“Tibet is a human rights issue as well as a civil and political rights issue. But there’s something else too – Tibet has a precious culture based on principles of wisdom and compassion. This culture addresses what we lack in the world today; a very real sense of inter-connectedness. We need to protect it for the Tibetan people, but also for ourselves and our children.”
– Richard Gere, Chair of the Board of the International Campaign for Tibet
For centuries Tibet, a vast 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 invaded Tibet and soon overpowered its poorly equipped army and guerilla resistance.
Tibet is important to China for strategic and economic reasons and because of the Communist Party’s imperialist ambitions. In China today, it is a serious offence to say that Tibet is separate from China.
In March 1959, Tibetans rose up against the Chinese occupiers. The uprising was brutally crushed and the Tibetan leader, His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama, escaped to India, followed by more than 80,000 Tibetans. Tens of thousands of Tibetans who remained were killed or imprisoned. Untold numbers, but at least hundreds of thousands, of Tibetans have died as a direct result of China’s policies since 1949 – through starvation, torture and execution.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama ›
His Holiness’s biographical information, political and spiritual roles, and Tibet policy.
Tibet Statistics ›
Quick reference facts about Tibet.
History, Politics, Legal Situation ›
The history of Tibet spanning from before the 1949 Chinese invasion to present day.
Tibetan Flag ›
The symbolism of the Tibetan “snow lion” flag.
Tibetan Culture ›
An Outline of Tibetan Culture by Professor Robert A. F. Thurman, President of Columbia University’s American Institute of Buddhist Studies.
The Issues ›
Marginalisation and exclusion, religion and culture, political repression and the environment.
Tibet Environment ›
Wildlife, deforestation, nuclear activities, desertification, agricultural development, natural resource extraction and hydro-electric construction projects.
Travel in Tibet ›
General information about traveling to modern-day Tibet.