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TIBET ISSUE AND RECENT DEVELOPMENTS



  Jun 24, 2024

TIBET ISSUE AND RECENT DEVELOPMENTS



Historical Background

• Tibetan Independence: Tibet enjoyed de facto independence from 1912, after the fall of the Qing Dynasty, until 1951.
• Invasion and Control: In 1950, the People’s Liberation Army of China invaded Tibet. By 1951, the Seventeen Point Agreement was signed under duress, affirming China’s sovereignty over Tibet while promising autonomy and respect for the region’s traditional government and Buddhist practices.
• Exile of the Dalai Lama: Following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India with 80,000 followers. This marked the beginning of the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh.

Recent Developments

• U.S. Legislative Support: The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Resolve Tibet Act, urging China to engage in dialogue with the Dalai Lama.
• Lawmakers’ Visit to Dharamshala: An influential group of U.S. lawmakers, led by Michael McCaul, met with the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala. They reinforced the U.S. stance against Beijing’s interference in the succession of the Dalai Lama and criticized China’s claim of ancient ties with Tibet as ‘ridiculous’.
• U.S. Position on Tibet: The delegation, including Representative Gregory Meeks and Jim McGovern, emphasized the United States’ unwavering support for Tibetan self-determination, human rights, and religious freedom.

Statements from U.S. Lawmakers

• Michael McCaul: He recounted the Dalai Lama’s exile and highlighted ongoing threats to Tibetan freedom by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). McCaul stressed, “We will not let [the CCP] insert themselves into the succession of the Dalai Lama.”
• Gregory Meeks: Meeks condemned China’s attempts to control Tibetan Buddhism and called for unconditional dialogue with the Dalai Lama.
• Jim McGovern: McGovern assured continued U.S. support for Tibet and the importance of respecting human rights globally.

China’s Response

China asserted its sovereignty in response to the U.S. delegation’s visit. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian stated that China would take resolute measures to defend its sovereignty, security, and development interests.

Implications

The U.S. lawmakers’ visit to Dharamshala, days before the Dalai Lama’s 89th birthday, underscores strong international support for Tibetan autonomy and highlights ongoing concerns over China’s policies in Tibet. The U.S. commitment to supporting Tibetan rights reflects broader geopolitical and human rights considerations in the region.

Conclusion

The origins of the Tibet issue lie in its historical struggle for autonomy and freedom from Chinese control. Recent developments, including U.S. legislative actions and diplomatic support, reinforce international concern over Tibet’s future and China’s influence on its religious and cultural practices.


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