We are witnessing Chinese government’s harsh crackdown in Tibet.
Chinese military invaded and took Tibet by force in 1951, and the region has been a source of tension ever since. There was strong uprising in 1959 against Chinese rule but it was brutally oppressed by Chinese military. ‘Hundred thousand’ of Tibet people were killed by Chinese military and Dalai Lama exiled to India. It was on March 10, the anniversary of a failed 1959 Tibetan uprising when this protests began.
As a Korean who remembers the brutal Japanese colonial rule during early 20th century, and Military government in 1970s and 80s, I feel really sorry for Tibet people. There is interesting essay written by some American teacher teaching in Korea which made comparison between Korea’s independence movement and Tibet’s demonstration.
Letter From Seoul: Tibet Protests Recall Korea’s Independence Movement
As Japanese rulers argued, Chinese officers claimed that they brought development and installed infrastructure in Tibet and saved Tibet from feudal system. They argue that Tibet people should be grateful to China.
However, Chinese government has been more concerned about natural resources in Tibet and its strategic importance in the military perspective. Tibet has 70 different kinds of rich mineral resources such as coal, diamond, magnesium and uranium, and its geographical trait as a plateau had advantage for military installation and buffer zone against India. Tibet’s illiteracy is highest in China, and marginalized in economic development. Chinese government adopted a policy to migrate Han Chinese to Tibet and opened a new railroad connecting Tibet, but Han Chinese monopolized most of economic benefits in Tibet and Tibet people experienced identity crisis.
One of most important part in Tibet problem is that Chinese government has been distorting Tibet’s history by the ‘Southwest Project’. By the Southeast Project, Chinese government argued that Tibet has been part of China. It is true that Tibet was subjugated by Won Dynasty and maintained tributary relation during Qing dynasty. However, Tibet maintained their sovereignty for much longer time, and proud of their culture, language, and religion.
Most of Tibet people say that they cannot forgive Chinese government who destroyed their temple and their culture. They don’t want Chinese army to protect Tibet.
I think Chinese policy toward Tibet which has been imperialistic and hypocritical backfiring now in Tibet.
I saw old Korean people's faces who lost their sovereignty by Japanese, who was oppressed by brutal military regime, in the sad face of Tibet monk in this picture. Tibet people should be allowed to choose their own destiny.