(YinYang: This came via a reader, Ray, self-described as “overseas Chinese who currently resides in Toronto, Canada born in the 1970s in Malaysia. The piece below is timely as the Dalai Lama was recently on a trip to the U.S. as a ‘spiritual leader.’ By the way, he recently supposedly stepped down as a political leader. I thought it ironic he goes straight for Capitol Hill and meets House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.)
Most average American/Canadian do not know that the majority of the Tibetan Chinese do not live in Tibet proper. The majority of Tibetan Chinese live in Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, Yunan etc. This should give a better picture of the story. If one considers the first Tibetan Buddhist temple as the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa and study all the building dates of subsequent Tibetan Buddhist temples, the movement is from West to East of China. If you go back in history, it is the Tibetan King Songtsän Gampo who invaded Tang and demanded a princess in marriage not the other way. Eventually, a Tibetan king even sacked Xian, the capital of Tang. So in essence Tibet became part of China because of invasion by the Tibetan not the other way round. And similar to the Anglo-Saxon or Norman conquest, Tibetan became Chinese through their invasion.
To compare the Tibetan to the First Nations who was completely decimated in culture, language and religion by European settlers is incorrect. Are there any Native American in Europe? In China, the majority of Tibetan Chinese moved from Tibet to settle in other parts of China. Pretty much 99% of Tibetan speak their own native tongues and got schooling in their own languages. In China, over fifty languages are taught all over the country. The PRC even made the mistake of not introducing the common tongue language (Mandarin Chinese) to all minority, to the extend that a whole generation of minority who cannot speak the mainstream language has difficulty finding jobs in cities. This was corrected in the 1990s but this was interpret in the west as cultural genocide by the central authority. Can one imagine not able to speak English in the US/Canada, French in France, and German in Germany?
The Dalai Lama and his followers do not have any support in other part of China because they propagate the real racist and xenophobic agenda most westerners don’t want to see. They are advocating Tibet only for Tibetan while ignoring the Bai, Blang, Bonan, Dongxiang, Han, Hui, Lhoba, Lisu, Miao, Mongols, Monguor (Tu people), Menba (Monpa), Mosuo, Nakhi, Qiang, Nu people, Pumi, Salar, and Yi people who also made Tibet and surrounding regions home for hundred if not thousands of years.
And unlike European settlers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US where the natives are mostly suffering from substance abuse, high unemployment, high crime rate and lower life expectancy compare to those of other descent, in China, the situation is more equal with most minority groups ON AVERAGE having better access to opportunity than the majority. The present government of China is far from perfect but judging simply on minority treatment is still leagues ahead of those western countries I mention. The fact speaks louder than empty slogan.
And in real politics term, the Indian government are supporting the Dali Lama for their own gain. India has already annexed southern Tibet and renaming it Arunachal Pradesh. (Is there any international outrage?) So basically it is impossible for any Chinese government to not reclaim Tibet. If the present central government is to give up Tibet what are they going to do with the majority of the Tibetan who live in China, kick them out as illegal immigrants?