By - Chalamba Kshetri
Nothing is more painful then loosing the Sovereignty of One’s Nation or Native States at the hands of Foreign Intruder. My conscience says that, ‘ It is against the law, against the Human Nature, and against the Human Civilization’. However, Tibet- The Himalayan Nation lost its Glory of Independence to the People Republic of China 61 years ago. Tibet was a Buddhist Nation with a peaceful territorial upbringing that never interested in the scope of War and Aggression. Half of the Tibetan people belongs to the Monk Community, a Nation rather interested in Spiritual and Religious beliefs. I was shattered by the fate of this Nation. How could they annexed such a Peaceful Nation? The word that comes to my mind is, Its Ilegal!
As for the Tibetan people, their land has been unlawfully occupied by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. On the flip side, China claim that Tibet has been part of their Nation since Ming Dynasty ( 1368- 1644 ).
Brief History of Tibet-
Geographically Tibet is large, sparsely populated, and the region lies on the South West edge of China. With a history of 2500 years, Tibet used to be an Independent Empire. They had their own Culture, Religion, Language since time immemorial, which they considered it to be unique. Since Tibet lies in the High Plateau of the Himalayas, the place is extremely hard to reach. Rounded by the Mountains of Kunlun in the North and the wide range of Himalayan Mountains on the South, the climatic conditions is harsh, with violent swings of temperature between night and day at all times of the year.
The British invaded Tibet first in 1912 with the primary objectives of trade and business contacts with China. The British utilise Tibet as their route source, since the region lies in the South West edge of China. In the later years, The British granted Autonomy to Tibet. When The British left Tibet, they declared it as an Independent Nation. After that The Tibetan Government was formed in 1912 which later go on until 1951. The turning point of the history of Tibet is when The People Liberation Army of China invaded Tibet in 1949. After defeating the small Tibetan Army and occupying half the Country, The Chinese Government imposed the ’17- point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet’ on the Tibetan Government in 1951. The Content of the the ’17- point Agreement’ is of the following -
1) The Tibetan People shall unite and drive out imperialist agressive forces from Tibet; the Tibetan people shall return to the family of the Motherland the People Republic of China ( PRC).
2) The local Government of Tibet shall actively assist the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to enter Tibet and Consolidate the National Defenses.
3) In accordance with the policy towards Nationalities laid down in the Common Programme of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference ( CPPCC ), the Tibetan people have the right of exercising National Regional Autonomy under the Unified leadership of the Central People’s Government ( CPG ) of the PRC.
4) The Central authorities will not alter the existing political system in Tibet. The Central authorities also will not alter the established status, functions and powers of the Dalai Lama. Officials of various Ranks shall hold office as usual.
5) The established status, functions and powers of the Panchen Ngoerhtehni shall be maintained.
6) By the established status, functions and powers of the Dalai Lama and of the Panchen Ngoerhtehni are meant the status, functions and powers of the thirteenth Dalai Lama and the Ninth Panchen Ngoerhtehni when they had friendly and amicable relations with each other.
7) The Policy of freedom of religious belief laid down in the Common Programme of the CPPCC shall be carried out. The religious beliefs, customs and habits of the Tibetan people shall be respected and Lama monasteries shall be protected. The Central authorities will not effect a change in the income of the Monasteries.
8) Tibetan troops shall be reorganized step by step into the PLA and become a part of the defence of the PRC.
9) The Spoken and Written language and School education of the Tibetan Nationality shall be developed step by step in accordance with the actual condition in Tibet.
10) Tibetan Agriculture, livestock raising, industry and commerce shall be developed step by step and the people’s livelihood shall be improved 11) In matters relating to various reforms in Tibet, their will be no compulsion on the part of the Central authorities. The local Government of Tibet shall carried out reforms of its own accord and when the people raise demands for reform, they shall be settled by means of Consultation with the leading personnel of Tibet.
12) In so far as former pro- imperialist and pro- Kuomintang ( KMT ) officials resolutely sever relations with imperialism and the KMT and do not engage in sabotage or resistance, they may continue to hold office irrespective of their past.
13) The PLA entering Tibet shall abide by all the above mentioned policies and shall also be fair in all buying and selling and shall not arbitrarily take a needle or thread from the people.
14) The CPG shall have centralised handling of all external affairs of the area of Tibet; and there will be peaceful co- existance with neighbouring countries and establishment and development of fair commercial and trading relations with them on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for territory and sovereignty.
15) In order to ensure the implementation of this agreement, CPG shall set up a a Military and Administrative Committee and a Military Area HQ in Tibet and apart from the personnel sent there by the CPG- shall absorb as many local Tibetan Personnel as possible to take part in the work. Local Tibetan Personnel taking part in the Military and Administrative Committee may include Patriotic elements from the local Government of Tibet, various principal monasteries; the name list shall be set forth after consultation between the representatives designated by the CPG and various quarters concerned and shall be submitted to the CPG for appointment.
16) Funds needed by the Military and Administrative Committee, the Military Area HQ and the PLA entering Tibet shall be provided by the CPG . The local Government of Tibet should assist the PLA in the purchase of transport of food, fodder and other daily necessities.
17) This agreement shall come into force immediately after signature and seals are affixed to it.
The above document is an agreement signed in 1951 between the delegates of the 14th Dalai Lama, the Sovereign De Facto State of Tibet with the Central People’s Government of the then, newly established People’s Republic of China on affirming Chinese Sovereignty over Tibet. The Invasion and the 17- Point agreement resulted in the Dissolution of Tibetan Government ( 1912- 1951 ) and surrendered their territory to the People Republic of China.
His Holiness The Dalai Lama the 14th and his Government in Exile -
The Dalai Lama, an individual said to be an incarnation of Buddha of Compassion, had been both the Political and Spiritual leader of the Country. The 17- point Agreement of the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet was signed between the delegates of the Present Dalai Lama with the Chinese Government. Since Since the Agreement was signed under duress, the Agreement locked validity under International law. The presence of 40, 000 troops in Tibet, the thread of an immediate occupation of Lhasa, and the prospect of the total obliteration of the Tibetan state left Tibetan little choice.
As the resistance to the Chinese escalated, particularly in Tibet, The Chinese repression, which included the destruction of religious buildings and the imprisonment of monks and other community leaders increased dramatically. By 1959, the popular Uprising culminated in Massive demonstration in Lhasa. However, China crushed the Uprising, 87,000 Tibetans were dead in the Lhasa region alone.
On the pretext of possible Persecution, The Present Dalai Lama with his 80,000 followers fled to India an set up the Exile Government in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. In 1960, The Exile Government had named The Central Administration ( CTA ), which is the continuation of the Government of Independent Tibet. Today, The Central Tibetan Administration functions as the Head of the Tibetan People. However, The CTA will not assume power when Tibetan becomes free. According to the Constitution of the Exile Government, The Central Tibetan Administration would dissolved as soon as Tibet regains Freedom.
Tenzing Gyatso also known as The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet had travelled extensively dozens of Countries, delivering addresses at Colleges and Universities, meeting with Political and Religious leaders, and lecturing on Buddhism. His activities focussed on two main goals, one of which was to build and sustain International Awareness of the plight of Tibet. He continued to advocate on the Independence of Tibet and their Human Rights. In Recognition of his efforts, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1989.
Present Situation -
Tibetan Government in Exile claims that over 6 million people have killed since the Chinese Occupation. With the Chinese policy of resettlement of Chinese to Tibet, The Tibetans have become a minority in their own Country. Chinese is the Official Language, upto 6,000 monasteries and shrines have been destroyed. Natural Resources are devastated. Tibetan Culture comes close to being eradicated there. The Dalai Lama has coined the term ‘ Cultural Genocide’ to the Chinese influence on Tibetan Culture. Peaceful demonstration or protests by the Nuns, Monks and layperson resulted in deaths and thousands of arrests. These Political Prisoners are tortured and held in harsh conditions with little hope of Justice. In Tibet today, there is no freedom of speech, religion or press and arbitrary dissidents continue. Tibet is the source of five of Asia’s greatest rivers, which over 2 billion people depend upon. Since 1959, the Chinese Government estimates that they have removed over $ 54 billion worth of Timber. Over 80% of their forests have been destroyed and large amounts of Nuclear and Toxic waste have been disposed in Tibet. Despite these conditions, the United States and other Western Countries refused to acknowledge the Struggle of Tibetan Independence, instead they continue to support China economically. This shows their baised nature and lack of respect for these critical issues of Political and Religious Freedom and Human Rights.
As an admirer of Human Civilization and Peace Process, I am of the opined that The People Republic of China will remain in the ‘Abyss’ for their Habitat Destruction in Tibet, that is something I am confident that History will not forgive.