Forced Interracial Marriages in Tibet

Tenzin Choezom

Tibet has been under the governance of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) since its occupation in the 1950s. The land of Tibet, along with its people has had to undergo endless series of misfortune and injustice under the Chinese Authoritarian rule. People of the Tibetan ethnicity in Tibet has continuously been denied access to the fundamental rights and the Chinese authorities have ensured extremely strict surveillance to keep the Tibetans from keeping in touch with their roots, be it through language, religion, culture or traditions.

The persistent scheming of China to wipe out the Tibetan identity through various means has been in the play for decades. The communist government has controlled the land for years and has stripped the once independent nation off its valuable natural resources. The destruction that the communist government has caused to Tibet’s landscape and nature has all been on selfish grounds for their own country to benefit, socially and economically. Thousands of Chinese have been relocated in Tibet and the Tibetans who are the original owners and residents of the land has either been robbed off their lands or displaced without proper allotment and compensation.

The restriction imposed on the nomadic life in Tibet has affected the Tibetans’ living immensely. Tibetans have been known for living as nomads, a culture and tradition that has been in the land for generations and has been passed on from the ancestors who first chose and led this lifestyle. The forced displacement of Nomads in the Tibet has led the Tibetans in losing way of living and also made it hard for them to settle elsewhere since they are only aware of the nomadic lifestyle. The identity of the nomads has been threatened for years and the numbers have sadly come down to a handful now.  

The communist government has attacked religious institutions the most. The monks and nuns in Tibet are forced to disrobe and to live their lives as mere commoners. The lack of right to practice one’s religion is apparent from this as well as from the destruction of numerous religious sites and relics.

The Chinese government however has been set out upon its ultimate goal of Tibet’s wipe-out and simultaneously to destroy the Tibetan identity through yet another forced tradition. China has promoted and forced interracial marriages in Tibet in an attempt to assimilate Tibetans. The promotion of such marriages is promoted through various means, it has been put out in local newspapers in the Tibetan regions and the government has also made policies that seem to favor inter-racial couples. All these are specifically done in order to lure the people in this marital trap and to stop the Tibetans from marrying inside their own community which would naturally add to the growth of the society in terms of numeric.

Tibetans marrying people from other ethnic groups or nationality would in turn lead to kids who’ll naturally be of mixed race and would not be purely Tibetan. This is why the Chinese government thought of such cunning, ingenious plan from the beginning itself. All that is left is the implementation that has already taken place in Tibet and is growing ever since its initiation. In a report published in 2014, the Communist Party’s research office in Tibet stated that mixed marriages had increased annually by double-digit percentages for the past five years, meaning from 666 couples in 2008 to 4795 in 2013. Such was the growth then so it is fairly easy to imagine how the numbers must have gone up through the Communist Party’s schemes and policies.

The promotion of mixed marriages, especially between Tibetans and Han Chinese is a matter that is saddening of course but also hilarious if looked at from a third party’s point of view. China has always laid out its propaganda that Tibetans are a backward race with whom the blood of true Chinese should never be mixed. Yet, they are now at this stage where they are endorsing these types of marriages themselves. Tibetans have led peaceful demonstrations against this to which the Chinese officials have, like always used violence to suppress it.

The Chinese government has even put it as a new “ethnic unity” law while the Tibetans see it as another way of wrecking the Tibetan identity and an assault to their cultural identity as well. The Chinese officials have always talked in support of it under the stupor of it being a way for the Tibetans and the Chinese to strengthen their cultural and racial unity. As per Radio Free Asia’s source, In Shigatse, a major city in Tibet, Tibetans and Chinese couples will be held as exemplary “ethnic unit” families and will be awarded certain prizes as per the government policies.

However, Tibetans in Shigatse have expressed their take on how they wouldn’t want to marry a Chinese since they would have completely different values, backgrounds, language, habits and lifestyle. They have also mentioned how their Tibetan parents have advised them to marry into their own ethnic group since they would share more commonalities. It is also visible to the Tibetans how this is just another measure taken to sinicize the Tibetans by wiping out their culture, traditions, language and identity.

The Chinese Communist Party till date has only brought changes in Tibet for their own benefits. Tibet has been their priority only when it comes to uprooting the resources or  winning a battle of their own greed to acquire more power. With such tight surveillance in Tibet, the communist government has cut off Tibet from the rest of the world since Tibetans can’t travel abroad and many of them don’t even have passports. China has also made sure to cut off all the international support that Tibet receives. Tibet is undoubtedly being turned into a Chinese region. There has been a huge influx of Chinese into Tibet since the 1950s.

Their promotion of interracial marriages through advertisements, broadcasts and especially through the incentives and policies is yet another strike to the Tibetan identity. Mixed marriages proving favorable because of the incentives, such as social security, reproductive rights, vacations, prizes and special treatment for their children are all ways to lure the Tibetans into marrying into the Chinese ethnic group. The Chinese government aims towards diluting the Tibetan ethnicity and then clearing it out gradually. The atrocities in Tibet have gone beyond people’s imaginations since the torture and the brutality only worsens with time.

The threat to the Tibetan identity is also rising due to China’s immense pressure on it and in due time it will totally eliminate the Tibetan race. China wants nothing more than to gain full authority over Tibet and its people since it is targeting the roots of the Tibetan identity. It would only be right for the world to stand up for a land that has faced such despair and destruction to at least let it be known that humanity and justice prevails after all.

News Desk

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