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Under Communist Chinese rule, Tibet has gone through drastic political changes and repression. The Chinese government has carried out various “development” and “modernization” projects in Tibet but Tibetans to the large extend remain marginalized politically and economically in the “Tibet Autonomous Region” and in the various Tibetan autonomous Prefectures and Counties.
“Maintenance of Stability” is the number one priority for China’s Tibet policy. “Anti-separatism” and “patriotic education” campaigns are launched endlessly in Tibetan towns, schools and monasteries. Tibetans have carried out numerous peaceful protests against Chinese policies in Tibet, including the large scale protests of 1987, 1988, 1989 and 2008. However, all these protests were violently crushed by Chinese government. Representatives of the His Holiness the Dalai Lama held nine rounds of talks with their Beijing counterparts from 2002 through 2010. Thereafter there have been no new rounds of dialogue. In June 2012, the two envoys of H.H. the Dalai Lama resigned from their position, expressing “utter frustration over the lack of positive response from the Chinese side.”
Chapter Eleven: Ten long years of “Cultural Revolution” and Catastrophe in the Land of Snow
Beginning in 1966, Tibet was swept into the waves of Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” and in the ten years that followed, the Tibetan people went through another era of political catastrophe. All the remaining cultural and religious traditions of Tibet now became targets for destruction. It is true that Chinese traditional culture was destroyed as well during the “Cultural Revolution,” but unlike Chinese, Tibetans were targeted specifically as “separatists” and many hundreds were imprisoned and killed.
Chapter Twelve: The Post “Cultural Revolution” and the Tibetan Issue
The “Cultural Revolution” ended after the death of Chairman Mao in 1976. In 1977, Deng Xiaoping regained political power as one of the top leaders of Chinese Government. In 1978, Deng actually became the decision maker in Chinese Communist Government. In 1978, Mr. Gyalo Thondup, the brother of H.H. the Dalai Lama visited Beijing and met with Deng Xiaoping. Deng said, “Except independence, we can discus anything on the Tibet issue.” Following this, four Tibetan exile delegations from the Tibetan Government in Exile Dharamsala, India were able to visited China and Tibet from 1979 through 1982. This chapter discusses major events and maters related to Tibet issue during this period.
Chapter Thirteen: A Relatively More Relaxed Period
In 1980, Hu Yaoban became the General Secretary of the Central Government of Chinese Communist Party. He visited Lhasa and expressed his shock at the situation in Tibet. Hu visited many Tibetan areas. Hu said, “First of all, the living standard of Tibetan people must be reinstated to the living standard which they had prior to 1951.” Hu carried out a series of new policies for Tibet, including the policy to reduce the number of Chinese cadres in Tibet. Tibetans were able to have a relatively relaxed period for a short while. Hu Yaoban was open minded and a reformer, however while Hu’s new policy benefitted Tibetans, it was far from a solution for the Tibet issue.
Chapter Fourteen: A Shift of Political Climate in Tibet
In 1987, Hu Yaoban resigned and the political power was seized by the leftists. The Chinese Government changed its relaxed Tibet policy of Hu Yaoban’s era and restarted stringent political campaigns placing Tibetans under renewed political and economic oppression. In 1987 and 1988, a number of political protests took place in Tibet, including two large protests in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. The Chinese government violently crushed these demonstrations, and many Tibetans were imprisoned.
Chapter Fifteen: The Situation in Tibet Worsens: 1989 – A Year of Many Events
From August 1988, the Chinese Government sent “work teams” into Tibetan monasteries and started the campaign for “political cleanup.” “Anti separatism” and “patriotic education” were forcefully carried out all across Tibet. Many monks and lay people were arrested. In January 1989, the Panchen Lama suddenly passed away at Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Tibet. Hu Jintao, then the Chinese Communist Party Secretary in Tibet, launched extensive political campaigns in Tibet and the situation in Tibet deteriorated even further. In March, Tibetans held peaceful protests and Hu used military force to crush the protests and put Lhasa under marshal law. Thousands of Tibetans were arrested and jailed – many were killed.
In December 1989, H.H. the Dalai Lama, the political and religious leader of Tibetan people, was awarded Nobel Peace Prize to recognize his extraordinary leadership for Tibetan people’s non-violent struggle for freedom.
Chapter Sixteen: Chinese “Development” and “Maintenance of Stability” Policies in Tibet
After Hu Jintao left Tibet, Chinese Government sent Chen Kuiyuan as the party secretary in TAR. Chen was hard liner just like Hu. In 1994, Beijing held “the Third Tibet Work Forum” and started sister-provinces programs to supposedly develop the Tibet Autonomous Region. Under this program, large numbers of Chinese and Chinese companies came to “develop” Tibet. At the “Tibet work forum,” the Chinese government made the decision to strengthen the “strike hard” campaign in Tibet. As a result, severe restrictions were placed on cultural and religious activities in Tibetan monasteries and communities and under the name of “development,” continued destruction of Tibetan cultural heritages, historical architectures and Tibet’s environment took place.
At the same time, the search began for the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama through traditional Tibetan Buddhist practice. On May 14th, H.H. the Dalai Lama issued a statement recognizing 6 year old Gedun Chokyi Nyima as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. However, the Chinese government took the 6-year old Panchen Lama and his parents away from their home, imprisoned Chadral Rinpoche, the head of the search team for Panchen Lama’s reincarnation, and replaced another child as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. Since then, no one knows where the Chinese government has been holding the Panchen Lama and his parents. However, Tibetans and followers of Tibetan Buddhism refer to the Chinese picked one as “fake Panchen “or “Chinese Panchen.”
Chapter Seventeen: Chinese Propagation of Tibetan Culture and the Wave of Animal Fur Burning Movement
The Chinese government, in an effort to propagate to the world how “Tibetans are living happily” and how “Tibetan culture has been preserved perfectly” started making great shows of traditional Tibetan clothing and Traditional Tibetan festivals. As such, beginning in the late 1990s, wearing of Tibetan robes lined with rare wild animal furs became very popular and there were growing concerns about the increase of illegal wildlife trade and the lack of enforcement from the Chinese authorities in preventing such trades. In January 2006, H. H. the Dalai Lama made a strong statement about the importance of wildlife conservation and compassion towards animals during a gathering of thousands of Tibetans from Tibet and in exile in southern India. In less than two weeks following this statement, a fur-burning movement sprung out in Tibet. Spontaneous gatherings of people took place to participate in the burning of pelts animal furs. Chinese authorities concerned about the Dalai Lama’s influence in Tibet, reacted drastically, detaining number of Tibetans for following this initiative, and making it mandatory for TV personnel and others to wear fur. Tibetans however clearly indicated that these initiatives are expressions of concern for wildlife protection upholding key tenets of Buddhism.
Chapter Eighteen: Nine Rounds of Formal Talks between Tibetan Government in Exile and Chinese Government
In September 2002, the Tibetan delegation led by H.H. the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy Lodi G. Gyari went to China and the dialogue between Dharamsala and Beijing was officially restarted. Since then, nine rounds of talks were held between the two parties. In October 2008, during the eighth round of talks, the Tibetan delegation submitted the “Memorandum on Genuine Autonomy for the Tibetan People.” This chapter analyses major issues of the Tibetan-Chinese dialogue during this period.
Chapter Nineteen: “Qinghai-Tibet Railway”
In 2001, Chinese Government restarted work on building the railway from Gulmod to Lhasa, and it was called “The Second Phase of the Project of Qinghai- Tibet Railway.” In 2005, the railway from Gulmod to Lhasa was completed. This chapter discusses and analyses what impact the railway has on the environment, economy, social-politics, culture and population structures in Tibet.
Chapter Twenty: The Great Protests of 2008 in Tibet
In 2008, a wave of protests against the Chinese government swept across Tibet. All of these peaceful and non-violent protests were crushed down violently by Chinese authorities. Chinese military took over most of monasteries and towns across Tibet. Many Tibetans were killed, more were injured and many thousands were arrested and imprisoned.
This chapter discusses and analyses the political back ground, specific reasons for protests, and the way that the Chinese government handled non-violent demonstrations in Tibet by sections and sub-sections:
- The Major Cause for Protests Across Tibet;
- From March 10th to 13th , 2008;
- March 14th, 2008;
- Tibetan Flag Vs. Chinese Flag;
- Chinese Crackdown and Suppression;
- Chinese Official Reports;
- Arrest and sentencing of Tibetans;
- Patriotic Education Campaign;
- Stimulating Conflict between Chinese and Tibetan People;
- Isolation from the Outside World and Hiding the Truth”;
- Specific Policies against Tibetans:
- Exposing the true situation by Foreign Medias;
- Major speech and letters by H.H. the Dalai Lama;
- Appeal to all Chinese all over the world;
- Statement to all Tibetans;
- Appeal to all Chinese Buddhists;
- Chinese Calls for Chinese Government to Change Its Policy in Tibet;
- Open Letter to Chinese Government by a group of Chinese Scholars;
- A statement by a Chinese Lawyers for Tibetans;
- International Tibet scholars submit Open Letter to President Hu Jintao;
- Beijing Olympics Flame and Tibet.