Why Tibet will not be Free

Occam’s razor: The simplest explanation tends to be the best one.

During WWII, the Japanese conquered the entire eastern seaboard of China. Every port from Hong Kong to Harbin was in the hand of Japanese forces. President Roosevelt promised Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek military support to avoid total Chinese defeat.

In 1942, the allies were left with no over land or over sea route to China. The result was a 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week airlift from Assam province, in the northeast corner of India, over the Himalayan Mountains, into Kunming in southwest China. This 525 mile long sky route, flown by Americans and Chinese, transported every allied soldier, every C-ration, every M-16, every condom, everything supplied by the western allies.

August 14, 1945: V-J Day. Japans Emperor Hirohito surrenders, ending WWII.

October 1st, 1949: Chinese Civil War Ends. People’s Republic of China founded.

After spending a year consolidating control over the mainland, the People’s Liberation Army marched into Tibet. The official Chinese line is that they: “Liberated the Tibetan People from Feudal Serfdom under the aristocratic Lamas”. The Tibetan government fled from Lhasa to India, forming the Tibetan government in exile, which claims that the “Chinese have deprived Tibetans of self-determination”.

Post Chinese control of Tibet, there have been discussions about: * The oppression of the Tibetan people under the feudal Lamas * The oppression of the Tibetan people under the Communists * Hundreds of years Chinese history of Beijing controlling the selection of Lamas * Hundreds of years of Tibetans themselves selecting the Lamas * Campaigns of propaganda, oppression, subversion to impact the Tibetans and/or Chinese


Richard Gere campaigns for a Free Tibet. The CIA is on the record for covert support of Tibetan resistance fighters and subsidy to the Dalai Lama. Many Americans campaign for a “Free Tibet” and have the bumper stickers to prove it. To understand the future of Tibet, we need to understand why the Chinese took control of Tibet.

Looking at a political map, the situation doesn’t make a lot of sense. But looking at a topographic map, the situation is more clear. Tibet is massive – nearly twice the size of Texas. In 1950, Tibet was not a strong nation. The British forces in India mounted expeditions to invade Tibet and force trading relations from 1904 – 1911, and a portion of Tibet is claimed by India to this day. India went to war with China in 1962 over this, but China held the territory.

If technology of the 1940s could enable Kunming, in mountainous south east China, to be the terminus of freight route that helped create a stalemate against adept Japanese forces, then Tibet could be the corner stone of the next foreign attack on China.

After the Tibetans surrendered, their remaining representatives signed the “17-point Agreement” of surrender. There is some fluff in the middle of the agreement, but the first two points give you a good understanding of why the Chinese took control of Tibet:

  1. The Tibetan people shall be united and drive out the imperialist aggressive forces from Tibet; that the Tibetan people shall return to the big family of the motherland – the People’s Republic of China.
  2. The Local Government of Tibet shall actively assist the People’s Liberation Army to enter Tibet and consolidate the national defenses.

Bottom line, at least from the prospective of Beijing, Tibet is a vital part of China’s National Security.

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