The Tibet Issue

On March 10, 2009, the Dalai Lama, speaking from his headquarters in Dharamsala, repeated his well worn claim that the Chinese, over the past fifty years, ‘have brought untold suffering and destruction to the land and people of Tibet,’ arguing that Tibet’s ‘religion, culture, language and identity – which successive generations of Tibetans have considered more precious than their lives – are nearing extinction.’ The Chinese, he added, have turned Tibet into a ‘hell on earth.’1 

Empirical studies carried out by many of the world’s leading academic specialists on contemporary Tibet do not, however, lend support to any of the Dalai Lama’s claims. Rather than suffering ‘cultural genocide’, the inhabitants of China’s Tibetan regions have, since the 1980s, enjoyed a cultural renaissance, with more Tibetans now able to read and write in their own language than at any time in their long history. Living standards have improved significantly according to most indicators, and violations carried out against the personal integrity rights of individual Tibetans by China’s law enforcement agencies simply have not occurred to date on the scale often claimed by the pro-Tibetan lobby.

1 Tania Branigan, ‘Dalai Lama warns of Tibetan culture’s extinction’, The Guardian, Tuesday, March 10, 2009.


Make a Free Website with Yola.