Re: “Tibet part of ‘dirty war’ the West is waging against China”, Have Your Say, May 2.
Historically, Tibet has never been a part of China. Tibet was forcibly occupied by the People’s Republic of China from 1950 to 1959.
China was under Mongolian sovereignty between 1279 and 1368, at which time Tibet enjoyed a “priest-patron” relationship with Mongolia but was not under Mongolian rule.
There were no serfs in Tibet as the country had richly productive land for both crops and animals. With settled agriculture, there was no need even to hunt for wildlife. When China invaded Tibet, the Party stripped the country bare to feed its members and soldiers, who were facing starvation because of China’s man-made famine. Even Tibet’s wildlife, which had been left untouched for thousands of years, was taken.
In 1951, Communist China invited Tibetans to a festival in Beijing. Once there, the Tibetans were forced to sign a 17-point treaty that left them without delegated power. Why did China need the treaty? Because Tibet was a sovereign and independent country at that time.
In March 1959, the spiritual and political head of Tibet, the 14th Dalai Lama, had to shift the government of Tibet into exile in India. In 2011 he devolved political power to Tibetans’ elected president. The Tibetan people continue to struggle for their homeland under illegal Chinese occupation. An estimated 20 per cent of Tibetans have been killed under the occupation. Since 1987, 150 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest against Chinese repressive policies in Tibet.