Awakening for Tibet

Let Not the World Conscience Remain Silent Anymore on The Plight of Tibetans

2 mins read
His Holiness Dalai Lama ( Photo © )

Around 60 years ago, China forcibly entered Tibet and occupied the region. Until then, Tibet was a peaceful country where Tibetans lived according to high-value systems and Buddhist philosophy, with goodwill towards all. Tibet had no substantial army, and when China carried out the aggression and its troops entered Tibet, all Tibetans could do was peacefully protest. The merciless Chinese troops massacred thousands of Tibetans who were protesting. In this grim situation, the respected spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, had no choice but to leave Tibet and enter India with around 85,000 Tibetan followers.

During this period of stress, Tibet was largely abandoned to suffer by the rest of the world. The government of neighboring India should have protested against the Chinese invasion, but instead recognized the occupation of Tibet by China. At that time, many voices in India urged the government to protest, but it did not.

All that the Government of India did was allow the Dalai Lama and his followers to stay in India as refugees. Over the last sixty years, the third generation of Tibetans mostly live as refugees in India.

Over the last sixty years, China has systematically plundered Tibet’s mineral wealth, such as lithium, and water resources. The Chinese government has been sending native Chinese to settle in Tibet, aiming to destroy Tibetan culture and traditions. Several monasteries in Tibet have been destroyed.

This injustice against Tibet by China continues today.

In the last six decades, China has shown its territorial greed by entering into war with India and occupying thousands of kilometers of Indian territory. The occupation of Tibet by China was clearly the first step in achieving this territorial expansion. China continues this practice of claiming the territories of other countries to this day, seemingly with impunity.

In this context, it is heartening that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the “Resolve Tibet Act,” which calls on the Chinese government to engage with the Dalai Lama to restore Tibet’s independence to Tibetans.

Subsequently, an influential group of U.S. lawmakers met with the Dalai Lama in Himachal Pradesh, India, exchanged views, and offered support to the Tibetan cause. They have also clearly warned the Chinese government that they will take steps to safeguard Tibet’s sovereignty in the future.

As expected, the Chinese government has protested against these observations by U.S. lawmakers, claiming that Tibet is an internal matter for China.

What will happen next?

While U.S. lawmakers have taken steps to support the Tibetan cause, albeit after many decades, it is better late than never. The question now is whether other countries in the world, particularly Western democracies and thoughtful individuals in these regions, will voice their support for the initiative taken by U.S. lawmakers.

The ball is now clearly in the court of the Government of India to take the initiative forward and support the Tibetan cause. The question remains whether the Government of India will fulfill its responsibility towards an independent Tibet. It is notable that Indian Prime Minister Mr. Modi has not met with the Dalai Lama even once during his ten-year tenure as Prime Minister.

Recently, China has acted against India’s interests in several international forums, clearly viewing India as a primary adversary.

Possibly, the Indian government does not want to antagonize the Chinese government to avoid military confrontation. If this is India’s stance, it reflects a defeatist attitude lacking in courage and conviction. Millions of Indians sympathize with the Tibetan cause and want the Indian government to advocate for Tibet in international forums.

Many Tibetans have become refugees in various countries, later becoming citizens. They are primarily occupied with making a living and are unable to substantially contribute to their homeland’s cause.

The initiative of U.S. lawmakers should gain momentum, and India can play a crucial role in advocating and strengthening the Tibetan cause, urging the world conscience, which has been largely silent regarding the plight of Tibetans, to speak out.”

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N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause and to promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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