Over the claim of Panda, new debate ensues between Tibet and China

From 1642 until the 1950's, the Tibetan Government was led by the Dalai Lama which administered almost the whole of the Tibetan Plateau

Gyantse Town in China. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Tibetans were forced to flee to India to seek safety after the 1959 Tibetan uprising
  • Central Tibetan Administration represents the people of Tibet in India and works towards their well-being
  • Human Rights Watch questions the manner in which authority is meted out to Tibetans living in Tibet

“Pandas are from Tibet, not China. China must leave Tibet, restore freedom”, tweets @Tibetans, a Twitter account handled a Tibetan activist, in addition to similar tweets that portray protest against the occupation of the Tibetan region by The People’s republic of China.

Although this twitter handle claims that the common belief that pandas are native to China is a misconception, experts believe that pandas mostly came from South China, and a few from Kham, a historic region of Tibet. A number of pages have made their presence on social media, like @tibettruth on Twitter and Pandas are from Tibet on Facebook who fearlessly take jabs at the Chinese Government.

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Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), or Exile Tibetan People’s Administration is an organization (also considered as the government in exile) functions from McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamsala. It is based with the stated goal of “rehabilitating Tibetan refugees and restoring freedom and happiness in Tibet”. While the goal asserts that it will give back Tibetan refugees their homes, this organization has no intentions of assuming the role of the ruling body in the Tibetan area. Once freedom is achieved, a new ruling body will be formed based on people’s sentiment and opinions.

Sera Monastery. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The 1959 Tibetan Uprising, which was a period of mass bloodshed, saw the destruction of 60,000 monasteries spread across the plateau. Monasteries of Sera, Ganden, and Drepung, which were  which were damaged beyond repair owing to incessant shelling by the Chinese army. Around 87,000 people lost their lives, along with immense psychological and cultural damage.

From 1642 until the 1950’s, the Tibetan Government was led by the Dalai Lama which administered almost the whole of the Tibetan Plateau. The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatzo, fled Tibet to settle in India as a refugee after the 1959 Tibetan Uprising, an internal revolt against the People’s Republic of China. Following his lead, around 150,000 Tibetans have since settled Dharamsala over the years, aided by the Indian government.

Today, the Indian government has set up a number of institutions to make life easier for the Tibetan Diaspora, like special schools that provide free education and reservation of a few seats in the medical field and civil engineering.

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Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy of human rights, has documented and reported the human rights violations that unfurl frequently in Tibet since 1987. While it does not support any political arrangement in the plateau, the organization promotes the rights of the Tibetan population to exercise religious freedom and express their views regarding the political situation, no matter what they are.

The Government of China has, on numerous occasions, breached the recognized international human rights laws, which is why it is crucial to exert international political pressure upon China to put an end to these cruelties.

Among the abundant cases that Human Rights Watch has documented through the years, which include the brutal beating of a man in public for trying to raise a Tibetan Flag, to ruthless and torturous executions for minor offences, surfaces the story of the struggle of a young man, which assumed a more iconic and definitive form than other accounts of cruelty.

The man, who was discontent with the fact that even in his community’s minority institute, study material and courses were forced to be delivered in Chinese rather than the native Tibetan language; a move that would undoubtedly undermine the creativity and intelligence of Tibetan students, himself authored a piece in his language. After it received attention from the Chinese authorities, he was barred from entering further classes, and eventually the institute. As the situation grew worse, he was forced to flee his own country to live his life as a refugee in India. This particular case highlights how any form of expression was strictly suppressed.

-written by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96