Lhasa Under Martial Law

The great Potala in Lhasa --- former seat of power of the Tibetan government prior to the Chinese invasion.  It was the Tibetan version of the White House.  It is still there but is now used by the Chinese as a tourist attraction.
The great Potala in Lhasa --- former seat of power of the Tibetan government prior to the Chinese invasion. It was the Tibetan version of the White House. It is still there but is now used by the Chinese as a tourist attraction.

I wrote the following many years ago and am just now transferring it to Hubpages:


In late October of 1989, I was in Lhasa, Tibet which was, at the time, under Chinese martial law. For those of you who don't know, the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1949 and since then, have been tightening their grip upon Tibet. China justified this invasion by saying Tibet had always been a part of China. Today, many countries support this claim, not because this is necessarily true, but because many nations do not want to anger China because of her power. Besides, Tibet was not part of the United Nations, it didn't have a powerful economy, and many of it's people meditated upon compassion and interrelatedness. Pretty disgusting huh? The United States didn't want to condemn the Chinese too much because atter all, just think of all the markets and capitalistic interests our businesspeople would be missing out on if the Chinese cut relations with us (compare this to Kuwait where one of our "vital interests" [oil] is at stake).

Well anyway, we were told by Chinese authorities in Lhasa that we were free to come and go as we pleased except that we had to let them know where and when we were going, why we were going, how many were going, what we planned to do once we got there, etc. They were even nice enough to escort us to certain places. We had been told by our academic director that Chinese spies were everywhere, some being dressed in monks' robes. Because of this, we had to be cautious about who we talked to. According to Chinese authorities, these "spy stories" were created by a rebel group loyal to that treacherous, deceitful Dalai Lama. Also, we were not allowed to stay at Tibetan hotels or eat at Tibetan restaurants.

Look at all the poor, beggarly Tibetans who wander about with their eyes on the ground; were they always like this? The Tibetans didn't seem as friendly in Lhasa as they had been in Dharamsala, India or Kathmandu, Nepal. Could this have anything to do with the PLA soldiers who are posted on every street corner with rifles? Nah, couldn't be. Where are all the Tibetans anyway? You don't think these soldiers have actually shot, tortured or imprisioned any of these people do you? Nah, if that was happening we'd be reading about it in the newspaper most every day.

Chinese authorities have said that before they "liberated" Tibet, it had been nothing more than a land of primitive, uneducated people. Well gosh, if this is so, why are there so many Tibetan monasteries and schools that are now piles of rubble? Where are all the high ranking lamas and the other highly educated Tibetans? Yeah, the Tibetans are much happier now. We probably shouldn't even dwell upon things like this. The Tibetans should have welcomed and respected the Chinese because after all, the Chinese say Tibet had always been part of China.

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2 comments

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Missing Link 19 months ago from Oregon Author

Thanks torrilynn--I appreciate you visiting and commenting!


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torrilynn 19 months ago

Thanks for this hub that you have provided. It's interesting to learn how certain things would operate under martial law. Thanks for the hub.

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