What comes to your mind when you look at the population distribution map above? Different people see different things even if it is the same picture or skewed statistic. In case you are new, the standard narrative of mainstream western press is that China invaded Tibet in 1959, and has been committing genocide on the Tibetan people since then. If you have doubt do a search on mainstream website like ABC, CNN, BBC etc, you would have a single version of the story.
Let’s get back to the map. For me personally, when I first saw the map, my impression was that there are now more Tibetan Chinese living in other part of China than in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). So after 1959 the evil Communist government forcefully removed those people to other Chinese province? If not how does this shift in population happened? There are only 3 million Tibetan Chinese living in TAR while 3.5 million lives in surrounding areas. The fact is, Tibetan Chinese and other Chinese have been living in this region since the dawn of time. This might sound dramatic but I don’t artificially draw a line in the sand and human do live in this region for thousands of years and move about freely.
However, thanks to Nazi like ideology we now have strict border demarcation. For example, the area now termed Tibet Autonomous Region is now strictly exclusive to so-called Tibetan. Gansu for Gansutian, Qinghai for Qinghain, Sichuan for Sichuanese, Yunnan for Yunnanese and so forth. No other ethnicities can legally live in TAR, unless you are some big shot movie star who hold exclusive honourary Tibetan citizenship. Of course this is according to the logic of the so-called Free Tibet groups.
The above map, courtesy of Der Spiegel is actually a sad doctored statistic to support such a claim. I use the word “sad” because if you go visit this region, you will discovered that there are millions of people there. In fact, tens of millions to be correct! Why does this map only show the Tibetan Chinese? In TAR alone, there are not only Tibetan but also Bai, Blang, Bonan, Dongxiang, Han, Hui, Lhoba, Lisu, Miao, Mongols, Monguor (Tu people), Menba (Monpa), Mosuo, Nakhi, Qiang, Nu, Pumi, Salar, and Yi Chinese.
In Qinghai, the ethnic makeup of the population is almost the same except the numbers of each group and totalled 5.6 million people. In Gansu, the population is 25.5 million. In Sichuan, a staggering 80.4 million. Yunann is home 45.9 million people which includes Yi, Bai, Hani, Tai, Dai, Miao, Lisu, Hui, Lahu, Va, Nakhi, Yao, Tibetan, Jingpo, Blang, Pumi, Nu, Achang, Jinuo, Mongolian, Derung, Manchu, Sui, and Buyei. In Xinjiang, 21 million people live there and comprises Uyghur, Han, Kazakh, Hui, Kirghiz, Mongols, Dongxiangs, Daurs, Pamiris, Xibe, Manchu, Tujia, Uzbek, Russian, Miao, Tibetan, Zhuang, Tatar, Salar etc.
I won’t give a historical account of how all these people got there as it would take several books and you might not have the time to read them all. To me, and the government of China, all these people simply live in China and hold Chinese citizenship. The line in the sand is now the border of the different administrative regions. The people there can still move and live freely albeit when certain conditions are met.
So is this another article from the Chinese Communist Party that tried to white wash and gloss over the genocide of the Tibetan Chinese? According to the current Dalai Lama, the barbaric and Godless communist have exterminated over 1 million Tibetan since 1959. God knows how many they have killed before that? They are also moving Han people into TAR to displace the Tibetan. The language, culture and religion of the Tibetan are now at the brink of extinction. All good people of the world must stop this before it is too late. Free Tibet, free Tibet, free Tibet!
What about the other people there? Since we are at it we might as well do it. Unfortunately, if we set up all those Free X movement overseas we might lose focus and exposed the reality on the ground. Sorry, we can only do another one but we won’t call it Free Xinjiang because “Free” doesn’t rhyme with Islam. According to Free Tibet the Chinese Communist Party has been doing a horrendous ethnic cleansing of the people in that region since the PRC was founded. However, if we looked at the census figure, pretty much all the ethnicities have tripled in population since 1949. And if they live in their respective home region, their primary education was also given in their native tongues, to the extent that in China over 50 different languages are taught in the official school system. They are also not restricted by family planning policy applied to the majority Han people.
Of course, not all system is perfect. Neither is the minority or even majority policy of the PRC. But how does its multi-cultural policy compare to other country? Shouldn’t we do a case by case comparative study?