Ezra Vogel on the history of the Tibetan conflict; it began in 1955, BEFORE the CIA became involved (1957)

- Peter Myers, June 17, 2020.

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Deng Xiaopeng and the Transformation of China

by Ezra F. Vogel

The Belknap Press Of Harvard University Press

Cambridge, Ma.., 2011

{p. 511} Containing Tibet's Drive for Autonomy

When Deng became the preeminent leader of China in late 1978, he sought to improve relations between the leaders in Beijing and the Tibetans. To achieve this, he tried to reestablish relations with the one person he thought might make that possible, the Dalai Lama, who was then living in Dharamsala, India, with some 80,000 exiles. Deng set a low hurdle for resuming relations: on November 28, 1978, just three days after Hua Guofeng yielded to the new atmosphere at the Central Party Work Conference, Deng told Arch Steele, an American journalist long known for communicating Chinese Communist views to the outside world, that "The Dalai Lama may return but he must return as a Chinese citizen.... As for high-level people in Taiwan and Tibet, we have just one request: that they love the country." During that same month, to assist his efforts to reach out to the Dalai Lama, Deng ordered the release of a number of Tibetan prisoners.

Deng knew that it was impossible to remove entirely the tensions between Tibetans and the Han majority, but he wanted to return to the relatively peaceful relations that had existed between Beijing and the Tibetans before 1956. During that pivotal year, the introduction of the "democratic reforms" in Tibetan areas in Sichuan had ignited pockets of resistance that spread into Tibet proper in 1958 and festered until 1959, when some of the most militant Tibetans marched across the mountains into northern India, where they settled in Dharamsala.

In the 1950s Mao had achieved relatively good relations with the Tibetans by allowing the Dalai Lama, who turned sixteen in 1951, to have a remarkable degree of freedom in ruling Tibet. In minority areas, with some 7 percent of the population, Mao had been willing to go slower in gaining control than in the rest of the country, where the Han majority lived. He was willing

{p. 512} to be even more patient with the Tibetans than with other minority groups in the hopes of gaining the positive cooperation of the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan leaders in eventually establishing a socialist structure. Even when the Dalai Lama fled with his followers in 1959, Mao ordered Chinese troops not to fire on them, in the hopes of eventually gaining the Dalai Lama's cooperation.

In May 1951, after Chinese troops had taken over the eastern portion of Tibet proper (later known as the Tibetan Autonomous Region), Mao had invited Tibetan leaders to Beijing where, with Han officials, they arrived at a seventeen-point agreement that accepted Chinese political control over Tibet, but allowed a measure of autonomy for Tibetans to practice their own religion, keep their monasteries, use their own language, and maintain their own customs. The agreement had established a framework whereby Tibetans accepted Chinese sovereignty but the Chinese granted for an unspecified period of time the right of the Tibetan government of the Dalai Lama to continue administrating Tibet proper, where roughly half of the four million Tibetans in China lived. Mao had agreed that in Tibet proper changes to Tibetan society and religion would come only when the Tibetan religious and aristocratic elite and masses agreed that it was time to implement them. After the seventeen-point agreement, the Tibetans, led by the Dalai Lama, were still able to collect taxes, adjudicate disputes, use their own currency, and even maintain their own army; the Communists had control of foreign affairs, military affairs, and border controls. Until a socialist structure would be introduced, the system in the 1950s had many features of that which had existed from 1720 to 1910 when under Chinese suzerainty, the Tibetans essentially ruled Tibet while the Chinese government was responsible for foreign affairs.

In 1954-1955 the Dalai Lama traveled to Beijing to attend the Ist NPC meeting and while in Beijing he met Mao and other leaders and developed a warm and cordial relationship with them. Mao and the other Chinese leaders treated the Dalai Lama with great respect because he was not only a great religious leader but also the head of the Tibetan government with which Beijing had signed a formal agreement. During that time, the Dalai Lama agreed to establish a Preparatory Committee for a Tibet Autonomous Region that he would head. The Dalai Lama also agreed to reduce the Tibetan army to only 1,000 and to end the use of Tibet's own currency, although in the end the size of the Tibetan army was not reduced and Mao gave permission for Tibet to continue using its own currency. In most areas of China, China had intro-

{p. 513} duced preparatory governments in 1948-1950, and within a year or two established regular governments. On April 16, 1956, the Dalai Lama, who had returned from Beijing to live in Lhasa, had welcomed with a grand celebration a delegation from Beijing that would help establish a temporary government structure, which was expected to become a regular government within two to three years. China's problems with Tibetans erupted after 1955 when provincial leaders throughout China were told to accelerate the collectivization of agriculture. Mao said that "democratic reforms," including collectivization, would be implemented among minority peoples if conditions seemed right, but they were not yet to be implemented in Tibet itself. The two million Tibetans outside Tibet proper were largely living in Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai, and Gansu. The leaders of Sichuan put together a plan not only to collectivize agriculture rapidly, but also to start "democratic reforms" in Sichuan's Tibetan and other minority areas. Collectivization that was launched in the Tibetan areas in Sichuan at the beginning of 1956, including the taking over of some monasteries, quickly precipitated a serious and bloody uprising in Sichuan's Tibetan areas, especially among the Khampa Tibetans, who constituted a large portion of Tibetans in Sichuan. The uprising was bloody because virtually every family in the Khampa Tibetan areas in Sichuan, where blood vengeance and raiding were endemic, had modern firearms and knew how to use them. After initial successes, the Khampas were overwhelmed by the much stronger PLA; in 1957-1958, they fled to Tibet proper with their guns. In 1957 at the height of the Cold War, the CIA began to train a small number of Khampas in Colorado and then dropped them back into Tibet to collect intelligence. Beijing directed the Dalai Lama to send the Khampas back to Sichuan, but the Dalai Lama refused. India had earlier invited the Dalai Lama to settle in India, and in March 1959 he led many of the most militant Tibetans across the mountains into India. Other Tibetans followed over the next two to three years.

After becoming the preeminent leader in 1979, Deng faced a more daunting problem in gaining the positive cooperation of the Tibetans than Mao had faced in the 1950s. More Han Communist officials had been sent into Tibet to tighten controls after 1959, arousing local resistance. In most parts of China, Red Guards were seen as revolutionary youth, but in Tibet, where they trashed temples and monasteries and destroyed works of art, they were seen as Han youth destroying Tibetan culture.

{p. 514} After 1979, in Tibet as elsewhere, Deng sought to make amends for the damages done by the Cultural Revolution. Deng understood the deep religious respect Tibetans had for the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader. He knew the Dalai Lama was seen by Tibetans as the incarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, and hence a god. After the thirteenth Dalai Lama died, in 1937 a two-year-old had been identified as the incarnation, thus becoming the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. He was well trained in Tibetan culture and would become a deeply religious and learned man. In 1978 Deng hoped that through Tibetan intermediaries he could build a relationship with the Dalai Lama, reach some accommodation, and reduce the antagonism between Communist officials and Tibetans.

In the 1950s and 1960s Deng had personally been deeply involved in Tibetan issues. In 1951, the Communist troops sent to gain military control over Tibet were from the Southwest, a region then led by Deng Xiaoping, and the Northwest. Tibetan forces were weak and there was little armed resistance. As secretary general in the 1950s Deng was also involved in carrying out Mao's more "lenient" policy in Tibet proper as well as the more forceful policy imposing collectivization among Tibetans in Sichuan and elsewhere.

In 1978 Deng had many reasons for trying to reduce hostilities between the Han majority and the Tibetan minority. A calmer relationship could strengthen Tibetan ties to China and form a bulwark against possible Soviet penetration into Tibet. It could lessen the risk that a revolt by one minority group against the Chinese could stir up resistance by other minority groups. It would reduce the drain on national resources caused by the continuing conflicts with Tibetans. Above all, perhaps, at the time when Deng wanted to establish good relations with Western countries to help with modernization, it would ease foreign complaints about Chinese treatment of Tibetans. When Deng met President Gerald Ford in December 1975, Ford asked about the Dalai Lama. When Deng met George H. W Bush on September 27, 1977, Bush not only took a special interest in Tibet and the fate of the Dalai Lama, but also asked to visit Tibet - and because Bush was an "old friend of China," Deng gave special permission for Bush to travel there.

In late 1978, when Deng began to reach out to the Dalai Lama's intermediaries, the 80,000 Tibetans who had settled in India were among the Tibetans most alienated from Chinese rule; they were a diverse group that did not easily reach agreement, but as a group they were less willing to compromise

{p. 515} on important issues than many of the Tibetans who remained in China. Moreover, since the Chinese did not permit Tibetans within China to organize to represent their interests, the exile community in Dharamsala in northern India spoke on behalf of all Tibetans and took a strong stand against China.

The best channel for Deng to reach the Dalai Lama was through the Dalai Lama's Mandarin-speaking second-oldest brother, Gyalo Thondup. Deng's meeting with him was arranged by Li Jusheng, the second in command of the NCNA in Hong Kong, who had been meeting with him for several weeks. When Deng met Gyalo Thondup, he told him he hoped that the Dalai Lama might return to China, take a look at Tibet, and, if he wished, remain in China. If he preferred, the Dalai Lama could first send his representatives to observe the situation in China; as Deng admitted to Gyalo Thondup, China had some political work to do before the Dalai Lama returned.

On March 17, 1979, a few days after Deng's meeting with Gyalo Thondup, the NCNA announced, "The Tibetan Autonomous Region legal organs have decided to be generous in treating all those who took part in the Tibetan uprising [of 1959]." On the same day, after a meeting of the four prefectures in Tibet, it was announced that many verdicts against Tibetan officials dating from the Cultural Revolution would be reversed. In promoting reconciliation, Deng relied on reports of Communist officials in Tibet, and was unaware of the seriousness of the Tibetan resistance and the powerful influence of the Dalai Lama around the world. When Deng met Vice President Walter Mondale in August 1979, he told him, "As for the matter of the Dalai Lama this is a small matter... It is not a very important question because the Dalai Lama is an *insignificant character." Deng went on to say that it was an illusion for the Dalai Lama to think of having an independent state.

At that time Deng had some reason to be hopeful that the Tibetan situation was improving. After he met Gyalo Thondup, it was arranged for the Dalai Lama to send a delegation of Dharamsala exiles to Tibet to observe the situation and to meet with local officials. In the following months, two more delegations from Dharamsala visited China. It turned out that the Chinese officials advising Deng had vastly underestimated the alienation of the Tibetans against the Han and the resistance that would be stimulated by the visit of Tibetans from Dharamsala. When one of the Tibetan exile delegations visiting Qinghai province was greeted by exuberant crowds of Tibetans express-

{p. 516} ing support for the Dalai Lama, Beijing officials were shocked and embarrassed. Hoping to avoid further unpleasant surprises, the Chinese officials immediately asked the first party secretary of Tibet, the Han former general Ren Rong, what they might expect when the delegation visited Lhasa. Ren Rong predicted there would be no problem. But in Lhasa there was an even larger outpouring of support for the Dalai Lama.

As a result of his misstep, Ren Rong was fired by Hu Yaobang who directed that Ren leave Tibet so he would not undermine efforts to establish good relations with Tibetans. Ren Rong was replaced by another former Han general, Yin Fatang, who soon became Deng's man in Tibet. Yin had spent some two decades in Tibet and was sufficiently committed to the building of Tibet that he remained there and helped build schools after he retired as party secretary.

The visits of these three delegations backfired. Deng had been led to believe that under Communist leadership, Tibet had achieved enough stability and economic growth since 1959 that the delegations from the exile community would be favorably impressed by the conditions they saw in Tibet. But they were not. On the contrary, they became vocal critics of Chinese treatment of Tibetans.

Despite the seriousness of the problems revealed during the visits of the three delegations, Deng still endeavored to bridge the gap with the Tibetans. He continued the policy of repairing Tibetan temples and other cultural objects. Deng directed Hu Yaobang, the newly appointed general secretary, and his deputy, Wan Li, to lead a major delegation to Tibet to try to restore better relations between the Han and the Tibetans.

After a few months of preparation, Hu and his delegation of eight hundred people arrived in Tibet on May 22, 1980, ready to celebrate on the next day the twenty-ninth anniversary of the signing of the seventeen-point agreement that had launched Mao'S moderate policy toward Tibet in 1951. After spending a week observing conditions and talking with local officials, Hu Yaobang gave a dramatic speech in front of five thousand mostly Tibetan local officials. In his speech, "Strive to Build a United, Prosperous and Civilized New Tibet," Hu said, "Our party has let the Tibetan people down. We feel very bad ... the life of the Tibetan people has not notably improved. Are we not to blame?" Hu then spelled out six tasks: (1) let Tibetans be the masters of their own lives, (2) relieve and reduce their economic burdens, exempting Tibetans from agricultural and livestock taxes for three to five years, (3) contract responsibility for agricultural production down to the small group, (4)

{p. 517} make great efforts to develop agriculture and animal husbandry, (5) promote education and begin planning for a university in Tibet, and (6) strengthen the unity of the Tibetan and Han people by sending most of the Han officials in Tibet to other parts of China and by cultivating more local Tibetan officials." Hu's speech represented a bold effort to change the relationship between Beijing and Tibetans. After Hu's speech, there were rounds of enthusiastic applause for Tibet's new hero, Hu Yaobang. Hu was obviously sincere: he was honest about the damages done to Tibet, he accepted responsibility on behalf of the party for the suffering inflicted on Tibetans, and he outlined ways to do better in the future. Until he was dismissed in 1987, Hu continued to believe in a conciliatory policy toward Tibet.

Before Hu Yaobang's trip, PLA factories, located in several provinces where Tibetans lived, held a monopoly on producing felt hats, leather boots, and other goods prized by Tibetans. In the years after Hu Yaobang's 1980 trip, the PLA monopoly was broken and local civilian companies under Tibetan leadership were allowed to make these products. Some progress was also made in promoting Tibetan officials and in improving the lives of the Tibetan people. In 1978, 44.5 percent of the officials in Tibet were Tibetan; in 1981, the figure reached 54.4 percent; and in 1986, 60.3 percent. Monasteries were permitted to recruit small numbers of monks, the Tibetan language was formally permitted, and opposition to religious prayers, pilgrimages, and ceremonies was dropped.

Within a year after Hu Yaobang's yeoman attempts to resolve the Tibetan issue, however, his efforts ended in failure. They failed because Hu Yaobang aroused the resistance of Han officials both in Tibet and in Beijing and because his efforts were still not enough to satisfy the Tibetans. Deng, constrained by Han officials, and the Dalai Lama, constrained by the militant community of exiles in Dharamsala, could not bridge the gap.

To the Han officials trying to keep order in Tibet, Hu Yaobang's policies were seen as an attack on them for being too severe with the Tibetans. Some Han officials were reassigned to other locations to make way for local Tibetan officials, and the Han who remained mostly objected to Hu Yaobang's policies; when they were ordered not only to learn the Tibetan language but also to listen to the views of the Tibetan people, they had difficulty maintaining the authority to keep political order. Han officials in Tibet responsible for security remained especially concerned about the Tibetan monasteries, which, with their newly increased freedoms, became hotbeds of Tibetan nationalism

{p. 518} and centers for organizing Tibetan resistance. (According to figures in the late 1950s there were some 150,000 monks among a population of over two million in Tibet proper.) Wary officials in Beijing-like the Han officials in Tibet-were outspokenly critical of Hu for not recognizing the dangers of the Tibetan "separatists" who were supported by foreigners.

Adding to the strain, the Tibetan exiles in Dharamsala were making demands for a level of autonomy that would be even greater than that Taiwan was being offered. They demanded a different political system in Tibet from that in the rest of China. They also asked for the creation of a "Greater Tibet," which would bring all Tibetan areas in China into one new political autonomous region. These demands went far beyond what even the more lenient officials in Beijing considered reasonable; thus the talks led nowhere.

In the 1980s, the Communists granted Tibetans far more autonomy than in the 1950s. Local people were permitted to use their local language, local dress, and send substantial numbers of delegates to people's congresses. The Communists allowed local people to have more children than the Han majority. Locals could enter high schools and universities with a lower cutoff score than that required of the Han majority. But real power over important decisions was placed in the hands of Han Communist officials in Lhasa, who received their directions from Beijing.

The second irreconcilable difference stemmed from the Tibetan demand that the boundaries of Tibet be extended to include the Tibetan minority areas in other provinces. In the seventh century, Tibetans had controlled an area almost as large as China, and ever since there had been small communities of Tibetans in the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu, and Yunnan. Even the most lenient Chinese refused to consider yielding such a large expanse of territory to the Tibetans.

On March 23, 1981, the Dalai Lama, after reviewing reports by his three groups of emissaries who had observed the conditions of Tibetans in China and after the Hu Yaobang visit, wrote a cordial letter to Deng, saying, "We must try to develop friendship between Tibetans and Chinese in the future through better understanding." But he also observed, "In reality, over 90 percent of the Tibetans are suffering both mentally and physically, and are living in deep sorrow. These sad conditions have not been brought about by natural disasters, but by human actions."' It took some time for Beijing to decide how to respond.

Beijing officials waited some four months, until July 27, 1981, when Hu Yaobang met with Gyalo Thondup in Beijing to convey Beijing's response to the Dalai Lama's March letter. In his 1980 mission to Tibet, Hu Yaobang

{p. 519} had been allowed considerable leeway in trying to win the goodwill of Tibetans. But this meeting was different: he was under instructions to convey China's new policy that would put a tighter lid on Tibetan separatist activities. Hu specified to Gyalo Thondup the conditions under which the Dalai Lama would be welcomed to Beijing: The Dalai Lama could enjoy the same political status and living conditions as before 1959. He would live in Beijing, not Tibet, but he could visit Tibet. He would be a vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee and of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The Tibetans understood that accepting this offer would give the Dalai Lama honor and some religious freedom, but that political power would still be firmly in the hands of the Chinese - so they rejected it. The Dalai Lama chose not to return to China. Deng's effort to form a closer, more positive relationship on both sides had failed. But neither Deng nor the Dalai Lama wanted to create a sharp break in relations. In October 1981, the Dalai Lama sent a negotiating team for further discussions. It too was unable to bridge the gap, but it avoided an open break between the Dalai Lama and Chinese leaders.

After the failure to bridge the gap in 1981-1982, Deng put the Tibetan issue on the back burner until 1984, when expanded support for markets in the nation suggested a new vision for dealing with Tibetan problems: economic growth and increased linkages, including market linkages, between Tibet and other provinces. From February 27 to March 6, 1984, four years after the First Tibet Work Forum (and on the heels of Deng's announcement in Guangdong about the correctness of the special economic zone policies), Beijing held the Second Tibet Work Forum, which affirmed the further opening of Tibet. Until then, there had been only a trickle of tourists and outside merchants allowed into Tibet, but after the forum, merchants were allowed to go into Tibet and market their wares, with few constraints. Deng hoped that by linking Tibetans to the national economy and accelerating the growth rate in Tibet, support for the government would increase, just as it had elsewhere. In fact, Deng made Tibetan economic development high on the list of national priorities. Richer provinces were encouraged to send financial assistance, and officials knowledgeable about the economy were sent to help promote Tibetan development, thereby strengthening the links between Tibet and other provincial governments.

In 1985, as part of a related effort intended to reduce the risk of separatism, about four thousand very bright Tibetan middle-school students were sent to other provinces to take advantage of greater educational opportunities

{p. 520} and to become more connected to the rest of the country. In 1984, talks were held between Beijing and the Tibetan exile community but they made no progress.

With the failure of these talks, the Dalai Lama tried to break the stalemate with Beijing by appealing for support in the West, which would put pressure on Beijing. He sent responsible young Tibetans abroad to make the case for Tibet. Lodi Gyari, for example, was sent to Washington where he was to spend several decades promoting the Tibetan cause. But none of these young emissaries compared in influence with the Dalai Lama himself The Dalai Lama had learned English and could inspire a Western audience with his deep spirituality, a quality that many Westerners felt was missing from their own materialistic daily lives. They saw him as a man of peace fighting for the freedom of his people against oppressive Chinese. No other Asian leader had developed such a dedicated following of Westerners. The Dalai Lama's prominence enabled Tibetans, who constituted only 0.3 percent of the total population of China, to attract great attention from the Western world, far more than any other minority group in China, including those far more numerous. But despite widespread foreign support for the Dalai Lama, no foreign government formally recognized Tibet. Meanwhile, the Chinese regarded him as someone who made occasional high-sounding promises about being ready to accept Chinese sovereignty but was unwilling to make agreements that he would follow. They came to believe he had no negotiating room, given the constraints of the unruly extremist band of 80,000 exiles in India. The Han Chinese public, informed about Tibet through the Communist propaganda apparatus, believed that the Tibetans were ungrateful despite generous financial assistance from the Chinese government. As tensions grew and Han officials in Tibet tightened controls, Tibetans regarded the Han as oppressive and anti-Tibetan.

Monks in Tibet, buoyed by the Dalai Lama's success in gaining support from Europeans, members of the U.S. Congress, human rights activists, and foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), were emboldened to press for greater autonomy. On September 27, 1987, less than one week after the Dalai Lama's first speech to the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus on September 21, a demonstration of monks in Lhasa turned into a riot. Many Tibetans had become overly optimistic that, with Western support, they could force the Chinese government to back down. On the contrary, Beijing officials tightened their controls. In June 1988, in a speech to the European Parliament at Strasbourg, the Dalai Lama repeated his view that

{p. 521} Tibetans should be able to decide on all affairs relating to Tibet - within months, in December 1988, another serious riot occurred in Lhasa. And the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 to the Dalai Lama emboldened monks within Tibet to revive their resistance activities, which again led Communist Party leaders to tighten their controls.

Chinese leaders, ftustrated by the growing resistance of Tibetan monks as a result of the Dalai Lama's success abroad, have used whatever leverage they have with foreign groups to isolate the Dalai Lama. Some foreigners have yielded to Chinese pressures, but overall, Chinese efforts have increased foreign attention to the Dalai Lama and strengthened foreign criticism of China. In Tibet, the growing resistance of monks caused Chinese officials to fortify their security forces and to exercise stricter control over monasteries.

Chinese officials have complained that foreign assistance ftorn human rights groups is motivated by a desire to weaken China. And when foreigners criticize the Chinese for failing to give the Tibetans more autonomy, some Chinese officials snap back that their policies have been more humane than those the United States used in assimilating and destroying its own Native American communities.

Both Deng and the Dalai Lama, while unable to resolve their differences, tried to avoid all-out conflict. In early 1988 Beijing released several monks who were being held for their political activities. And in April 1988, China announced that if the Dalai Lama were willing to give up his efforts to achieve independence, he could live in Tibet. The Dalai Lama continued to say that he accepted Chinese sovereignty and that he wanted a peaceful solution that gave Tibetans more fteedom.

In December 1988, Deng sent to Tibet a new provincial party secretary, Hu Jintao, to try to control the unrest. Hu talked with various Tibetan leaders, but his basic goals echoed Deng's: support economic growth, expand education in Mandarin, strengthen outside linkages, co-opt some Tibetans, and keep tight control over separatist activities. Riots again broke out in Tibet in the spring of 1989 at the same time that students were demonstrating in Beijing; in response, Hu Jintao declared martial law.

In early 1989, after the death of the Panchen Lama (another Tibetan religious leader) with the second-largest following among Tibetans, there was a brief moment of hope. The Dalai Lama, in his role as religious leader, was invited to go to Beijing for the memorial services. Beijing's assumption was that the Dalai Lama was generally more flexible than the Tibetan exile community and that Deng and the Dalai Lama might be able to begin some use-

{p. 522} ful discussions during his visit. But the exile community in Dharamsala, recognizing that Beijing leaders were trying to pull the Dalai Lama closer to Beijing, convinced the Dalai Lama that he should not attend. After this refusal, Deng and later his successors gave up trying to work with the Dalai Lama and the gridlock continued. Some observers felt that the Dalai Lama missed a great opportunity to make progress in bridging the gap. Since then, although the Dalai Lama has sent representatives from time to time for discussions in China, neither side has yielded on the basic points of contention.

By the middle of the 1980s a tragic cycle had emerged that continues to this day: The Dalai Lama's popularity abroad emboldens local Tibetans to resist, leading to a crackdown by Beijing. When foreigners learn of the crackdown, they complain, emboldening Tibetans to resist, and the cycle continues. But the Tibetans and Han Chinese both recognize there is a long-term change that began with the opening of Tibet to outside markets in the mid-1980s and the input of economic aid to Tibet: an improvement in the standard of living and a decline of economic autonomy. In the 1950s outsiders settling in Tibet were mostly Han party officials and troops sent in by Beijing. After the mid-1980s settlers from the outside were overwhelmingly merchants who went to take advantage of economic opportunities generated by inputs of Chinese economic assistance to Tibet; many were members of Hui or other minorities from nearby poor provinces. Almost no outsiders settled in Tibetan villages but by the late 1990s, outsiders were already threatening to outnumber Tibetans in Lhasa. With more Tibetan youth learning Mandarin and receiving a Chinese education to further their careers, both Tibetans and Chinese see that the long-term trend is toward Tibetans absorbing many aspects of Chinese culture, and becoming integrated into the outside economy, while not giving up their Tibetan identity and loyalty.

Since Deng sent Hu Yaobang to Tibet in 1980, there has been no serious effort to reach a positive agreement between Tibetans and Beijing. The gridlock remains between Tibetan exiles determined to establish a greater Tibet that possesses genuine autonomy, and leaders in Beijing convinced that economic growth and expanded Tibetan participation in Chinese schools and culture will draw Tibet toward greater integration into the national economy and culture. The standoff between foreigners who want to help Tibetans gain more autonomy and Beijing leaders, who feel increasingly optimistic about their power to block such efforts as China rises, also continues.

Left deniers of Uighur genocide are like those who denied Ukraine Famine: genocide-uighur-tibet.html.


Copyright: Peter Myers asserts the right to be identified as the author of the material written by him on this website, being material that is not otherwise attributed to another author.

Write to me at contact.html.