Chinese Influence on Tibet By Rhys Shepherd

How has China's Imperialist views shaped Tibet and how does this territory's struggle define the Chinese relationship with the "other" or foreigner?

Tibet is located in the southwestern region of China, bordering India, Nepal, Bhutan and the region of Kashmir. It's unfortunate location has put Tibet in the center of Indian and Chinese land disputes and rising tensions between the two armies lining their borders

Demographically Tibet is almost entirely independent from China, the people speak different languages including Hindi, Nepalese, and Tibetan in contrast to the Mandarin and Cantonese that are spoken in mainland China, the base of there economy also differs from China as well as the primary religion Tibetan Buddhism, a sect of Buddhism that developed at the same time as Han and southern Buddhism in China.

Assside from its political influence and turmoil the principles of daoism have also rooted themselves very strongly in the region of Tibet. Tibet being a region that's primary religion was animism prior to the spread of Buddhism the environmentalist beliefs inside of daoism agreed with the already popular rituals and practices.

The Tibetan Independence Movement

This Flag became a symbol of the Tibetan Nationalist movement and a fight for their independence

It features a sun rising over mountains and two snow leopards (animals unique to the Tibetan and Nepalese region) which is why it is called the snow leopard flag. It was adopted by the 13th Dalai llama in 1916 and because of its significance to the Tibetan people and a symbol of their independence it was banned by the Chinese government in 1959

Throughout history China has attempted to suppress any feelings of independence or nationalism that Tibetans may feel in order to preserve the country's Imperealist ways and firm reputation. But in recent events what was labeled by the government as "stability maintainence" or "anti-splitism" have become an example of China's authoritarian and in-humane methods of controlling its people. They have done this by attacking media sources and any institutions that make the Tibetan region different from China.

Chinese Retaliation

Perhaps the most brutal and upsetting actions China has taken to stop the assimilation of Tibetan culture was a recent attack on Larung Gar, a Tibetan Buddhist Sancturary that was home to over 20,000 monks, nuns, and devout followers of the religion.

"China's determination to suppress the religious life and culture of Tibetans has taken a brutal turn at Larung Gar, the world's largest Buddhist institute, where demolition workers have been tearing apart the community's hand-built monastic dwellings. The campaign is another blot on China's human rights record." From: (More punishment for Tibetan Buddhist)

Tibet's Position In Chinese and Indian Relations

India and China are have been disputing over borders most recently in the area between Kashmir and Tibet, this is a feud that has lasted for many years and boiled over in 1960 when war broke out on China's southern border with India, the fighting made no progress but has kindled aggression between the two countries alongside disputes over Tibets political standing. Almost in an attempt to spite the Chinese government India has opened itself up as a place of refuge for the Tibetan government and media in exile. It has also vocalized its support for their independence movement, making an argument for the lack of basic human rights that Tibetans are given. China and India see Tibet as two different things "While China sees Tibet as one of its local governments, India sees it as a government in exile." From: (China India Relations Worsen Rapidly)

China has taken control over Tibet in a controversial and authoritarian manner that is in-humane in the eyes of Tibetans and most the western world. The suppression of Tibetan culture and constant civil unrest has created a situation comparable to that of a war zone like Syria or a Dictatorship like North Korea. According to the Freedom in The World 2017 report, "Tibet was ranked as the second worst country/territory for overall freedom, with only Syria ranked worse. Tibet received maximum ratings for the lack of political rights, civil liberties and freedom. Other countries considered "worst of the worst" by Freedom House, but below Tibet, include Eritrea, North Korea, Turkmenistan, South Sudan and Somalia."

China's Imperialism and Expansionist Mindset

"India’s military buildup near Chinese border also shows that the situation has become a tinderbox. It has been revealed that the Indian Army has moved over 100 Russian tanks T-72 to Ladakh, a disputed border between the Indian state of Kashmir and Tibet under Chinese rule. Both countries are preparing for the worst situation they could face in the midst of deteriorating relations. In addition, Indian Navy has sent three warships to the disputed South China Sea to plan training with Malaysian Navy, showing that there’s nothing strange with seeing any military conflicts between the two countries." From: (China-India Relations Worsen Rapidly)

Tibet is not the only territory that has struggled with Chinese rule, Taiwan and Hong Kong have been fighting a similar fight. Battling the oppression and control of the Chinese government. China has a history of xenophobia and aggression towards the other, there was a constant fear of invasion which led to the construction of the Great Wall and even China's name Zhong Guo which means the middle kingdom. These ideas have been unfortunately a central aspect of Chinese politics for millennia and have made independence and freedom for these people who are different from the rest of the Chinese population almost impossible.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.