Tibetan Struggle For Independence Essay, Research Paper
The Tibetan struggle for independence is illuminated by the flight of the Chinese controlled religious leader. China feels they have the right to persecute and destroy a culture that has survived peacefully for so many years. Unfortunately nobody is currently stopping them from these atrocities, but some shocking actions have been taking place recently in China. These events must show the world that China must be stopped in their actions in Tibet.
Tibet was once a land of peace and prosperity. It once was fill with free thoughts and ideas. The people of a religion called Buddhism were not a part of conquest and seizure. That type of behavior was for surrounding Asian Nations. Unfortunately, for mankind, in 1949, Mao Zedong set the conquest for Tibet as a major priority. The Red Army invaded Khams through Dajain Lu in 1950.
Tibetan opposition was ineffective, and in 1953 the young fourteenth Dalai Lama s government was forced to sign and accept the seventeen-point agreement with China that dictated terms of modernization under China s control. This agreement did not only dictate terms of modernization, but promised self-rule, freedom of religion and protection of Tibetan traditions and culture (LA Times, 1).
This promise was violated in every way, shape, or form by 1956. After six years of punishment through cooperation with China, the Dalai Lama escaped into exile in India with more than 80,000 Tibetan refugees. The Dalai Lama saw this journey out of his own country as the only possibilities to one day bring peace and prosperity back to his country. When asked what his exile has done for him, during an interview with Professor Robert Thurman, the Dalai Lama responded, When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength (Jones, 3). While most leaders give up, the Dalai Lama has shown, by example that if you truly believe in something, he goes after it.
Since the Dalai Lama s escape, he has been traveling around the globe speaking of the atrocities taking place in Tibet. The fourteenth Dalai Lama has always followed the path of negotiation to resolve the Tibetan issue. On September 21, 1987, addressing the Human Rights Committee of the American Congress, he proposed a Five Point Peace Plan:
1. Transformation of the whole of Tibet into a zone of peace;
2. Abandonment of China s population transfer policy which threatens the very existence of the Tibetans as a people;
3. Respect for the Tibetan people s fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms;
4. Restoration and protection of Tibet s natural environment and the abandonment of China s use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste;
5. Commencement of earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet and of relations between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples (Pema, 210).
The Chinese to this day have not yet acknowledged this plan, nor have any other attempt for peace by the Dalai Lama. In 1989, the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The award citation reads:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize to the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, the religious and political leader of the Tibetan people.
The committee wants to emphasize the fact that the Dalai Lama, in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet, has consistently opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.
The Dalai Lama has developed his philosophy of peace from a great reverence for all things living, upon the concept of universal responsibility embracing all mankind as well as nature. In the opinion of the Committee, the Dalai Lama has come forward with constructive and forward-looking proposals for the solution of international conflicts, human rights issues and global environmental problems (Pena, 211).
With such a notable certificate given to the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government still keeps no communication with him. While the Dalai Lama has preached peace through democracy, the Chinese have forced themselves as rulers in Tibet.
The Chinese have also appointed a ruler of Tibet. This ruler, named the Karmapa Lama, was hoped by the Chinese to allow easy control over Tibetans. On January 8, 2000 this ruler made an unexpected decision. Tobbie Barnett, a research scholar at Columbia University said, This was the last hope for a decent agreement between the Tibetans and Chinese. This is terribly embarrassing for the Chinese to have him walk away (Filkins, 1). Even though the Chinese believed the Karmapa Lama to be a puppet for the Chinese government, he fled to India, and refused to be controlled by the Chinese government.
This action not only sent a message to the Chinese, but also notified the world about the atrocities taking place in Tibet. Initially the Chinese News Agency reported that The Karmapa Lama did not mean to betray the state, the nation, the monastery, or the leadership (Filkins, 2). But soon after the Karmapa Lama reached India, he made his reasons apparent to the world. He said, The most important tenant of Tibetan Buddhist teaching is compassion. But to try to practice this, one has to be free (August, 1). The Chinese News Agency s report was proven false. They had not only been embarrassed by the Karmapa Lama s actions, but also by trying to cover up the truth. The message was voiced loud and clear.
Still to this day the Chinese have little to say about the situation, besides the Karmapa Lama left for religious artifacts. Ali Abootalebi, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, said during an interview, the Chinese are searching for a way to control the Tibetan s, but they seem to keep running into problems. In order to counteract their problems, they say nothing at all. This is why there is little response to the Karmapa Lama leaving Tibet. Silence seems the only solution to a problem they have made for themselves.
With the flight of the Karmapa Lama, the world has understood more clearly the Tibetans struggle for religious freedom and independence. But, unfortunately for Tibetans , no country seems to be standing against China. When Professor Abootalebi was asked why the U.S. does not get involved with this issue, he responded, The United States can only do so much with China s policies. They can lean on China, but only with slight pressure because of delicate foreign relations with China. This is unfortunate for Tibet because with out U.S. support, few other countries seem to have the power and influence to stand against China s actions.
All individuals must see the actions taken by the Karmapa Lama as extreme. And therefore, must act in an extreme manner on human rights and religious freedoms in Tibet. China is seen as a major cardholder in the world today, and must hold up to such a responsibility. Currently, their government must be held accountable for their actions.