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The world, and more particularly Hollywood, is obsessed with the plight of Tibet. In reality Tibet's story is similar to many stories of oppression around the globe, but for some reason Westerners seem to focus more on Tibet.

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The world, and more particularly Hollywood, is obsessed with the plight of Tibet. In reality Tibet's story is similar to many stories of oppression around the globe, but for some reason Westerners seem to focus more on Tibet. Answering the question of why that is, is almost as difficult as determining the actual issue itself. Is China's claim to Tibet as part of its multi-ethnic nation proper, or is Tibet's claim to a national identity valid. Both China and Tibet have valid arguments for whether Tibet should or should not be an independent country; there is no clear claim to legitimacy in either case. Time will prove which view is correct. If Chinese efforts to modernize and educate produce the desired result of winning the hearts and minds of ethnic Tibetans then China is correct. However, if these efforts fail then they prove the strength of Tibetan culture and their national unity and prove the legitimacy of their claim to independence for political Tibet (ethnographic autonomy being unrealistic). United States intervention in Tibet would not be valid if the intent were to affect the issue of sovereignty, but in regards to human rights the US and UN has an obligation to uphold them. It is interesting to delve into possible reasons for our obsession with Tibet, as well as to examine the numerous fallacies that go along with Western perception. In "Seven Years in Tibet", Hollywood portrays a people who are simple, peace loving and happy. ...read more.


Tibet was extraordinarily primitive militarily. The British managed to defeat them with an expeditionary force earlier in the century. "In the battle of Guru alone, between six hundred and seven hundred Tibetan troops were killed in a matter of minutes. No match for the invaders, the British force entered Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, on August 3, 1904." (Goldstein, 23) In defending their claim to being independent the Tibetans cite history the same as the Chinese. They don't consider their subjugation under the Yuan to be an example of being part of the Chinese state. "Tibetans accept only that they, like China, were subjugated by the Mongols and incorporated into a Mongol empire centered in China." (Goldstein, 4) Under the Ming they had a completely independent administration of Tibet for virtually the entire period, so they don't consider themselves to have been a part of China during that period either. Even during the Qing period Tibet was almost totally autonomous of the rest of China. They had their own independent administration of government, and eventually their own military force. When the Qing government fell in 1911 the Tibetans quickly saw the opportunity to be truly independent. "The fall of the Qing dynasty was a stroke of good fortune that the thirteenth Dalai Lama immediately capitalized on. ...he organized a military force to regain his power.. (he) triumphantly returned to Lhasa in 1913." (Goldstein, 30) From 1913 until 1950 the Dalai Lama and the government of Tibet independently governed Tibet effectively. ...read more.


(Santora, NYT) Steps such as these are appropriate in helping to ease the suffering of the Tibetans. The Chinese should not be allowed to continue persecuting the religious practices of the Tibetans, and not following proper procedures of law (such as with Lobsang Dondrub). The US has set a precedent of military intervention to aid repressed ethnic groups, such as the Albanians and recently the Iraqis and Kurds. Intervention in Tibet however is not nearly as clear cut. First of all from a pragmatic view a war with China would be extraordinarily costly and bloody, and possibly trigger another World War. Ethically Tibetans in a few years might no longer want independence. The efforts of the Chinese to modernize and educate Tibetans may very well result in a new acceptance of Chinese rule, and in that case cutting of Tibet from China would be detrimental. The one question that is difficult to comprehend is: Why does China want to hold Tibet if the people there truly do not want to belong to a greater China? If the people resist of what benefit can China get out of the occupation? No one in history has been able to subjugate a resisting people forever, and China will certainly not be able to achieve it with the Tibetans. If the Tibetans truly want to be free then China ought to let them go for their own benefit. Occupying a hostile country is expensive, draining and a poor investment. Perhaps the Chinese will on day realize the futility of their efforts and let Tibet go. Knupp 1 ...read more.

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