Many of the Han Chinese who are in Tibet regard themselves as idealistic volunteers helping to save a culture that needs to be modernized. In fact, they think that they are risking their lives when they go to Tibet based on a belief that high altitudes make your lungs expand and has an adverse effect on the heart.

Here are some statistics about pre-1951 Tibet:

  • Life expectancy was thirty-six years
  • 95 percent of Tibetans were illiterate;
  • 95 percent of the population was hereditary serfs and slaves owned by monasteries and nobles.
  • It is because of the above facts that the Chinese believe that they are only helping Tibet. They often compare the occupation to the liberation of slaves in American history.

    Another common comparison is to the treatment of Native Americans during the Western expansion. I feel as though I am not overstepping to say that if most North Americans could go back into history, they would change the horrific way we have treated those native to our regions. However, to the Chinese, where modernization has come late most regard the Tibetan lifestyle conducive to ignorance and hardship. This is not hard to believe as most Chinese are one generation away from abject poverty. How can we get the Chinese to learn from our mistakes when we come from two such polarized backgrounds?

    The commitment to Tibet is backed up financially. In 1996 China spent about $600 million in Tibet. In that same year the United States spent about $800 million for aid to the entire continent of Africa. This money went to build roads, telephones and schools (before 1951 there were no public schools).

    North Americans see Tibet as an idealistic ground for spiritual enlightenment, but Chinese see the primitive culture that needs to modernize and get into step with the rest of the world. For different opinions on this, please see:
    Free Tibet
    The REAL story of the "Occupation of Tibet"
    Why DMan is wrong about Tibet
    Resolutions and Acts of Congress in re: Tibet
    Tibet's contributions to Sins of the World

    In all my nodes about Tibet, I have always talked about what is best for the people of Tibet. Not what's best for the members of the theocracy that ruled Tibet before China came in.

    Isn't the purpose of government to make lives better the people they govern? If they fail at that, then wouldn't they lose their "mandate of heaven" (the Chinese term for the loss of an emperor's right to rule)?

    The point is, the overall people of Tibet, IMHO, has benefitted greatly from the occupation of China. There is no majority in Tibet asking for independence or dissenting. Didn't that prove that China's "occupation" of Tibet is somewhat legitimate? They certainly proved it through their deeds.

    In sensei's node, Tibet's contributions to Sins of the World, he pointed out that the ruling factions of buddhist monks were no more interested in the welfare of their people than fighting with each other. Does the buddhist theocracy have the right to rule, in those circumstances? Think about it.

    In nine9's counterargument, all his evidence comes from what the exiled theocracy has decreed, but not much from the needs of the common Tibetian folk. Who has more say in what the Chinese has done for Tibet in the last 50 years? The exiles who are bitter and have not been in Tibet for decades, or the common people benefitting in Tibet from Chinese help?

    Just something for everyone to think about. The right of governence, I think, is lost when the rulers ignore the people so. I also see the Americans using Tibet as an example of "communist expansion" for their own political ends.

    Ignore the "legality" or the "infringement of nations' sovereign rights" for a second. Not that the people of Tibet really cares, they were suffering miserably. Now, name who has suffered from China's occupation. I can't think of any.

    If you reinsert those, then the only sufferers were the ruling theocracies. They fled to America, to plea about the loss of their power. During the red scare era, politicians naturally saw that as a chance to "prove" communist "aggression".

    If the people benefit, doesn't that give legitimacy to the rulers? I think it does. Which is more important? 20 million Tibetians? Or 500 monks who were abusing their power anyways?

    Isn't the purpose of government to make lives better the people they govern? If they fail at that, then wouldn't they lose their "mandate of heaven" (the Chinese term for the loss of an emperor's right to rule)?

    That is logical, however, as I will get into later, China wasn't trying to help the people, but help themselves here, so they aren't the most fit to rule either.

    The point is, the overall people of Tibet, IMHO, has benefitted greatly from the occupation of China. There is no majority in Tibet asking for independence or dissenting. Didn't that prove that China's "occupation" of Tibet is somewhat legitimate?

    Yes, they have benefitted in standard of living. Without a doubt. But if China really gave a damn about that, why did they forceably take Tibet over instead of just giving aid? I guess we can rule out that China was more interested in the valuable asset that Tibet would be (sarcasm).

    Who has more say in what the Chinese has done for Tibet in the last 50 years? The exiles who are bitter and have not been in Tibet for decades, or the common people benefitting in Tibet from Chinese help?

    They may vouch that they benefited in their standard of living, but the common people of Tibet are hardly existent anymore anyways. Why? Because they were educated by the Chinese. It was a good way to eliminate resistance. The Tibetans get brought up by them and are then as Chinese as any citizen of China.

    Now, name who has suffered from China's occupation. I can't think of any.

    How about the people that were tortured? Admittedly, this would be relying on those exiles you called liars.

    If the people benefit, doesn't that give legitimacy to the rulers? I think it does. Which is more important? 20 million Tibetians? Or 500 monks who were abusing their power anyways?

    You are right on that point, however, there are many cases of human rights abuses in Tibet by China. Also, China had the option of helping Tibet rather than taking them over. I think that China cared far more about the region of Tibet than the actual people. I think that what China has done for Tibet is second best for the people.

    On a scale from worst to best:

    1. What the Tibetans had before China came in.
    2. China conquering Tibet, but aiding the people.
    3. China aiding the people, and helping them help themselves.

    China is helping the people, not because they really deeply care for the Tibetans, but because Tibet is an asset. If they cared for the Tibetans, than they would have just helped them, not conquered them. Helping Tibetans was never a main interest for China. China has melted down some of the Tibetan's gold statues, and have done other forms of looting to Tibetan temples. China cares nothing for the people (or atleast their spiritual beliefs), but still have helped them.

    Based on this, I believe that what China did was wrong, and Tibet did deserve it's independence, however, at this point, the idea of freeing Tibet would cause conflict in a area that has already settled down. In the same way that things have more or less settled down with the Native American's in America.

    If people cared about the Tibetans, they should of helped them retain independence, and then helped them develop, but no one did that. No one was willing to act, so I am inclined to agree that America's only interest in Tibet was to spread anti-communist propaganda.

    Most powerful countries have done what China did with Tibet at some point (colonization, kicking out the native americans, for some examples). In all cases it has been wrong, but it is like a Standard Operating Procedure in conduct among countries who feel they can get away with it.

    Why Invasion of Tibet is Best for the People of Tibet

    Your poor neighbour is neglectful of their children and does not feed them properly, you:

    1. Send them a letter with money to buy food. Or
    2. Invite them over to your house for food. (Or even have the children removed on more permanent basis.)

    We are repeatedly told that Western International Aid sent to banana republics is often diverted to the Swiss bank account's of the government leaders rather than the needy proletariat. The US has demonstrated many times that smashing a "rogue state" to smitherines will only result in a new state that's even more disfunctional (eg: Afghanistan). No cookie-cutter economics baked up by the IMF has helped anyone. It's time we got off our asses and stopped trying to fix the world by remote shell. It's time to invade.

    Tibet wasn't just screwed up in the way that plenty of developing countries are screwed up today. It was semi-agrarian economy ruled by a theocracy. You can't get much more screwed up than that. China did the only thing that they could be sure would change the lives of the people of Tibet. And they succeeded: the standard of living in Tibet is comparable to that of neighbouring Chinese provinces. Sure, torture sucks, but it's not anything the Chinese government doesn't do to their own people. And they may no longer have freedom of religion (did they before?), but Article 18 is one of the more dubious human rights.

    China's a pretty screwed up country themselves, so we shouldn't assume they could pull off this kind of operation perfectly. But they were a lot more effective at fixing stuff than your country has been.

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