China’s forceful occupation of Tibet has had consequential effects on the centuries old and revered indigenous culture of the Tibetan population. Since its invasion in 1950’s, China has maintained its territorial control over the Tibetan land and more so has coercively attempted to Sinicize the population that preach the Tibetan culture. Its global ambition moreover, are motivated by its assertive characteristics all around its regions where it projects itself as a dominant player. From boundary disputes to sovereign claims over territories, China has managed to spark discontents with most of its neighbours and has more or less asserted its domination by subverting regions to its economic might. However, amongst the most repressive of Chinese strategies, lies the iron-fisted control of Tibet that has claimed lives of thousands, if not millions.
As China’s claims over Tibet have emboldened over the years, its legitimacy is sourced from an illegal Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet also known as the 17 Point Agreement signed on 23rd May, 1951 by a person devoid of legitimate authority to represent Tibet. As per the agreement China had pledged to keep Tibet’s traditional government and religion in place without hindering local ethnic groups local practices. The unbalanced settlement was signed after the invasion of Tibet and whilst China had illegally occupied Tibet’s eastern and northern parts and threatening further action until an agreement was reached. The Tibetan Government in exile has always claimed that the agreement was signed through coercive means and is devoid of any legal legitimacy.
Furthermore, the spill over of the unjust and cruel settlement was visible in the Tibetan uprising of 1959 which was crushed vehemently by the Chinese authorities while also forcing Tibet’s leader the 14th Dalai Lama to flee to India with his followers.
Over the past eight decades, not only has China undermined the pact through which it derives its legitimacy but has also manifested to rid clear of any Tibetan aspirations of a liberated future. By introducing communist policies, enforcing regressive Sinicization measures and by forcefully assimilating its ethic population in Tibetan regions, the Chinese authorities have attempted to cleanse Tibetan culture from the sacred lands.
More so, The Chinese Communist Party has been attempting to declare a successor to the Dalai Lama for years but has been unsuccessful in doing so as well. The succession plans of the 14th Dalai Lama are a vital part of China’s attempt of assimilating the Tibetan region into China. Recently Chinese prospects have begun to intensify in its attempt to capitalize on a future where a successor is all set to emerge through the CCP’s directions. These aspirations also have a consequential effect on China’s borders with India more particularly in the Arunachal region which is closely tied to the Tibet.
The Tawang district in Arunachal Pradesh inculcates great cultural value for Buddhism and has been native to the oldest and second biggest monastery in Asia where the Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso, was born in 1683. These cultural roots have led many Lamas to believe that the next Dalai Lama would very well emerge out of the Tawang region, a prospect member of the Chinese Communist Party has been trying to navigate.
However, due to the its wolf-warrior approach and more so its lack of understanding on India’s sovereign rights over the whole of Arunachal Pradesh, China has been expediating
its aggressive behaviour in its thirst to contain India’s border development as well as fulfil its Sinicization process in the sensitive regions of Tibet and its adjoining areas.
In the recent years, the international attention has increased on regions such as Xinjiang which lays to Tibet’s north. The United States on various occasions has stated that China has been carrying out a genocidal policy against Uyghurs and other minorities including Turkic-speaking residents. This has also invariably brought the much-needed attention to Tibet where such measures have been in place for decades. In a response to such coercive human rights violations, authorities from the U.S had imposed sanctions against two senior Chinese officials over their serious violations of human rights in Tibet regions. These allegations included tortured killings of prisoners and forced sterilization of masses. As part of the sanctions, the U.S authorities blocked all of Wu Yingjie’s and Zhang Hongbo’s assets in U.S and criminalised transactions with the blacklisted officials.
Although the Chinese Communist Party has strained upon the economic advancements made in Tibet, it is crystal clear to what extent such development advances China’s colonial tendencies in the Tibetan region. Such developmental models have on the contrary marginalized the naïve communities and has promoted the hegemony of the Chinese nation in the region. The desire to exploit Tibet’s rich resourceful ecology as well as mineral reserves has motivated such hegemonic tendencies that have become more and more apparent with its developmental model. Infrastructural projects have specifically been constructed along the rich resourceful regions of Gyama, Shetongmon, Nrbusa amongst many other important regions. The economic extent of China’s mineral exploitations in Tibet has been valued to exceed $100 billion in worth. The ecological disaster such activities causes has yet to gain traction mostly due to the inhumane treatment of the Tibetan population that has barely managed to international condemnation.
China’s irreversible damage to not only Tibet’s culture but also to its much-valued ecological balance requires a unified response, one that safeguards the interests of the victims that face prosecution against China’s authoritative regime. Such sinister tactics must be dealt with through an equal measure that restrains China’s colonial and hegemonic aspirations. However, Beijing’s approach is driven by its quest to attain a superior position in the international order, such aspirations, if given space in the international forums, can only lead to infestation of a far more regressive tactics in sensitive regions including Tibet. Therefore, it is important not only to counter such propositions but more so very vital to contain the subversive rise of China that seeks a hegemonic control over its neighbouring regions. In this regard, Tibet plays an integral role in bringing forth the extent to which China can reach to assert its domination over aspects that it sees necessary to secure itself a dominant position in the international arena, irrespective of it being achieved at the backdrop of repressive methods of subversion.