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The Oppression of Tibet by China: Why is the World Silent

Updated on July 25, 2021
MG Singh profile image

MG is an air warrior with a distinguished career and now a corporate advisor, writer, and intrepid traveler and novelist

The Cry from Tibet

Tibet was a buffer state between India and China during the days of the Raj. After Mao Tse Tung won his war against Chiang Kai Shek in 1949, he turned his attention to Tibet. In 1950, 40,000 troops of the Peoples Liberation Army invaded Tibet. The war was a one-sided affair and the Tibet army was resoundingly defeated. This marked the beginning of Chinese influence over Tibet. Mao-Tse Tung claimed Tibet as a part of China, but historians have stated that there is no accepted legal basis for China’s claim over Tibet.

After the defeat of the Tibetan army, China agreed to a 17 point agreement in 1951. This was to be the basis of China’s relations with Tibet. The Chinese agreed not to interfere with Tibet’s existing system of government, but it was not long before the agreement became just a scrap of paper. In 1959 China renamed 2 provinces of Tibet as part of the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan, and Yunnan. The remaining province of Utsandg was christened as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

Revolt Against China

In 1959 the Tibetan people revolted against Chinese rule. The Chinese crackdown was severe and it was an open knowledge that the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of Tibet was to be captured and taken to China. This time the Dalai Lama took a momentous decision to escape to India. Along with him, 100,000 Tibetans also fled Tibet to escape Chinese suppression. Many of the Tibetans used the bleak and inhospitable Nampa-La pass at a height of 19,000 ft to escape from Tibet.

The Chinese started a policy of reprisals like the German Gestapo on the Tibetan people for the 1959 uprising. Radio Lhasa in a broadcast on 1 October 1960 claimed 87,000 Tibetans were executed by the Chinese for their part in the uprising. Radio Lhasa fell silent after this. A guerrilla war now started against the Chinese, but with very little support the Tibetans fought for 15 years before giving up. It is estimated that 430,000 Tibetans died during the 15 years of guerrilla warfare. These include reprisals against the local population. The International Commission of Jurists in reasoned reports in 1959, 1960 concluded that there was a prima facie case that the Chinese government and PLA had committed genocide of the Tibetan nation

A Ruthless China

Over the last 50 years after the 1960 uprising, the Chinese have been ruthless in following their agenda. It is estimated that 260,000 people have died in labor camps and prisons during this period. To break the will of the Tibetan people the Chinese have launched a special crackdown against Buddhist Lamas and nuns. The lamas are tortured and the nuns are stripped and raped repeatedly by Chinese army soldiers, with the more beautiful being taken to officer’s quarters. In 1992 Palden Gyatso, a monk who was in prison for 30 years was able to smuggle out the weapons of torture to the outside world

The Chinese deny all allegations of torture, but they refuse to allow independent observers to either attend the showcase trials or examine the condition of prisoners.

China controls Tibet

The Chinese are deep thinkers and they have realized that to perpetuate their control over Tibet they will have to impart their own version of history to young Tibetans. They have started by replacing the Tibetan language with Chinese as the official language. Since 1994 the Chinese have started presenting a distorted version of Tibet’s history which has no reference to Tibet’s earlier independence. In addition, many Tibetan children are taken away to China for education and indoctrination. Tibetan culture of Lama Hood is denigrated and Chinese culture promoted.

In the field of religion, the Chinese have come down heavily on the Tibetan version of Buddhism. Records indicate that over 6000 monasteries and shrines have been destroyed. The Chinese are also trying to change the demographic composition of TAR by settling Chinese in Tibet. Many Tibet girls are forced to marry Chinese to bring about integration with China. The Chinese make all attempts to discredit the Dalai Lama who heads a Tibetan government in exile in India.

China's False Claim

.Officially the Chinese claim that only 79,000 ethnic Chinese have settled in TAR, but unofficial figures put the number at anything between 250,000 to 300,000, Of greater worry is the use of Tibet as a yard for nuclear waste. The Indian Government has confirmed that three nuclear missile sites exist in Tibet. China itself has admitted to dumping nuclear waste on the Tibetan plateau. They have dumped the waste near Lake Kokonor, the largest lake on the Tibetan plateau.

Tibet remains under the boots of the Chinese and the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile are operating from Dharamsala in India. However, no government including the USA recognizes it, and the Chinese have made it clear that the Dalai Lama will never be allowed to enter Tibet and the world accepts it.

Last word

Where does the world stand in relation to Tibet? Much of the blame for what happened in Tibet must go to Pandit Nehru, India's first Prime Minister. He did not at a crucial time support Tibet and stop the invasion by China. In 1949, India had the most professional army in Asia, yet Nehru did not intervene and allowed China to conquer Tibet. The battle was lost in 1950 as the Chinese took de-facto control of Tibet. Now China does not even allow an Indian consulate in Tibet.

The second major blame must rest on the USA that followed a policy of mollycoddling China and invested billions of dollars in the country. All this, in the hope that US big business would benefit from China's vast market. They also wrongly assumed that China will be grateful and acknowledge US leadership.

Nothing of the sort has happened and China is heading to be not only the world's biggest economy but also the largest military. I am afraid now the world can only sit back and watch as China cannot be antagonized and the US has lost the leadership of the world with successive defeats in Vietnam and Afghanistan. The Americans dare not talk about Tibet as China has the US economy by the scruff. The only way anything can change is by an internal implosion in China. Will that happen? nobody knows.


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    • profile image


      22 minutes ago

      1949 truman offer airlift of indian troops,cariappa and nehru refused,fear two front war,caraiappa warned nehru,no army modernisation.1950 four lakh army cut to three lakh fifty thousand,ww2 era tacticas and weapons,two million ex servicemen alive in india in 1950 ,uk owed wardebt to india could hav purchasd ww2 era surplus equipment,thimmya deafeated bynehru,kaul and menon ,1950 we should have allowed us troops to reach tibet via india,lost strategic buffer,tibet thirty divisionspla ,number of airbases,

      hundreds of ballistic missiles,tibet never part of chinese empire,nehru betrayed tibet

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      8 years ago from UAE

      Thank you Debbie for commenting

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      8 years ago from UAE

      Thank you Paul for your opinion

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 

      8 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      It's sad to me that the US will interfere or not, based on economic gain. What about principles???

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 

      8 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand


      This is a very interesting and useful hub. For obvious economic reasons, the United States will not interfere with China in its affairs toward both Tibet and Taiwan. Voted up and sharing with followers.

    • Mellonyy profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub!Thanks so much for the useful, awesome piece of wisdom!

    • ata1515 profile image


      8 years ago from Buffalo, New York.

      It's terrible that the world has not taken action over the Tibetan issue, but it's economically unsound to do so. Any country that talks about Tibet gets hit in the purse, and so everyone is quiet. Great hub, shared and voted up!

    • Barnsey profile image


      8 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

      It is amazing to me how the USA government leaps to help some but ignores others but as Billybuc stated it is not about compassion it is about greed. Governments everywhere have little compassion and the USA has become the greedy capitalist nation its opposition always claimed it was. With these facts in consideration it is obvious the USA would never dare confront China about this issue knowing they would have to do so while standing alone. None of the other countries would have the guts to back us up and we would be alone and simply tied up in red tape by the wily chinese government for years to come. Also, because of the growing power of China I doubt any government would be willing to lose a great number of their own people in order to try to liberate Tibet. The only possible route would be reasoning with the Chinese but can these emotionless, callous and arrogant people be reasoned with? I doubt it.

    • Becky Bruce profile image

      Becky Bruce 

      8 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Great article, another injustice the world remains blind to, thanks to you more people will now know! Voting up and thanks for taking the time to share this

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 

      8 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      This was a great, informative Hub and I thank you for writing it. I too wonder why the U.S. is silent but it probably has to do with wanting to keep peace with China, who could become a terrible enemy if the wrong actions are taken. I admire celebrities like Richard Gere and others who are trying to draw attention to this area and others in the world where terrible injustices are being committed.

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      8 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      China is growing stronger day by day. Who knows what they will do next? Maybe they will start to use Tibet. The U.S. owes China too much. That may be the reason the U.S. is silent. The world is in economic chaos. Only China is not. Right now can any country help Tibet? I don't know. Maybe we will find out, I just don't know when.

    • rahstame profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      China is a sleeping giant. How can we save them from being oppressed?

    • maxoxam41 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      Tibet is a region of rich natural ressources, not exploited yet! It is an important stake. Now why do the Westerners stay silent? It is simple. China is the first economical power. Militarly it is growing to the fear of the U.S.! Aren't they important points?

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 

      8 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      This is very interesting. Tibet doesn't get much air-play in the States-- although the Dalai Lama is well-known for his celebrity status. I don't think the majority think of Tibet as its own country, so the Chinese government are winning. Thanks for presenting this short history.

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      8 years ago from UAE

      Thank you for your comment


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      8 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent hub! The reality of the world states that if Tibet is of no economic value to the world then they will be largely ignored. Sad for sure, but also very realistic. Thank you for hopefully opening the eyes of some who did not know of these atrocities.


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