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Guest Column - Force Magazine
Iron Grip

Tibet continues to languish under the Chinese occupation

Maj. Gen. Mrinal Suman (retd) Maj. Gen. Mrinal Suman (retd)

History stands testimony to the fact that a strong China has always been an expansionist China. To satisfy its lust for grabbing additional territories, it has forever been at odds with the neighbouring countries. In addition to invading India in 1962, the Communist China fought a border war with the Soviet Union in 1969 and attacked Vietnam the next year.

Even today, China is continuing with its aggressive military expansionism in the South China Sea. It is laying claims over a large number of islands and reefs; and demanding exclusive rights over the maritime lanes and economic resources of the area. In fact, China is waging a silent war against all nations bordering South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin, i.e. Brunei, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam. The long-pending dispute over the ownership of the Spratly and Paracel islands is considered to be a highly volatile issue.

As seen above, China can never live in peace with its neighbours. However, its annexation of Tibet in 1950 can be termed as the darkest chapter in its ignominious history. Deviously, it invaded Tibet when the world was pre-occupied in grappling with the after-effects of the World War and had no appetite for another military conflict. Consequently, the world preferred to ignore the Chinese transgression. Ill-legal occupation of Tibet resulted in brutal decimation of an ancient, rich and peace-loving culture. It is an unforgivable narrative of the world’s apathy and indifference to the cultural genocide of the Tibetan Buddhism.

Whereas the end of the Second World War saw propagation of anti-colonisation views, the Chinese decided to do the opposite. When most European powers were withdrawing from their colonies and granting independence to the locals, China invaded Tibet to convert it into a colony.

Tweaking historical facts, China claims that Tibet has been a part of China for around 800 years. It is a deceitful assertion. Tibet has been an independent and free country for several thousand years with duly recognised borders, language, currency, postal system and flag.

Post 1950, Beijing has decadently incorporated large areas of original Tibet into the neighbouring Chinese provinces. Only a part has been made into a separate administrative entity called the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

Tibet is a Chinese Colony
Tibet is autonomous only in name. Notwithstanding the deceptive taxonomy, it is a colony of Beijing and is being treated as such. The Chinese government exercises total and unbridled control over Tibet. The locals have no say. Even though TAR has an ethnic Tibetan as the Chairman, he is only a titular figure. He is subordinate to the Branch Secretary of the Communist Party of China who is the real power wielder. Wu Yingjie, a hard-nosed Han Chinese from the Eastern region of China is the current appointee and rules Tibet with an iron hand.

Displaying total insensitivity, the Chinese flag has been brazenly hoisted atop the Potala Palace, the temporal seat of the Buddhist faith. Every monastery, street and building is embellished with innumerable Chinese flags, as if to constantly remind everyone that Tibet is under the Chinese rule. Similarly, all billboards read ‘Welcome to China’s Tibet’.

The Chinese are by far the most ruthless, vicious and merciless colonial masters. They treat the natives with disdain. There is minimal interaction between the Chinese and the natives. The Hans from the mainland China occupy all senior government posts and are running prosperous businesses. They enjoy a much higher standard of living and strut around like rulers, demonstrating all the trappings of an occupation force.

Chinese flag over Potala Palace
Chinese flag over Potala Palace

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