear political guidance to solve the border dispute, nor does India. In history, India always dealt with Tibet with its border issues and they knew how to deal with Tibetans, but they are experiencing difficulties in dealing with the Chinese because they have never dealt with Chinese in regards to border issues. In recent years, the Indian Foreign Minister and the Chinese Foreign Ministers have met several times to discuss the border issues, but unfortunately there has been no sign of progress.

In recent years, the Chinese military have asserted claims over Indian controlled territories. Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh have frequently had Chinese military incursions. Thus, the Indians view the Chinese emerging power not as a peaceful one, but one that poses a serious security threat to India.[15] India sees the China and Pakistan alignment as a form of security threat to India. India also has ongoing extensive border disputes with Pakistan. Thus China and Pakistan’s nuclear cooperation is a clear indication to India that China is trying to indirectly undermine India’s stability. China has increased its influence over India’s neighbours such as Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Historically these countries were strongly influenced by India. Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka have historically and culturally been intertwined with India. However, in recent years, China has been aggressively engaging with these countries by providing unconditional vast aid. China is Myanmar’s largest trading partner and China has supported the military dictatorship in Myanmar for decades. This shows that China is strategically and geographically circling around India from land borders to the sea. China is preparing itself for India to be its major rival and competitor in the twenty first century in Asia.[16]

The competition between India and China is inevitable in the twenty first century in Asia. Historically both countries had been dominant empires in Asia throughout such periods as the Chinese Ming Empire and the Indian Mughal Empire. Today, China and India both want to restore their position in the world like their previous empires. China is already claiming it is a great world power and it is on its way to world super power status. China is the world’s second largest economy with a 1.3 billion population. According to the Fugel estimate, China will overtake the United States by the year 2040 and it will become the world’s largest economy.[17] China gained nuclear status in 1964 when it first tested a nuclear weapon. China is also rapidly modernising its military force by pumping a vast part of the budget into its military program. China developed its first aircraft carrier in 2013 and built aircrafts. The Chinese built the J-15, which is the newest model that China launched in 2010. Compared to China, India is far behind in terms of economic progress and modernising its military force. However, India tested it first nuclear weapon in 1998 and it is part of the world nuclear club. India has also developed a robust military personal with adequate war equipment. India’s economic growth is not as fast as the Chinese economy but it is one of fastest developing economies in the world. Both China and India claim to be the giant powers in Asia. This will be the challenge for the twenty first century in Asia – to keep these two countries peacefully co-existing.

India and China are such different countries politically and culturally. The current Indian government was founded by Mahatma Gandhi and is based on a liberal democratic ideology.  India achieved its independence through a nonviolent movement, which is unlike the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The nonviolent and liberal democratic values are rooted in contemporary Indian politics. Every five years an election takes place and people decide who governs the states. There are various political parties and politicians manage to form a federal government and opposition party. The government is accountable and transparent. India exercises freedom of expression and rights of civil liberty. India runs the freest media and this plays a significant role in its politics.[18] On the other hand, China is unlike India in terms of its political system and its culture. China is a one party system of government and the communist party of China is the only political party. There are no opposition parties therefore the government exercises absolute authority over its people. The communist party decides who governs the country and civilians have no voice in the Chinese political system. In China there is also no freedom of expression. States own the media and independent media is not allowed, thus the Chinese people are heavily influenced by the government’s control. The Chinese government claims that this authoritarianism is suitable for China because Chinese culture is rooted in Confucianism. Confucius views that the state owns absolute authority over its people.[19] These fundamental differences between India and China will pose certain challenges in Asia.

The ideological differences are more severe than geographical differences. In recent world history, the Cold War was based on an ideological confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. It is possible that this could happen between India and China. Many Indians are deeply scared by the 1962 War between India and China. In India, there are high profile politicians who think that a confrontation between India and China will be inevitable, thus they recommend the Indian government to align with Japan and the United States.[20] The confrontation between these two is already taking place when we look at North India and South East Asia. If a confrontation occurred between India and China then opportunities may occur for those nations that lost their independence to China such as Tibet and Xinjiang.

Historically China and India have both claimed to be the major power of Asia; today China claims its reposition in the world, in particular in Asia. India also claims its status as a dominant actor in the region. The previous Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru hoped that both countries could peacefully co-exist but it did not materialise and they went to war in 1962. This created unforgettable resentment in public and vast numbers of Indian politicians viewed China as India’s ultimate security threat in the 21st century. China is rapidly increasing its influence around India’s neighbours such as Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan Myanmar and Sri Lanka. This is a form of an indirect confrontation between India and China.



Chellaney, Brahma, Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan, pp. 153-166 and 186-214.


Chacko, Priya, Indian Foreign Policy: The Politics of Postcolonial Identity from 1947-2004, New York: Routledge, 2012.


Pardesi, Manjeet S. “India in Asia: India’s Relations with Southeast Asia and China, 1962-1991.” India in the World Since 1947, ed Andreas Hilger. New York: Peter Lang, 2012.


Sen, Rajaram. “sino-Indian relations: Dead Weight of Old Mindsets or Opening of New Vistas.” Foreign Policy of India and Asia – Pacific, ed Raja Reddy. New Delhi: New Century Publications, 2012.


Prakash, Arun and Ui, Yang. “Thinking Beyond Nuclear Doctrine and Strategy.” The China – India: Nuclear Crossroads, ed Saalman Lora. Washington: Carbegie Endowment for International Peace, 2012.



Jain, Ash. “Like-Minded and Capable Democracies: A New Framework for Advancing a Liberal World Order.” Council on Foreign Relations, 2013.

http://www.cfr.org/international-organizations-and-alliances/like-minded-capable-democracies-new-framework-advancing-liberal-world-order/p29484 (accessed October, 17, 2013).


Chakravprty, Maj Gen PK. “Chinese Agressiveness: Need for Approperiate Response.” Indian Defence Review, 2013. http://www.indiandefencereview.com/news/chinese-aggressiveness-need-for-appropriate-response/ (accessed September 24, 2013).


Fugel, Robert. “Chinese Estimated Economy by the year” Foreign Policy, 2010. 2040http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/04/123000000000000 (accessed September 24, 2013).

[1] Pardesi, India in Asia: India’s Relations with Southeast Asia and China, 15.

[2] Ibid, 16.

[3] Chellaney, Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan, 161.


[4] Pardesi, India in Asia: India’s Relations with Southeast Asia and China, 15.

[5] Chellaney, Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan, 164.

[6] Sen, sino-Indian relations, 334.

[7] Ibid, 334.

[8] Ibid, 335.

[9] Ibid, 335.

[10] Ibid, 336.

[11] Ibid, 336.

[12] Ibid, 3367.

[13] Chacko, Indian Foreign Policy: The Politics of Postcolonial Identity, 84.

[14] Ibid, 84.

[15] Chakravprty, Chinese Agressiveness: Need for Approperiate Response.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Fugel, “Chinese Estimated Economy by the year”.


[18] Jain, Like-Minded and Capable Democracies: A New Framework for Advancing a Liberal World Order, .6.

[19] Ibid, 6.

[20] Chellaney, Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan, 153-166 and 186-214.


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The Source of India’s rivalry With China

 Historically Tibet served as a geographical buffer zone between India and China. In 1959 China occupied Tibet and this was the beginning of tensions between India and China over their borders, which resulted in the Sino Indian War in 1962. India gave a substantial effort in building a good relationship with China. The Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru was the main creator of India’s foreign policy towards China. According to Chellaney, this policy failed to serve the interests of India. Chellaney stated that as confrontation between India and China was inevitable, India should have supported the Tibetan Independence movement and India should have created allies with the United States and Japan. Furthermore, Chellaney suggested that the Chinese aggression towards India would only grow unless India took a strong and assertive position towards China.

 Tibet is the ultimate source of India’s rivalry with China in contemporary world politics. Tibet was an independent nation until 1959 and served as buffer zone between India and China. Before 1959, there was no conflict between India and China. India was under the Moughul Empire in the fourteen and fifteenth centuries and it was the most powerful empire in Asia. At the same time, the Ming empire in China was the great maritime empire in Asia. These two empires did not clash because they were not sharing any borders. Later in the eighteenth century, British India realised that the independent sovereign state of Tibet was crucial for India’s security. In order to secure Tibet, British India created a treaty known as the Shimla convention, signed on October 1914. This treaty demarcated the borders between Tibet and India. The Tibetan representatives and the British representative, Sir Harry McMahon signed the treaty and the Tibetan government respected this convention and accepted the McMahon line as Tibet’s true border with India. However, in 1959 Tibet lost its independence with the Chinese invasion. The Chinese did not recognise the Shimla treaty because it was signed by Tibetan representatives and British India. This border dispute was the beginning of tensions between India and China.

Chellaney describes the flawed Indian foreign policy in regards to Tibet. In the 1950s, soon after the Chinese communist party won the Chinese civil war, China occupied Tibet. The Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru established diplomatic relations with China when the Chinese communist party declared victory after the Chinese civil war in 1949. In order to maintain India’s relationship with Communist China, India sacrificed its relationship with Tibet. Nehru did not make an effort to preserve Tibetan independence but instead Nehru made a substantial effort to create good relations with China. India was among the first nations who recognised the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government of China.[1] The United States informally requested India to take China’s position on the UN Security Council but Nehru rejected this and he replied that China was a great country and it deserved to be a part of the UN Security Council. This shows that Nehru was over cautious in India’s relationship with China.[2]  Nehru was committed to building good relationship with China. In 1950s, there was slogan as ‘Hindi – Chini Bye Bye’, which means India and China are brothers.[3] Nehru believed that India and China could establish a genuine friendship and live side by side without confrontation. However, this didn’t last long and China launched war against India in 1962 and left some 3270 Indian soldiers dead. Nehru was extremely disappointed as this was just over eight years after China and India signed the Penchsheel Agreement. At this point, India realised that ‘Hindi Chini Bye Bye’ was over and India was deeply humiliated.

Chellaney states that the Indian foreign policy towards China was based on the Penchsheel Agreement, and is PM Nehru’s ideological vision, but on a practical level it failed to serve the interests of India. The Penchsheel Agreement states that Tibet is part of the Peoples Republic Of China. This is the current Indian policy regarding Tibet. Indian politicians and the public know that Tibet was independent nation and China illegally occupied Tibet in 1959 and that an independent Tibet is crucial for India’s peace and security. But the Tibetan issue is unable to be raised because Nehru was the most influential politician in India and he initiated India’s foreign policy on China. In the post Nehru era, the Indian politicians unable to challenge Nehru’s policy toward Tibet, which states Tibet is part of China.

Water resources and border security are the main sources of conflict between India and neighbouring China. The major Asian rivers flow from Tibet, including the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, and these are the major sources of fresh water for India. Chellaney stated that fresh water would become a key issue between India and China. China has built a dam project along the Brahmaputra and they are playing to build more dams along the Brahmaputra[4], which will significantly reduce the flow of Brahmaputra. This will impact the Indian agriculture industry and affect millions of people who are living downstream. This is a similar pattern to what is happening along the Ganges. Due to the increase in the Chinese migration of people into Tibet and the rapid industrialisation of Tibet there has rapid effects of climate change seen and a reduction in the amount of snow and flow of fresh water from Tibet. (Reference) Therefore conflict over water resources is another main issue between India and China.

Since China invaded Tibet, China and India have developed distrust of each other. China has established major military bases in Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). China has built five fully operational air bases, several helipads, and an extensive rail network, and thirty thousand miles of roads. These give the Chinese the ability to rapidly deploy a vast number of soldiers in short period. China has not only military presence in Tibet, but is also building up its nuclear arsenal. In addition, the People Libration Army consider Tibet as a strategic location against India. China has been developing multiple routes to reach India though rail links with Pakistan, Nepal, Burma, and Bangladesh. China is aggressively engaging with these countries and is trying to contain India. Similarly, India has built military bases in the Himalaya regions. India has injected $100 billion into the Indian military modernisation program, which includes the construction of several strategic roads and the expansion of rail networks, helipads and airfields.[5] This program has been designed to secure the Sino India border regions. India believes that China is an immediate security threat to India. Therefore, in order to find astrategic balance between India and China, Tibet must be returned to an independent sovereign state in order to provide a geographical buffer between the two nations.

The confrontation between India and China is inevitable as long as they share border. The conventional dispute between India and China has been border issue but now the water is becoming a primary issue. This would lead serious confrontation between two nations in the future. Therefore, securing Tibet is ultimate source to creating long term secure India.


Chellaney, Brahma, Asian Juggernaut: The Rise of China, India and Japan, pp. 153-166 and 186-214.

Chellaney, Brahma, Stagecraft and Stagecraft, The Battle for Water, no date. http://chellaney.net/(accessed September 2, 2013).

Malik, Mohan, China and India Today: Diplomats Jostle, Militaries Prepare, World Affairs, 2012. http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/article/china-and-india-today-diplomats-jostle-militaries-prepare (accessed September 2, 2013).

[1] Chellaney, The Rise of China, India and Japan, 159.

[2] Ibid, 161.

[3] Ibid,163.

[4] Chellaney, The Battle for Water.

[5] Malik, China and India Today: Diplomats Jostle, Militaries Prepare.

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The Law of the People’s Republic of China on Regional National Autonomy was not implemented in Tibet and instead under Mr Chen Kuiyuan’s regime the rights of the Tibetan people have been suppressed and there has been growing unrest.

China regards ethnic relationships as “plurality and unity within the configuration of the Chinese nation.”  The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has developed policies in line with this view including policies about self-governance of ethnic minorities and religious freedom, preservation of ethnic cultures and language. Under the hardliners rule of the Mao era, the Tibetan ethic regions were strategically divided into five different provinces in order to minimise the Tibetan unrest. This made it more difficult for the liberal minded leaders in the 1980s to implement the “Law of the People’s Republic of China on Regional National Autonomy” (LRNA), which is a law establish to determine the rights to pursue autonomy of ethnic minorities. These more reformist leaders, including Hu Yaobang and the tenth Panchen Lama, tried to rule Tibet within the framework of LRNA when they were working with the Tibetan people in 1980s. However, between 1992 to 2000, Chen Kuiyuan, a hardliner among the communist party, reversed their reform’s when he was acting as the General Secretary of Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR). Thus the more liberal policies regarding culture and religion instigated by Hu Yaobang and the Panchen Lama were lost. Chen’s policy targeted the Tibetan culture by attacking the religious community, intellectuals, the education sector and the Dalai Lama. Chen’s attack on Tibetan culture began in the TAR in 1994 and it spread to other Tibetans regions.  In this way the PRC failed to deliver the provision of LNRA. This has resulted in constant unrest amongst the Tibetan people and in 2008 the Tibetan unrest took the form of a mass protest against PRC’s rule and presently Tibetans are taking drastic action such as self-immolation to protest against PRC rule.

The Law of the Peoples Republic of China of Regional National Autonomy (LRNA) was developed during the reform period in order to give the right to ethnic minorities to be autonomous within the Chinese nation.  However, many of these laws have not been implemented in the Tibetan ethnic regions due to the geographical division of the Tibetan regions into different provinces, lack of self-governance and cultural assimilation by individual leader’s policies. An example of an article of the LRNA, which has not been implemented in Tibetan regions, is article 4 which states, “The organs of self-government of a national autonomous area shall exercise the function and powers of the local organs of states”.[1] This is an important law that allows national autonomous areas to self govern. This law has not been implemented in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) as the highest position of General Communist Party secretary has never been held by a Tibetan and has been always held by a Han Chinese since 1959. This is significant because the General Secretary of the party is the highest representation of the TAR to the central government, therefore the most powerful position in the TAR and this position has the power to make major political decisions which impact on Tibetans.

The issue of self-governance is important because the Tibetan and Han Chinese have vastly different culture, language and religion. This is a barrier for Han officials who do not speak Tibetan language nor understand their cultural needs. The significance of having a non-Tibetan ruler a Tibetan ethnic region was highlighted in the late 1980’s when Hu Jintao was the general communist party secretary of TAR in 1988 to 1992.[2] During that time, the Tibetans protested against Chinese rule in Tibet and they demanded a genuine self-government in Tibet. However, in response to this demonstration, the Chinese authorities heavily cracked down on the protests and many Tibetans were killed. In this case, Hu Jintao failed to assess people’s need and failed to negotiate with Tibetan people, and instead he responded with force. This was violation of the human rights of Tibetans and Hu Jintao was directly responsible.  This highlights the problem of not having a Tibetan leader ruling over a Tibetan ethnic area.

The Tibetan people have asked for autonomy with self-governance under a single administration for all ethnic Tibetans who live cross the region but this has been denied.[3] Currently Tibetans live in five different provinces, the TAR, Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai and Yunnan. This is a problem because in order for Tibetans to effectively self govern, they need to be under a single administration, because decisions made in one region, such as the TAR, do not impact the Tibetans who live outside of TAR. The division of the Tibetan regions under different administrations affects Tibetans in their daily lives, for example, traditionally Tibetans have travelled between the Tibetan ethnic areas for cultural, work, study and religious purposes. For example, a monk who lives outside the TAR may travel to Lhasa in the TAR to pursue further monastic studies, however, because it is under a different administration, they are unable to live there permanently. This is in contrast to the Inner Mongolia and Uyghur regions, which have been given autonomy under a single administration. Therefore, in order to effectively self govern, and to allow traditional regions of common cultural heritage to be united and to allow free access between these areas for cultural and economic purposes it would be better to unite the Tibetan regions under a single administration.

Religious freedom in Tibet is a critical issue that has lead to civil unrest. The Tibetan people are deeply religious minded people and Buddhism is the main religion in Tibet. The provision of the article 11 of the LNAR provides freedom of religion and states that the government will not interfere with individuals or organisational religious activities.[4] However, this article has not been implemented in Tibet and many Tibetans have been punished based on their beliefs. For example, the Dalai Lama has been the spiritual leader of Tibet since the sixteenth century and there is an unbreakable relationship between the Tibetan people and the Dalai Lama. However, the Tibetan people are not allowed to keep Dalai Lama’s picture in their home and if they do, they risk imprisonment. The Chinese Government have denied the religious traditions of the Tibetan Buddhists in the traditional way of selecting spiritual leaders (Lama’s). An example of this is the PRC’s interference in the selection of the 11th Panchen Lama, who is the second highest spiritual leader in Tibet. They denied the Tibetan people selection of the Panchen Lama and they selected a different boy.[5] This is a clear interference of the government into the religious activities of the Tibetan people.

During the reform era, some liberal minded people such as the Chinese Hu Yaobang and the tenth Panchen Lama created new initiatives to preserve Tibetan culture and religion. In particular their policies were in accordance with article 10 of LNAR which states:

The organ of self-government of national autonomous areas shall guarantee the freedom of the nationalities in these areas to use and develop their own spoken and written languages and their freedom to preserve or reform their own folkways and customs.[6]

In the 1980’s under Hu Yaobang and Panchen Lama’s leadership, strategies for economic recovery and cultural restoration were made in order to help the Tibetan people to recover from the culture destruction inflicted by the Cultural Revolution. They established Tibetan schools and Tibetan universities, which educated Tibetans in their traditional arts including Tibetan medicine.[7]  Their programs produced many Tibetan scholars with expertise in traditional knowledge and in various fields. When Hu Yaobang visited to Lhasa in 1980, he made significant changes amongst the officials by removing 50 percent of the Chinese officials from Lhasa and replaced them with senior Tibetan officials. He made a famous speech in Lhasa in which he stated, “To exercise nationality autonomy in the region fully -that is to say, to let the Tibetans really be master of their own lives”[8]. The Tibetans through out the regions welcomed this statement. The Dalai Lama has expressed that Hu Yaobang actions were based on the Tibetan people’s needs.

The policies initiated by the Hu Yaobang and Deng Xiaoping, along with 10th Panchen Lama would have been very effective if the authorities had genuinely implemented and sustained them. However, these policies were not continued due to a change in leaders. In 1992 to 2002 the communist party general secretary of TAR was Chen Kuiyuan, who was known to be a hardliner amongst the PRC leaders. He created major new policies, which discriminated against the Tibetan culture and religion. He described the Tibetan Buddhist faith as the ultimate threat to Tibet’s separation from China.[9] Therefore Chen Kuiyuan established various policies on Tibet, which focused on anti Dalai Lama propaganda, the destruction of Tibetan culture, the restriction of Tibetan intellectuals and the encouragement of Han migration into Tibetan regions to outnumber the local Tibetans.[10] Although none of Chen’s policies were in accordance with the LNAR, the PRC let him to carry these extremely harsh policies in Tibet. These unprecedented hardliner policies applied onto ethnic Tibetans, in the post reform era, became a source of deep dissent among Tibetans.

Tibetan Buddhist culture was targeted under the leadership of Chen. He established re-education programs in which communist party officials were sent to Tibetan monasteries and nunneries and promoted PRC propaganda. As part of this re-education program, the monks and the nuns had to swear their allegiance to the PRC over Buddhism. These intensive sessions have been carried out every year for two or three months since 1994. These tactics were used during the culture revolution to change people’s ideology and they are still being used in Tibet to control Tibetans. This policy was started in the TAR and became a precedent and has spread all over the Tibetan ethnic regions. This has created resentment and distrust towards PRC, which lead to the 2008 Tibetan protests against the PRC’s rule in Tibet.

Under Chen’s leadership in the TAR, many Tibetan intellectual writers, singers and teachers were viciously attacked. For example, Tsering Woser was the editor of the Chinese language journal based in Lhasa the Tibetan literature but the authorities dismissed her position as editor and banned her published Chinese language books[11]. Woser is currently living in Beijing but she faces constant harassment by the authorities and is regularly under house arrest. In 2008 there were many Tibetan writers and singers arbitrarily arrested because of their writing or their composition of Tibetan songs. One of these scholars of the Tibetan language, Shog Dung, published a book the Division of Heaven and Earth in 2009, after which he was arrested[12]. These kinds of attacks on Tibetan intellectuals are very common in Tibet.

Chen established a strategic policy to assimilate the Tibetans into the Han Chinese population, which was the strategy he used in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region when he was the general secretary of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. In Inner Mongolia, the majority of the population these days are Han Chinese and the Mongols are losing their language and culture. Under Chen’s leadership in the TAR he encouraged mass migration of Han Chinese into Tibet. The building of the rail link from Gormo to Lhasa was portrayed as sign of economic development in Tibet but instead it has been used to transport Han migrants’ workers and Han tourists into the TAR. In 2006, it transported 1.5 million passengers to Lhasa, of which 40 precent were tourists and 30 present business people and migrant workers and the rest were students and traders etc.[13] These numbers did not include military transportation and if it had included military transportation then this number would significant higher because there is a large number of military base in Tibet. As result of mass Han migration, the local Tibetans are losing their cultural identity including language, which was Chen’s strategic plan to assimilate Tibetans with Han.

Chen’s hardline policies in Tibet were the major stimulus for the 2008 Tibetan protests against Chinese rule. These were the biggest Tibetan protests against PRC’s rule in Tibet since 1959. The protests started in Lhasa in the TAR and spread across all the other Tibetan regions. The protests took place in the most suppressed regions, Ngaba in Sichuan province, Labrang in Gansu province, and Rebkong in Qingghai province.[14] These areas were the key places where there had been a revival of the Tibetan culture and religion during the reform era. However, Chen’s model of hardliner policies has spread to these areas and thus the Tibetan people in these areas are the most repressed by the authorities. Therefore, the Tibetans of Ngaba, Rebkong and Labrang areas were the major sites of protest against Chinese rule in 2008.

The continuation of this authoritarian regime in Tibet has created resentment among the younger generation of Tibetans. Today the protests against the PRC’s rule have become more desperate and taken the form of self-immolations. There have been 36 Tibetans self-immolations in the recent years as a protest against these hardliner policies.[15] The majority of the protestors are under the age of 30. These desperate acts demonstrate that the current policies in Tibet have failed. The Tibetans are frustrated and despairing at the repression in their daily life that they feel self-immolation is the only way to express their desperation.

The continuation of these hardliner policies in Tibet and the lack of the implementation of the LRNA, which was established to protect the rights of minorities, are driving Tibetans further away from being unified under the Chinese nation. The repression of the Tibetans over many years, the lack of self governance and destruction of their culture and religion which is entitled to them under the LRNA, has lead to a sense of distrust of the PRC. This is driving patriotism among the Tibetans. Tibetans feel they are discriminated and excluded from the Chinese nation which is leading to a growing movement for independence from China.

The LRNA has not been implemented in Tibetan ethnic regions. In particular, the articles relating to self-governance, the right to practice religion and the preserve ethnic culture have not been implemented. During the reform era of the 1980’s, there was some restoration of the cultural and religious destruction, which was committed in the pre reform era, initiated by the Hu Yaobang and Panchen Lama. However, in the 1990’s, Chen Kuiyuan became the General Secretary of TAR and he created new policies which replaced the policies developed by Hu Yaobang and the 10th Panchen Lama regarding the preservation of Tibetan culture and religion. Chen established a strategy to eliminate the Tibetan identity through attacks on religion, culture and language, by targeting Tibetan intellectuals, religious groups and schools. Chen’s model of cultural destruction spread to other Tibetan regions. As result, Tibetan’s are frustrated with the destruction of their culture, religion, language and ethnic identity. This was one of the major causes for the 2008 Tibetans protest against the PRC’s rule in Tibet. Since this time the protest’s have been continued in Tibet but devastatingly they are now taking the form of desperate acts such as self-immolation.


Ma, R. A New Perspective in Guiding Ethnic Relations in the Twenty-first Century: ‘De-politicization’ of Ethnicity in China. Asian Ethnicity 8, No. 3, (2007): pp. 199-217.

Mackerras, Colin. China’s minority cultures: Identities and integration since 1912. New York: St. Martin’s press. 1995.

Mackerras, C. (1995). China’s Minority Cultures: Identities and Integration Since 1912. New York: St. Martin’s Press. (2003), China’s ethnic minorities and globalization. London: RoutledgeCurzon.

60 Year of Chinese Misrule Arguing Culture Genocide in Tibet, The International Campaign for Tibet, 2012, http://www.savetibet.org/files/documents/Cultural%20Genocide%20in%20Tibet%20single%20pages-2.pdf (accessed April 28, 2012).


Norbu, Dawa. “1995. Han Hegemony and Tibetan Ethnicity”. International Studies 32 no. 3 (1995): 297-314.

Anonymous. “Lamas at Loggerheads; China, Tibet and the Dalai Lama”. The Economist (US) 400  no 8747 (2011): 39.


Law of the People’s Republic of China on Regional national Autonomy. China. Org, CN, 1984. http://www.china.org.cn/english/government/207138.htm (accessed April 21, 2012).

Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People, The Central Tibetan Administration, 2008. http://tibet.net/important-issues/sino-tibetan-dialogue/memorandum-on-geniune-autonomy-for-the-tibetan-people/ (accessed April 24, 2012).

The Chinese Frontiersman and the Winter Worms -Chen Kuiyuan in the T.A.R.,1992-2000, Columbia University, 2001. http://www.columbia.edu/itc/ealac/barnett/pdfs/link29-chenpiece.pdf (accessed April 24 2012).

[1] Law of the People’s Republic of China on Regional national Autonomy. China. Org, CN, 1984. http://www.china.org.cn/english/government/207138.htm (accessed April 21, 2012).

[2] Norbu, Han Hegemony and Tibetan Ethnicity, 16.

[3] Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People, The Central Tibetan Administration, 2008. http://tibet.net/important-issues/sino-tibetan-dialogue/memorandum-on-geniune-autonomy-for-the-tibetan-people/ (accessed April 24, 2012).

[4] Article 11, Law of the People’s Republic of China on Regional national Autonomy. China. Org, CN, 1984. http://www.china.org.cn/english/government/207138.htm (accessed April 21, 2012).

[5] Anonymous. “Lamas at Loggerheads; China, Tibet and the Dalai Lama”, 39

[6] Article 37, Law of the People’s Republic of China on Regional national Autonomy. China. Org, CN, 1984. http://www.china.org.cn/english/government/207138.htm (accessed April 21, 2012).

[7] The Chinese Frontiersman and the Winter Worms -Chen Kuiyuan in the T.A.R.,1992-2000, Columbia University, 2001. http://www.columbia.edu/itc/ealac/barnett/pdfs/link29-chenpiece.pdf (accessed April 24 2012).

[8] The Chinese Frontiersman and the Winter Worms -Chen Kuiyuan in the T.A.R.,1992-2000, Columbia University, 2001. http://www.columbia.edu/itc/ealac/barnett/pdfs/link29-chenpiece.pdf (accessed April 24 2012).

[9] The Chinese Frontiersman and the Winter Worms -Chen Kuiyuan in the T.A.R.,1992-2000, Columbia University, 2001.

[10] Ibid.

[11] 60 Year of Chinese Misrule Arguing Culture Genocide in Tibet, The International Campaign for Tibet, 2012, http://www.savetibet.org/files/documents/Cultural%20Genocide%20in%20Tibet%20single%20pages-2.pdf (accessed April 28, 2012).

[12] Ibid, 102.

[13] Ibid, 97.

[14] Ibid, 85.

[15] 60 Year of Chinese Misrule Arguing Culture Genocide in Tibet, The International Campaign for Tibet, 2012, http://www.savetibet.org/files/documents/Cultural%20Genocide%20in%20Tibet%20single%20pages-2.pdf (accessed April 28, 2012).

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The national security interests and objectives of the United States in Asia

The two main objectives of the United States in Asia are the economic benefits from trade opportunities and to defend itself from a security threat in Asia. The United States is interested in the economic opportunities provided from the large Asian market. The U.S has been a trading partner of Asia since World War II. Japan and South Korea are the most important trading partners and allies of the US in Asia.  The United States is committed to a strong trade relationship with Taiwan and also provides defence for Taiwan against possible threat by China. The most important objective of the United States in Asia is national security. North Korea is an obvious threat as it is developing nuclear arms, but North Korea is an economically powerless nation. Chinese economy is growing very rapidly and it will grow continue. The real threat to the United States is China because it is a communist state and it exerts a strong influence over North Korea and is competing with the United States for power in Asia.

 One of the main objectives of the United States in Asia is the economic opportunity of the Asian market. The United States and Asia pacific region have a mutual interest in developing trading relationships because the developing countries of Asia have a large labour workforce and the United States has many companies who need cheap labour to produce goods cheaply. An example of this is Apple Macintosh, a California based company, whose products are made in China. There is also a high demand from Asia for US products, such as information technology. According to the World Internet Statistics (2009), 42.4% of the world internet users are in Asia and China is the world biggest internet user. American companies such as Google, Facebook and twitter have made a great profit from this large marketplace. Oreskovic (2010) stated that in 2010 Google profited 600 million from China.

The large population of Asia is a potential new market place that attracts American companies to invest in Asia. According to the Population Preference Bureau (2007) China is the most populated nation with 1,318 million people and India is the second world biggest populated nation with 1,132 million. As there are more people, there are more opportunities for marketing to create more demand, which would increase the export of the United States goods and services to Asia. For example Coca Cola has expanded its business all over Asia. In India from 1993 to 2003 Coca Cola invested one billion in India (Coca Cola India 2003). Coca Cola is the biggest soft drink suppliers in India and the most popular soft drink in India. This shows that American companies are taking advantage of the large Asian marketplace.

The United States has strong trading relationships in the Asia-Pacific region. In particular, the US has a strong trading relationship with China. As the US currency is stronger than the Chinese Yuan, China is profiting greatly from trade (Norris 2009). According to the Office of the United States Trading Representative (2011) the United States goods and services trade with China totalled $433 billion in 2008 and Chinese goods and services imports to the United States totalled $348 billion in 2008. This indicates that there is a strong bilateral trading relationship between the two countries. In the last two decades, the strong growth of the Chinese economy was due to the US demand for Chinese goods. This shows that the United States objective in Asia is to create economic opportunities through trade.

Japan and South Korea have been the main trading partners with the United States since Would War II. South Korea signed a bilateral free trade agreement on June 30, 2007. An example of this free trade agreement is that Korea permits the US companies to own up to 100 percent of a telecommunications operator in South Korea according to the (Office of the United States Trade Representative Executive Office of the President 2011). This means that a US company can freely access the Korean market for investment. The United States benefits economically from free trade agreements in Asia and is therefore promoting free trade agreements in Asia through Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) according to (Diane 2007). The free trade agreement permits investment other countries without any restrictions. This creates an opportunity to invest in a larger market for the US.  Japan is 4th largest trade partner with U.S. According Office of the United States Trade representative Executive Office of the President (2011) In 2009 U.S. good exports to Japan was 51.2 billion and Japan’s goods import to U.S. was 95.9 billion in 2009.  These statistics show that trade is a strong trading relationship between those countries.

National security is the main objective of the United States in Asia. Since the 1945 Pearl Harbour attack on American soil, the United States has realised that the physical separation of the U.S from Asia by the Pacific Ocean is no longer enough protection. Therefore the United States has expanded it allies across the Asia-Pacific region, which now its include South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.

North Korea is an obvious security threat to the United States and it’s allies, in particular South Korea and Japan and surrounding nations. According to Park (2001) North Korea is developing a nuclear and missile program. North Korea exports its missiles to the surrounding region and it is possible it could sell missiles to terrorist organisations. Stone (2004) states there is a suspicion that North Korea’s is developing a nuclear weapons program. The United States alliance with Japan is the most important alliance in Asia to provide security and peace to the region. This is because of Japan’s strategic location that can provide security for South Korea. The United States has an army base in Japan, which was established to protect Japan and South Korea from an attack by North Korea according (P Mauch [University of Western Sydney] 2011, week 6 lecture, 4 April).

China acts as the big brother for North Korea, because they both are communist states. China is the only country that has a good diplomatic relationship with North Korea.  China has the potential to force Kim Jong Il to give up its nuclear weapon program and engage with the international community. But China is reluctant to take any action against North Korea. The expectation that China will take action against North Korea is not a realistic view, because China is investing economically in North Korea. According to Kim (2006) Chinese investment in North Korea was 1.12 million in 2003 and it increased to 14.13 million in 2004. This shows that China is not willing to fully cooperate with the United States on the North Korea issue and instead is investing heavily in North Korea. North Korea is the obvious threat to the United States and its allies in the region, but the fundamental security threat to the United States allies is China.

As well as the tension over North Korea, the US and China oppose each over the security of Taiwan. The United States is committed to protect Taiwan’s security if Beijing uses force to occupy Taiwan. Beijing considers Taiwan as a part of its territory but Taiwan claims it is a semi-independent state. There are two main reasons the United States has alliance with Taiwan. The United States alliance crosses the Asia-Pacific region from South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Philippine, Australia and New Zealand. If United State gave up its alliance with Taiwan then there would be a geographical gap in the U.S. Alliance across the Asia-Pacific between the Philippines and Japan. That would threaten the U.S security if an attack from Asia occurred.  Another reason for the alliance between the U.S. and Taiwan is that creates an opportunity for the U.S. to trade defence machinery. For example, in 2010 the U.S. sold 18 Billion worth defence package to Taiwan when Chen Shui-bian was president, (Boese 2006).

China is also a national security threat to the US because of its increasing power in Asia and development of trading relationship with other Asian countries. The rising power of Chinese might challenge the United State’s stronghold in Asia. China is increasing its efforts to influence its power in the Association of South East Asia Nation (ASEAN). Diane (2007) stated China is actively engaging with ASEAN members and trying to influence it’s power over ASEAN countries. In 2008 China gave Sri Lanka $1.3 billion of aid and six F7 jet fighters as a gift and in 2007 the Sri Lanka army received $50 million from China according (Blair 2009). China is also increasing its diplomatic ties with East Timor. In 2006, hundred of Chinese troops were deployed in East Timor (Murdoch 2010).  China has also good trading relationships with Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam and though trading relationships China is trying to promote its power to the region (Diane 2007).

China is indirectly competing with America for power in Asia. This is evident in the relationship between Australia and China. Australia has strong trading relationship with China. In 2008 after the financial crisis, the rest of the world went into a deep recession, but Australia avoided the recession and its economy remained strong as a result of Australia’s good trade relationship with China. White (2010) suggested that Australia’s foreign policy might shift closer to Beijing because Washington may not be the future dominant Asian power. White also suggested that in 2020 the Chinese economy might be greater than the United States. If China becomes the world number one economy then that will be the real threat to the United States.

The United States objectives in Asia are broadly economic and national security interests. The economic interests are based on trade and the large population in Asia, which has a great demand for US goods. The United States most important objective is national security. There is the obvious threat of North Korea, however the real threat to the United States is China because of the Chinese power over North Korea and increasing regional influence. In order to secure this region, Japan is the strategic core ally for the United States in the Asia-Pacific region.



Boese, W, 2006, ‘Taiwan Receives U.S. Warships’, Arms Control Today, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 31.

Diane M, Brian , J, 2007, ‘U.S. Policy South East Asia: Limited re-engagement after Years of Benign Neglect’, Asian Survey, [online] Vol. 47, No. 4, pp 536-559, viewed 27 April 201, JSTOR, DOI 10.1525/as.2007.47.4.536

Negroponte, J.D. 2008, ‘A U.S. Asian partnership’, DISAM Journal, [Online], vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 80

Kim, J, C, 2006, ‘The political Economy of Chinese Investment in North Korea: A Preliminary Assessment’, Asian Survey, [Online] Vol. 46, No. 6, pp. 898-916, viewed 24 April 2011, Jstor

Park, K, 2001, ‘North Korea’s Defensive Power and U.S.-North Korea Relations’, Pacific Affaires, [Online] Vol. 73, No. 4, pp. 535-553, viewed 27 April 2011, Jstor

Robert, S, 2004, ‘Asia – Pacific Security Issues and U.S. Foreign Policy’, American Foreign Policy Interests, [Online], Vol. 26, no 4, pp 297-308

Stone, R, 2004, ‘North Korea’s Nuclear Shell Game’, Science, [Online] Vol. 303, No. 5657, pp. 452-454, viewed 27April 2011, Jstor

Twomey, C, 2007, ‘Missing Strategic Opportunity in U.S. China Policy since’, Asian Survey, [online] Vol. 47, No. 4, pp 536-559, viewed 27 April 2011, Jstor, DOI 10.1525/as.2007.47.4.536

White, H. 2010, ‘Power Shift: Australia’s Future between Washington and Beijing’, Quarterly Essay, [online], no. 39, pp. 1-74.


Buckley, R, 2002, The United States in the Asia-Pacific since 1945, New York, Cambridge University Press.

Cohen, W.I. 1993, Respectability for China, Boston, Mass.

Hogan, Michael, J, 1999, The Ambiguous Legacy: U.S. foreign relations in the “American century” Cambridge University Press, New York.

News paper

Blair, D, 2009, ‘Military Emboldened by Beijing’s Embrace’ The Sydney Moring Herald, 20 May 2009, viewed 20 April 2011, Sydney Morning Herald Achieved database Web: http://www.smh.com.au/world

Norris, F, 2009, ‘Weak Dollar? Not So Much in China’ The New York Time, 15 October 2009, viewed 1 May 2011, The New York time Achieved database, Web: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/business

Murdoch, L, 2011, ‘Relations Strained as East Timor buys Chinese navy boats’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 2010, Viewed 20 April 2011, Sydney Morning herald Achieved database, Web: http://www.smh.com.au/action

Obama, B, 2010, ‘US President Barack Obama Announces $10 Billion Deal India deals’, BBC, viewed 26 April 2011, BBC News Database, Web: http://www.bbc.co.uk/world/south/asia   


Gilboy, G, Heginbotham, E, 2010, China’s Dilemma: Social Change and Political Reform, Foreign Affairs, viewed 18 April 2011, <http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles>

Office of the United States Trad Representative Executive Office of the President, 2011, China, viewed 18 April 2011, < http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/china>

Office of the United States Trad Representative Executive Office of the President, 2011, Japan, viewed 18 April 2011, < http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/japan>

Office of the United States Trad Representative Executive Office of the President, 2011, South Korea, viewed 18 April 2011, < http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/korea>

Population Preference Bureau, 2007, 2007 World Population Data Sheet, Viewed 19 April 2011. < http://www.prb.org>

Truck School of Business at Dartmouth, 2003, Coca-Cola India, viewed 24 April 2011, http://www.tuck.dartmouth.edu

World Internet Stats, 2009, Internet Usage in Asia, Viewed 18 April 2011, < http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats>

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Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for

The quote, “lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for” can be likened to a desperately sick patient who needs a doctor—we must try to help those who are most in need. The current Tibetan situation is an example of a lost cause. The Chinese invaded Tibet in 1959 and since then there has been systematic damage to the Tibetan culture and the Tibetan people who have lost their basic human rights. The attainment of independence of India from the British is an example of a lost cause that was worth fighting for and that victory was achievable. Martin Luther King fought for civil rights and equal opportunities for African Americans in the 1960s.  Aung San Suu Kyi is fighting for democracy for Burma. These two people show us that we should stand up for what we believe in.  In order to have the strength to fight for these causes we need the courage that Emilliano Zapata’s quotation demonstrates: “I would rather die standing, than live on my knees”. By standing up for what you believe in you can achieve a lot.

The current situation in Tibet is thought by some people in the international community to be a lost cause. An example of why Tibet is thought to be a lost cause is that the population of Tibet is only 6 million and the number of Chinese living in Tibet is much greater than the Tibetans. Lhasa is the capital city of Tibet and the Tibetan population in Lhasa was only 100,000 and the Chinese Population was 300,000 according to the Chinese government statistics in 2003 (“population transfer programmes”).  These Chinese migrants to Tibet are fully qualified in the Chinese communist mission to assimilate Tibetans into the Chinese culture.  They are in Tibet for a purpose, which is to increase Chinese population in Tibet.  Chinese people occupy the majority of high positions in the government sector and related government projects. There are limited opportunities for Tibetans. The Chinese government treat the Tibetan people as second-class citizens therefore the rights of Tibetan people are uncertain and unreliable as the rule of law changes when it is applied to Tibetans. The Tibetan people have no basic rights and no opportunities. They are not allowed to travel other than inside China. They are not allowed to practice their culture.  Therefore the Tibetan people are living in fear and their survival is threatened.  Many independent observers have expressed that the current Tibetan situation is a lost cause and the thought of Tibet returning to an independent state is said to be unachievable. It has been 51 years since the Tibetan people lost their country.

Many people think Tibet will never get freedom from China because the Chinese government is too powerful and the devastation so far to the Tibetan culture is too severe.  However, with all the setbacks and upheavals the Tibetan culture has faced the Dalai Lama still encourages the Tibetan people with these words:

Tibet has been under Chinese occupation for 40 years. We have nothing other than our determination – and the truth – to help us deal with the Chinese. Despite the brain – washing, despite their use of all possible forms of atrocity and propaganda, despite all the terrible methods they have applied, the truth remains the truth”. (Dalai Lama 26)

This statement shows how much courage and determination the Dalai Lama has.  Today the world has recognised the Dalai Lama’s courage and his determination to fight for Tibetan autonomy by awarding him numerous prizes including the Noble Peace Prize in 1989. It is so important to fight for the lost cause of Tibet because it is about achieving the basic rights for six million Tibetans.

In the 1940s it was considered a lost cause for India to achieve independence after 300 years of British rule.  However, Mahatma Gandhi began his non- violent struggle for independence of India.  At the beginning, Gandhi’s campaign for Independence was not popular and it was very difficult to struggle against the British army (Mahadev24).  However, Gandhi spent his whole life practising the fundamental principle of non-violent action to achieve independence and in 1947, due to the result of his efforts and determination, India got its independence. The people of India recognise Gandhi as the father of India for his fight for independence, which at the time, seemed a lost cause to many.

When Emilliano Zapata said, “I would rather die standing, than live on my knees” this statement is exemplified by the African American civil rights leader, Martin Luther King’s memorable words: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character” (Wortham). As a result of Martin Luther King’s civil rights movement and his conviction that there should be no discrimination on colour or race, equal opportunities were created all Americans.  Even though Dr King has passed away, his non-violent principles are still very much alive and have influenced the younger generation of Americans.  As result of his civil rights movement, there is now a black president in the White House.  If Dr King did not fight for civil rights we would not see these changes in American society today.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a woman whose life is an example of someone who “would rather die standing, than live on her knees” Her extraordinary courage and commitment to achieve democracy and human rights for the Burmese people is unrelenting.  Aung San Suu Kyi grew up in Burma and later lived in Britain where she worked for the United Nations.  She had a comfortable life outside of Burma but gave up her good life and returned to Burma in 1988 (Aris 203).  Since then she has fought for democracy and human rights for the Burmese people.  The Burmese government has tried many times to force her out of Burma but she has refused to go.  Even her husband, who was living in England, and close to death with cancer, he did not receive a visit from her, as she knew once she left Burma the government would not allow her to re-enter the country. Aung San Suu Kyi became the leader of the Burmese League for National Democracy party and won the election in 1990 but the military regime didn’t hand over the power to her, (Aris 23) instead they put her under house arrest for 30 years. Her enduring fight for democracy in Burma shows how much courage and determination she has and in recognition of her efforts for the Burmese people and human rights she was awarded the Noble Peace Prize in 1994.

The current Tibetan situation is a ‘lost cause’ and it seems justice is unachievable because of the Chinese government’s dominating power, but the Dalai Lama’s courage and determination has inspired the Tibetan people to never give up. Mahatma Gandhi fought for the independence of India and it has been achieved. Martin Luther King fought for civil rights for African Americans and he dreamed of equal opportunity for all Americans. Although he has passed away his dream is being achieved in today’s America.  Aung San Suu Kyi’s determination and commitment for democracy and human rights for Burma is unshakeable.  These great people have stood up for what they believe in spite of all the obstacles and challenges.  They demonstrated the meaning of “lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for” and “I would rather die standing, than live on my knees”.

Works cited

Anne Wortham. “Martin Luther King’s Flawed Dream.”The World & I 13.6 (1998): 66-6. Print.

Aris, Michael. freedom from fear aung san Suu kyi. 10. New Delhi: Penguin Book, 1995. 203. Print.

Dalai lama. My land and my people. The university of virginia: McGraw – hill, 1962. 205. Print.

Dalai lama, First. the spirit of peace. London: Thorsons, 2002. 26. Print.

Graff, Gerald. They Say / I Say : The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing /. Ed. Cathy Birkenstein. New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2010. print.

Mahadev, Desai. The story of experiments with truth. India: Navajivan publishing house, 2003. 154. Print.

Tibetan Exile government. population transfer programmes. 2003. Web. 9 Oct 2010. <www.tibet,net>.




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Cultural genocide in Tibet

Cultural genocide in Tibet

The Tibetan nation is battling to survive in the twenty first century since the Chinese government invasion of Tibet; its culture has been systematically destroyed.  The Chinese government has exercised numerous restrictive policies on the Tibetan traditional culture, religion and language.  Many young Tibetans have lost their identity and language. The Tibetan people are struggling to find their identity because they have lost their language and culture. Tibetans have great concern about losing their traditions because the Chinese government has been deliberately destroying indigenous Tibetan language, culture, religion and environments.

This ancient nation has a well-developed culture, language and religion, which are actually facing destruction due to the 1959 Chinese occupation of Tibet.  It is fifty-one years since the Chinese government carried out a variety of policies to eliminate the Tibetan identity.  The Chinese government implemented restrictive policies on practicing Tibetan culture and religion, (Sautman 182).  Tibetan students have to study the Chinese language in order to develop their career or get an education.  Students are under tremendous pressure to learn the Chinese language and to speak Chinese the same as Chinese people.  According to Gerard (6) many young Tibetan people who went to study in China were unable to speak Tibetan when they returned  to Tibet because there is a tremendous pressure to speak only Chinese in the universities or colleges. The Tibetan language is not a useful language in terms of developing a career or working for the Chinese government.  The government offices only allow the use of the official Chinese language, which is Mandarin.  Every government office, including local government has an obligation to use only Mandarin.  Therefore, in the government sector there is no opportunity for employment of people who are educated in the Tibetan language.

In the private sector, there is no employment opportunity for people who are educated in the Tibetan language because the government does not recognise the Tibetan language.  Therefore in the private sector, there is a bullying attitude towards people who are educated in the Tibetan language and bullying attitude who could not speak mandarin. The bullying attitude toward Tibetans is the cause that Tibetan people have less opportunity than Chinese. It is discrimination against cultural differences and equal opportunity,  it is also against United Nation (UN) indigenous people’s rights.

The Tibetan people are indigenous people in the Himalayan region.  They have a evolutionary history of the human development in the Himalayan region for four thousands years.  They are like any other indigenous people and lives in a peaceful harmonies society in the Himalayan region. The Tibetan people practised their tradition and religion until 1959. They have remained isolated from the rest of the world and they have not much contact with other countries (Thomas Laird 10). Tibetan people were in a truly a vulnerable position when the Chinese occupied Tibet in 1959.

However, Buddhism is the main religion of the Tibetan people. The Tibetan people value Buddhism beyond anything else’s.  The Tibetan culture is based on the Buddhist values therefore Buddhism and the Tibetan culture are inseparable.  However the Chinese government has established a restricted policy to practice of Buddhism and any other religion.  Therefore restriction on the practice of Buddhism is a restriction on the Tibetan culture. The Dalai Lama has stated that the current Chinese government “intentionally or unintentionally are carrying out cultural genocide in Tibet”.   According to Gerard (4) the Chinese government developed a school project, which is called Neidi schooling. Basically the Neidi schools projects involved taking Tibetan children away from their parents and sending them to Chinese schools.  In the Neidi school, children learn only Mandarin.  The government has no plans to build Tibetan schools in Tibet.  This is similar to what happened to the indigenous stolen generation in Australia in the 1970s’s.  Cultural genocide is taking place in Tibet according to Sautman (182); the Chinese government’s restrictive policies on Tibetan culture, religion and language are against the UN convention of cultural genocide.  Therefore, the current Chinese government is committing the crime of cultural genocide.

In Tibetan Cultural the Dalai Lama is a special significance for Tibetan people because he is the special leader for Tibetan people. Since 13th century the Dalai Lama has been the spiritual leader and political leader of the Tibet.  The Tibetan people respect him and they trust him.  The current Dalai Lama is the 14th Dalai Lama. The Tibetan people follow Buddhism, which believes that when a person dies, he or she is reborn in a new life. The Tibetans believe that the Dalai Lama a reborn as Dalai Lama for fourteen times. Therefore the current 14th Dalai Lama has special connection with the Tibetan people. The Chinese government is restricting Tibetans from following  the Dalai Lama even though the Tibetan people are following the Dalai Lama because spiritual reasons. The Chinese government is ordering Tibetans how to practice their religion based on the Chinese Communist theory. Therefore it is against freedom of religion.

The Tibetan people are worried about losing the Tibetan language.  The younger generation have obligations to learn Chinese and likely to find a career in the Chinese rather than Tibetan. The culture is the identity of Tibetan people and they are a proud people.  The Tibetan culture has developed based on Buddhist value and faith.  Culture, religion and language are the foundation of Tibetan identity without it, and the Tibetan people are lost.  The Tibetan people are greatly concerned about losing their cultural identity. The Chinese government is deliberately carrying out cultural genocide in Tibet.

Works cited

Barry Sautman. “Cultural Genocide” and Tibet”.  Texas International Law Journal 38.2 (2003): 173. Web.

Dalai lama. “News”. Tibetans Are Not Anti-Chinese, His Holiness Tells Chinese Reporters. Web. 15 August 2010. http://www.dalailama.com

Gerard A Postiglione, and Ben Jiao. “Tibet’s Relocated Schooling: Popularization Reconsidered.” Asian Survey 49.5 (2009): 895. Web

The Universal Declaration of human Rights .” UN. United Nation, 10/12/1948. Web. 19 Sep 2010. <www.un.org/en/documents>.

Thomas Laird, . The Story of Tibet. London: Atlantic books, 2006. 10. Print.

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Men and women are equal and should have equal opportunity

Men and women should be equal in the twenty first century because this is the century where the strength of intelligence is greater than the physical strength. In many industries female workers are far more successful than males.

We are all equal and we should have equal opportunity therefore I think female should have opportunity to serve in the military field. Many people believe that women should not serve in the military. There are a wide range of skills required by the military including health workers, management and a variety of other field.  Physical strength is not the only skill needed, therefore there are many opportunities for women to provide services to the military.

In the past in developed countries, the majority of doctors were male and all the nurses were female.  The jobs for females and males were differentiated by their sex. Women working in the hospital were assumed to be nurses and Men were assumed to be doctors. This was the same in many professional fields fifty years go, that men were in higher positions than females. This has changed now in many countries. The number of women in high positions is rapidly growing in Australia. The governor general is female and the prime minister is female.

In the education field in Australia, most teachers are female and women’s contribution to the education field is very high. In the UK the number of female university students are greater then male university students [1]. I think that that women will be the leaders in the twenty first century.

I think that women and men both have the same potential to contribute to our society and should have the same opportunities.


Jarvis, Azania. “The New Girl Power: why we’re living in a young women’s world09/09/2010 (2010), http://www.independent.co.uk. (accessed September 15,2010)

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