"The situation in Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of the world," said Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of House. "If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China and the Chinese in Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak out on human rights," in reacting to the unprecedented Tibetan protests against 58 years of Chinese occupation, and China's swift and brutal crackdown. The tragedy began when China invaded Tibet in 1949/1950. Before the Chinese occupation Tibet was free and peaceful. There were no Chinese settlers in Tibet and no Tibetan refugees.
Tibet is an ancient nation created, not by wars and conquests, but by a common ancestry, culture, customs, language, beliefs and above all by geography. Tibet is distinct from neighboring countries (earning its name of the roof of the world), surrounded by the Himalayas in the south and south west, the treeless and waterless plain of the north, and deep gorges and high passes in the east. Eastern Tibetans live at 12,000 to 15,000 feet while the Chinese in Szechuan province live near sea level. At the time of Chinese invasion 58 years ago, there stood outside Jokhang, the holiest temple in Tibet, a stone pillar with the Tibet-China treaty signed in 821 A.D. establishing the China-Tibet border as the river at Dartsedo, known in Chinese as Kanding. The treaty concluded: "Tibetans shall live happily in Tibet and Chinese shall live happily in China."
Tibetan Emperor Trisong Deutsen established Buddhism as the state religion and Tibetan soldiers were disbanded to civilian status along Tibet's borders. Since then, Tibetans have engaged in spiritual pursuits, rather than military might. Later Buddhism was seen as weakening the state and an attempt was made to revive Tibet's ancient religion, Bon, but Tibetans rejected that. China was conquered repeatedly, in spite of its Great Wall. Foreign Mongol and later Manchu rulers subjugated the Chinese, used non-Chinese language for official communication, and feared Chinese rebellion. In the last century China suffered under hegemony of Western colonial powers and Imperial Japan. When the Chinese became independent under Mao's Communist rule, there was a widespread belief fostered by Chinese themselves, that under Chinese rule, people would be free and that the Chinese would be good neighbors.
Had the great Chinese civilization and soul survived centuries of subjugation?
After the Chinese invasion they waited in eastern Tibet near Drichu River, and forced the government of Tibet to enter into negotiations. The Tibetan delegates were made to sign under duress a "17-point agreement on the liberation of Tibet." China guaranteed under this treaty “. . . the Tibetan people have the right of exercising national regional autonomy" and that the Chinese government "will not alter the existing political system in Tibet."
Tibetans were swiftly denied the right to self-government. The lives and liberty of the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama and Tibet's officials were threatened and/or deprived. More than 1.2 million Tibetans (out of a population of six million) have been killed over the past six decades; more than 6,000 monasteries were destroyed and cultural artifacts destroyed or sold. This has been the Chinese "liberation”!
On March 10, 1959 Tibetan people rose up against Chinese occupation. At that time Lhasa, capital of Tibet, was occupied by Chinese soldiers promising to "liberate" the Tibetans and "make Tibetans the masters of their fate." There were no Chinese settlers who control commerce including brothels as they do today, there were no Chinese prisons and sadistic prison guards and military thugs as there are today. Yet, for Tibetans it was clear that Chinese occupation would bring death, diseases, destruction and enslavement.
Fifty years later, China is a superpower and is to host the Olympics in August of 2008. China's power extends from satellites in space to your local Wal-Mart, from the halls of the dignitaries of the United Nations to the starving refugees of Darfur. It is right and necessary that the world see China's hidden face.
On March 10, 2008, a few unarmed Tibetan monks engaged in a peaceful rally and sit-in. Chinese vastly outnumber Tibetans in Lhasa, and throughout Tibet. The Chinese control the government, establishments of commerce, the courts and the police and prisons, and above all, the paramilitary and the military forces. Any Tibetan who protests, calls for freedom and justice, or honors the Dalai Lama, knows full well that the Chinese will respond brutally.
Yet protest they did. Tibetan national flags flew again and monks, youths, men and omen, on foot and on horseback, across the length and width of Tibet, rose up against Chinese rule, arbitrary arrests, racial discrimination, the theft of Tibetan ancestral homes and lands, and daily indignities great and small. Tibet's clean air, water, and fragile but sustainable ecosystem, is being befouled by mass population transfers. Tibetans do not want Beijing air and Shanghai pollution.
The Chinese government responded by demonizing the Dalai Lama and Tibetans demands for human rights. China's premier Wen Jiabao has stated that he would welcome an independent investigation because he has “evidence.” Tibetans and supporters have asked him to show the evidence and allow news media to return to gather the facts. Yet China has continued to ape Western wanted posters for Tibetan protesters, and revived Stalinist show trials.
China is not only hosting the Olympics but as a member of the United Nations is obliged to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, in part: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights...Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person...Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense." But China has imposed a collective punishment on Tibetan population by locking down Tibetan homes and areas and surrounding them with armed soldiers and vehicles. A day after arrest, Tibetans were paraded before cameras as guilty. Officials addressed Tibetans as serfs and colonial subjects.
As the Olympic torch makes its way to honor the best in the human spirit and body, Chinese military trucks bristling with armed soldiers are terrorizing the Tibetans who were promised liberation. Tibetans were blacklisted before arrest and found guilty the next day. The communist oligarchy who rules China and Tibet wants to be a global power, yet the government policies that brought out the Tibetan protests are not isolated local aberrations. The Tiananmen Square massacre, the creation of bogus party heroes, the poisoning of pet food, tooth paste, children's toys, fake cancer medications and blood thinner pills, and helping the perpetrators of Darfur and Burma massacres spring from the same wounded Chinese soul.
Many Chinese have spoken up for free Tibet because they have gotten over a mentality victimized by centuries of foreign subjugation. China’s future depends on its honoring treaties, whether with ancient Tibetan kings or modern United Nations, and living by the universal declaration of human rights. Please ask for monitoring of human rights and open and fair trials by contacting:
> UN Secretary General
> International Court of Justice