It has been more than seven decades since the Chinese military invaded Tibet and massacred thousands of Tibetan protesters. As Tibet has been traditionally a peaceful country, dedicated to the Buddhist philosophy of non-violence, the resistant movement of Tibetans could not match the Chinese aggressors. It is a black spot in world history that peaceful Tibet was allowed to be virtually slaughtered by the Chinese invaders, while the entire world community looked the other way for all practical purposes.
Of course, India is one of the countries which ignored the plight of Tibetans and the Indian conscience is pricking even today for the failure of the then-Indian government to protest against the Chinese aggression. Like adding fuel to fire, India did the Himalayan mistake of approving the Chinese occupation of Tibet. All that India did for Tibet was to permit His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his supporters and suffering Tibetans to enter Indian territory as refugees.
India is now paying the price for its historical mistake of approving the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Having occupied Tibet, now China has a common border with India in several areas and is constantly threatening to occupy Indian territory and is claiming Arunachal Pradesh as part of China’s territory.
Apart from India, western democratic countries, primarily the USA also let down Tibet in the hour of crisis and only extended lip support. Later on, the US tried to help Tibetans to organise a sort of guerrilla war against the Chinese in Tibet but abruptly withdrew the support for whatever reasons. Now, on and off, the USA pays lip support to Tibet and announces some cosmetic resolutions and it is not doing anything more significant for Tibet for all practical purposes.
Left to themselves, Tibetans have formed a government in exile operating from India and this government in exile is yet to cause any serious concern to China about Tibet’s independence movement. Meanwhile, with the elapse of several decades after the Chinese occupation, many Tibetans who faced the brutality of the Chinese military have passed away. A new generation of Tibetans now living in Tibet are being systematically brainwashed by the Chinese government, forcing them to think that Tibet has no claim as an independent nation.
Many of the Tibetans who are outside Tibet have migrated to other countries and a substantial number of them have become citizens of some other country. Though Tibetan blood and spirit may be there in them, most of them essentially have to pledge their loyalty to another country, where they have attained citizenship.
The question is where would Tibet go from here?
In spite of the conditions mentioned above, the hope and fervent desire for Tibet to emerge as an independent country sooner or later is still very much there. To achieve this much-needed independence, Tibetans, wherever they are and whichever country’s citizenship they hold presently, have to be focused and constantly remember the glory and pride of their motherland Tibet.
In recent times, isolated groups of Tibetans are still protesting against Chinese occupation wherever possible and quite a number of Tibetans have also self-immolated themselves to spread awareness about their plight under the control of the merciless Chinese government and shake the conscience of the world community. In view of these soft strategies, it has been ensured that the world has not forgotten Tibet and its cause, though this is much against the wishes of the Chinese government. What is required now is that the Tibetans have to intensify their struggle for freedom through a more aggressive campaign against the Chinese government’s greed, lack of ethical considerations and expansionist strategies.
All that is required is that Tibetans should start speaking not only for the cause of Tibet but also for the cause of every other country, which is now threatened by the Chinese government by its aggressive territorial expansion claims.
Tibetans should become the voice of the world to expose China’s greed and aggressive strategies, for which Tibet is the standing example.
Certainly, Tibetans are the most appropriate people to initiate and continue a such worldwide campaign to expose the Chinese government’s expansionist policies, as Tibet is the first victim of Chinese brutality in the 20th century and the Tibetans have been the most oppressed and suffering people at the hands of the Chinese military.
There are countries like Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, and India that also face issues with China due to China’s territorial claims. And there are countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and a number of other countries in Africa that the Chinese government is trying to bring under their control by extending loans to them and by implementing its One Belt One Road strategy. There are many nations which are scared of the Chinese government today due to its economic and military power and it’s greed and does not want to antagonise the Chinese government in any way. Nevertheless, they would be happy to hear a worldwide voice that would checkmate the Chinese government’s aggressive plans and methods, which, otherwise, could become a threat to the world peace and territorial integrity of several nations.
The strategy of Tibetans should be to start a worldwide campaign against the Chinese government’s methods and greed through an appropriate public campaign which is bound to get media support and promote awareness in the world. Certainly, several friends of Tibet and sympathisers for Tibet’s cause and those who come to know about the plight of Tibetans due to this world-wise campaign would come forward to support the campaign in one way or the other. All that is required is a trigger from Tibetans.
Today, China has the ambition of becoming a world superpower, which means it has to get international attention and sort of respect. The anti-Chinese government campaign would certainly upset the government of China and perhaps, make it reform its behaviour and strategies. This could be the beginning point for the ultimate liberation of Tibet from China’s control.
An aggressive global anti-Chinese government campaign by Tibetans would be the right response to the Chinese government’s aggressive and continued occupation of Tibet.
Venkataraman is a trustee with the “Nandini Voice for the Deprived,” a not-for-profit organisation that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and supports their cause. To promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues dispassionately and objectively.
The views expressed in this article are that of the author’s and should not be attributed to Tibet Express.