For centuries Tibet, a high altitude plateau between China and India, remained remote from the rest of the world with a widely dispersed population of nomads, farmers, monks and traders. Tibet had its own national flag, its own currency, a distinct culture and religion, and controlled its own affairs. In 1949, following the foundation of the Chinese Communist state, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded Tibet and soon overpowered its poorly equipped army and guerilla resistance.
International legal scholars agree that from 1911 until the Chinese invasion in 1949, Tibet was a fully independent state by modern standards. Since then, Tibetans have struggled to regain their freedom and keep their culture intact.
China’s actions in Tibet over the past 50 years have created a climate of fear that still continues today—torture and imprisonment for peaceful protest, and economic plans that discriminate against Tibetans, threatening their unique identity. The PLA maintains a strong presence in Tibet and China’s military control increased with the 2006 opening of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.
Human rights conditions in Tibet remain dismal. Under the Chinese occupation, the Tibetan people are denied most rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including the rights to self-determination, freedom of speech, assembly, movement, expression and travel. Signs of support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama are banned by the Chinese government.
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|Tibet: Lhasa and Beyond, takes readers from town to town, offering them a chance to get to know these places and the Tibetans who call them home. Each month features a different hometown, highlighting the significance of the area and juxtaposing it with Tibetans’ political turmoil.|