China-Tibet History, II

Thanks to onejustworld,  for providing me with resources for the Chinese-Tibet conflict.  My goal is to read as much unbiased information as possible and try to come to a conclusion based on a logical decision, rather than emotional.

Thus far, historically, it still seems as if it’s not “case closed” on either side.  Especially when compared to other similar histories.  Meaning, if you looked at historical precedent, there seems to be enough to justify the Chinese claim to authority over Tibet.  This doesn’t mean they deserve it, or Tibet shouldn’t be free.  It means, that comparing the Chinese-Tibetan history to other histories, it isn’t so clear cut.

For example, in one of the resources pointed out to me is an article called, “Is Tibet Entitled to Self-Determination?”  the author, Paul Harris, says:

The official position of the Chinese Government on this issue is that Tibet is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China (just as France once claimed that Algeria was an inalienable part of Metropolitan France).

These two histories aren’t comparable.  First, France never had a geographic claim like China has.  Second, Algeria had been colonized by the Ottomans, and then taken from the French.  It was pretty obvious that the French “took over” Algeria.  The same cannot be said for China and Tibet.

So, historically, it’s a draw so far as I can tell.  I’m still reading.

But here is where I think Tibet does have a justified claim to independence, an argument I haven’t seen anywhere, so it’s probably a weak argument.

Though the Chinese-Tibetan history goes further back than any of the conflicts Russia had with her satellite states during the Soviet Union timer period, I think there’s a logical argument to be made here.

As soon as the Soviet government fell apart, these satellite states ran through the gateway of sovereignty.  History wouldn’t have mattered because to the people of the time, they wanted to rule their own nation.  It didn’t take long at all for other nations to recognize these new nations either.  Even the USSR recognized it only a month after the Estonia’s declared independence.

Thus, I believe if communist rule in China ended, Tibet and other current Chinese territories would claim their independence like Macau or Sichuan?  I’m sure the leaders in China believe this too, which is why they’ve been so hostile towards Tibet, and have tried to “breed” out the Tibetan culture.

Again, I’m still reading the history, but pragmatism tells me that Tibet should be free.



Filed under China, Tibet

7 responses to “China-Tibet History, II

  1. Leo Li

    Just curious, where did you get the idea that Macau and Sichuan want independence? I am glad you want to do some research yourself before drawing any conclusions but I cannot help thinking that you are going the wrong direction way too far…. About fifteen years ago many Hong Kongers scolded the reunion of the region and P.R.C. so much that they emigrated to U.K., U.S.A. or Canada by tens of thousands. Funny how Hong Kongers consider themselves genuine citizens of P.R.C. nowadays huh?

    The point being, would you feel better if your homestate is independent from the U.S. someday? I am amazed that so many westerners yielded to illusion and ignored reality so much that it’s not even funny any more.

  2. Hi Leo,
    Thanks for writing. To be honest, I picked Macau and Sichuan because they are one of the few Chinese provinces I knew of off the top of my head. I really meant of of the other provinces.

    I’m sure Hong Kongers do feel like genuine citizens under the current situation. However, if my hypothetical played out, I wonder if they still would? I don’t know, just curious.

    And, my home state did separate itself once in its history, and it wasn’t pretty.

    I’d like to know if people’s opinion in Hong Kong are honest opinions, or if the communist government of PRC influences public opinion?

  3. apolucosis

    Many western media are disappointed that an open market doesn’t lead to more aggressive social or political changes in China. What they failed to acknowledge is that with an economy as open and accessible as China’s has become, there’s only so much the government can do to restrain public opinions now. Remember 30 years ago China is as isolated as North Korea (still) is today. Although some of the most popular media in China are state-run, people now have full access to almost all western media outlets online (NYT, time, Washington Post, BBC, etc.), including content that’s considered anti-China. Wikipedia has been available for some time now, although certain references are still blocked.

    I’d say that the communist government is very sensitive to public’s exposure to its critics. In the meanwhile the progress China has made should not be ignored.

  4. apolucosis

    The reality in Hong Kong is that people think much less about this sort of politics anymore. A decade after the reunion, Hong Kongers’ mentality has shifted from how different they are from mainlanders, both politically and culturally, to how much they actually have in common. I’d say the government wants more control in Hong Kong than they deserve, and it knows that. Broadly speaking, the perspective of an ever better economy overrules worries about freedom and censorship in Hong Kong, for now.

  5. In most societies, wealth has a tendency to take your eyes off of things like freedom and liberties like a free press. Once there’s an economic downturn however, anger rises against the very group that was ignored during the good times.

  6. apolucosis

    I think I should clarify my point one step further. I am using the shift in Hong Kongers’ attitude toward China to make the point that we’re living in a world that favors nation (or supernation) of great scale, diversity, unity and stability. This is not a trend, it’s a rule. Thus people adapt, consciously or unconsciously. This is why China climbs up the ladder so quickly. This is what Europe has done with EU. This is what African countries have done with AU. And this is what South America countries are doing now. This is why Puerto Rico want statehood of U.S.A., not independence. Think about it. Do you think every state can lead a better life as independent sovereignty if U.S.A. dissolves? This is not about China and the rest of the world. It’s about Darwinism. Hong Kongers’ mentality is just a good example of that. After all, the world at large is not as obsessed with democracy as U.S. is. Understandably, that little war in Iraq greatly helped to drop a lot of people’s faith in American-style democracy to an all time low. Seriously, how can you expect other nations to adapt democracy when even the U.S. cannot solve myriad issues associated with it?

  7. Churchill said it best, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. I don’t buy the whole “single govenment rule” over the world. I don’t see diversity and one super nation happening, that’s counter intuitive. The EU may exist, but they also spend billions on translaters because they want their own national identies and languages. It’s not going to meld into one supernation. Neither will the AU. In the last 40 years, the Puerto Ricans voted for statehood three times and it was rejected each time. When Germany was reunited, the West Germans didn’t want it and they still struggle. China needed HOng Kong more than Hong Kong needed China. Strong nations don’t want to merge, super nations will never happen. I do think the world wants democracy, that’s why the last 25 years have seen a huge growth in democratic nations over communist and other forms of government. And though some might not see it, establishing democracy in Iraq, will lead to more democracy in other regions as Lebanon has witnessed. Lebanon doesn’t want to merge into some mega Arab state. Iran and Iraq wouldn’t never have merged.

    I’m not sure where you’re going with this other than saying that Tibet would be better off with China. But that’s just thinking economically and I don’t think that’s all they want.

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