Research Essay Task
By Andrea Ryall (11P): Miss Wesson
Topic 17: The extension of Chinese Communism into Tibet in the 1940s and 1950s has been described as been both a ‘blessing’ and a ‘curse’. Discuss this with reference to the impact on Tibetan society politically, economically and socially.
The country of Tibet had remained independent for many years resisting numerous small scale attempts of its takeover until the Chinese invasion of 1950. This invasion meant that the Chinese Communists would primarily have control over the Tibetan society and subsequently have the opportunity to implement communist/socialistic reforms within Tibet. Formally Tibet was under the leadership of the Dalai Lama and the monasteries; this ensured that Tibet was governed by the religious icon that the Tibetan society respected and willingly followed therefore creating little conflict of interests among the society. Furthermore prior to the communist reforms Tibet’s economy was stable and socially for the most part people were content with their life styles. Therefore there is constant debate regarding the impact of Chinese communism on the Tibetan society since it is viewed from each country in vastly contradictory manners.
The Chinese justification for the invasion was based on ancient agreements of ownership dating back to the Yuan Dynasty. Along with this they claim that it was entirely valid and that the influence of communism was/is a ‘blessing’ for the Tibetan people. This is because they claim the Communist reforms improved the Tibetans life styles and well-being. However from the Tibetans point of view their country was unquestionably independent prior to the Chinese invasion. Subsequently the Tibetans believe the Chinese influences and control to be a ‘curse’ on the country; this was not only shown by people of Tibet via political unrest later in 1959 but also stated and published by an unknown Tibetan blogger (Tibettruth: February 2012), “The Chinese occupation of Tibet violates the terms of the UN Charter, which recognizes people’s rights to determine their own destinies...” This suggests that the Chinese influences were essentially violating the Tibetan people’s basic Human rights to vote or voice their opinions for election of their leaders thus being a ‘curse’ to the Tibetan society. The blogger continues to substantiate that the Chinese Communism to be a ‘curse’ by writing, “from the very beginning they attempted to exploit Tibetan mineral wealth…they dominated employment, business, the tourism industry…Tibetans find themselves denied and marginalized by China’s colonizers, forced to learn in Chinese schools, denied medical and educational services…China ruthlessly exploits Tibet’s natural resources through mining, deforestation and nuclear pollution.” This source thus demonstrates the point of view of the majority of the Tibetan people towards Chinese communism.
Chinese Communism was established in China in the 1940s by the formulation of its own political party, with this establishment Communism and communist ideals began to spread throughout China. By means of consistent propaganda soon the communist party became favoured in the country. Once the Communist party was voted into power in 1949 China attempted to spread communism even further throughout Asia by claiming or achieving sovereignty over neighbouring countries, one of which was Tibet.
The Tibetans believed that their country had been independent since the end of the Yuan Dynasty given that no historical evidence was found to suggest that Tibet was a part of China or any other country. Supporting this claim is the online article called Tibet and China: Two Distinct Views which indicates the independence of Tibet by saying, “In fact on a number of occasions, Tibet exercised power over China, suggesting perhaps Tibet should claim China!” (Tibet and China: Two distinct views: February 2010) As a result of this one may begin to question China’s...
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• HERZER, E. 2012. Tibet Justice Centre: Reports of China’s occupation of China. [Online]. Available: http://www.tibetjustice.org/reports/occupied [viewed 16 March 2013]
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