Chinese Aggression in Tibet
Invasion and Refugees
- China's invasion by 40,000 troops in 1950 was an act of unprovoked
aggression. There is no generally accepted legal basis for China's claim of
- Ten years later 100,000 Tibetans fled with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's
spiritual and temporal ruler.
- In 1993 the UN High Commissioner for Refugees handled 3,700 Tibetan cases.
- To avoid detection many refugees, who are poorly clothed, are forced to
use the 19,000 ft. Nangpa-La pass below Everest. The Nepalese authorities
continue to turn refugees over to the Chinese.
Chinese Administration of Tibet
- By the 17-Point Agreement of 1951 China undertook not to interfere with
Tibet's existing system of government and society, but never kept these
promises in eastern Tibet and in 1959 reneged on the treaty altogether.
- China has renamed two out of Tibet's three provinces as parts of the
Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan, and renamed the
remaining province of U'Tsang as Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
- There is no evidence to support China's claim that TAR is autonomous: all
local legislation is subject to approval of the central government in Beijing;
all local government is subject to the regional party, which in Tibet has
never been run by a Tibetan. Much enforcement of Chinese law is ad hoc and
subject to local interpretation due to wording being deliberately ambiguous.
The Human Cost
- Reprisals for the 1959 National Uprising alone involved the elimination of
87,000 Tibetans by the Chinese count, according to a Radio Lhasa broadcast of
1 October 1960. Tibetan exiles claim that 430,000 died during the Uprising and
the subsequent 15 years of guerrilla warfare.
- Some 1.2 million Tibetans are estimated to have been killed by the Chinese
- The International Commission of Jurists concluded in its reports, 1959 and
1960, that there was a prima facie case of genocide committed by the Chinese
upon the Tibetan nation. These reports deal with events before the Cultural
Revolution. Chinese Justice: Protest and Prisons
- Exile sources estimate that up to 260,000 people died in prisons and
labour camps between 1950 and 1984.
- Unarmed demonstrators have been shot without warning by Chinese police on
five occasions between 1987 and 1989. Amnesty International believes that "at
least 200 civilians" were killed by the security forces during demonstrations
in this period. There are also reports of detainees being summarily executed.
- Some 3,000 people are believed to have been detained for political
offences since September 1987, many of them for writing letters, distributing
leaflets or talking to foreigners about the Tibetans' right to independence.
- The number of political detainees in Lhasa's main prison, Drapchi, is
reported to have doubled between 1990 and 1994. The vast majority of political
inmates are monks or nuns. A political prisoner in Tibet can now expect an
average sentence of 6.5 years.
- Over 230 Tibetans were detained for political offences in 1995, a 50%
increase on 1994, bringing the total in custody to over 600.
- Detailed accounts show that the Chinese conducted a campaign of torture
against Tibetan dissidents in prison from March 1989 to May 1990. However,
beatings and torture are still regularly used against political detainees and
prisoners today. Such prisoners are held in sub-standard conditions, given
insufficient food, forbidden to speak, frequently held incommunicado and
denied proper medical treatment.
- Beatings and torture with electric shock batons are common; prisoners have
died from such treatment. In 1992, Palden Gyatso, a monk who had been tortured
by the Chinese for over 30 years, bribed prison guards to hand over implements
of torture. The weapons, smuggled out of Tibet, were displayed in the west in
1994 and 1995.
- Despite China having ratified a number of UN conventions, including those
relating to torture, women, children and racial discrimination, the Chinese
authorities have been repeatedly violating these conventions in China and
- Nearly all prisoners arrested for political protest are beaten extensively
at the time of arrest and initial detention. Serious physical maltreatment has
also been recorded in a significant proportion of cases. In the period
1994-1995, three nuns died shortly after release from custody as a result of
ill-treatment and torture in detention.
- The Chinese have refused to allow independent observers to attend
so-called public trials. Prison sentences are regularly decided before the
trial. Fewer than 2% of cases in China are won by the defence.
Control of Education
- Chinese replaced Tibetan as the official language. Despite official
pronouncements, there has been no practical change in this policy. Without an
adequate command of Chinese, Tibetans find it difficult to get work in the
- Secondary school children are taught all classes in Chinese. Although
English is a requirement for most university courses, Tibetan school children
cannot learn English unless they forfeit study of their own language. Many
children are sent away to China for education, usually for a period of seven
- Since 1994, the Chinese have strengthened their drive to re-educate young
Tibetans about their cultural past at all levels of Tibetan education. They
use a distorted history programme which omits reference to an independent
- At school, no unrehearsed discussion of Tibetan cultural, religious and
social issues is allowed. Party positions must actively be upheld. Chinese
culture is emphatically promoted.
- Religious practice was forcibly suppressed until 1979, and up to 6,000
monasteries and shrines were destroyed.
- The 1982 Constitution of the People's Republic of China guarantees freedom
of religious belief, but China seeks to restrict the numbers of monks and nuns
entering monasteries. The restrictions prevent children under 18 from joining
- After serving arbitrary sentences imposed for pro-independence activities,
nuns and monks released from prison are frequently banned from rejoining their
- New guidelines drawn up in 1994 instigated a policy of renewed religious
suppression and attempts to discredit the religious authority of the Dalai
- In 1995 the Chinese authorities rejected the child recognised by the Dalai
Lama as the rebirth of the Panchen Lama, and installed their own candidate.
Chinese Immigrants Flood Tibet
- Beijing has admitted a policy of deliberately encouraging Chinese to
settle on a long-term basis in Tibet.
- The influx of Chinese nationals has destabilised the economy. Forced
agricultural modernisations led to extensive crop failures and Tibet's first
recorded famine (1960-1962), in which 340,000 Tibetans died. Tibetan farms and
grazing lands have been confiscated and incorporated into collectivised and
- Resettlement of Chinese migrants has placed Tibetans in the minority in
many areas, including Lhasa, causing chronic unemployment among Tibetans.
- Official figures put the number of non-Tibetans in the TAR at 79,000.
Independent research puts the figure at 250,000 to 300,000, and for the whole
of Tibet 5 to 5.5 million Chinese to 4.5 million Tibetans. In Kham and Amdo
the Chinese outnumber Tibetans many times over.
Economic Development Plans
- Beijing wants to see 10% economic growth per year from the Tibetan region.
New wealth is being channelled into Chinese hands as shown by the 1994
announcement of a railway for Tibet. The rail project will speed both the
influx of Chinese migrants as well as the extraction of Tibet's mineral
- According to the TAR Economic Planning Commission's plan, the main thrust
of China's economic activities in Tibet in the 1990s will be 'the exploitation
of mineral resources'. Mining and other mineral extraction is the largest
economic activity in both U'Tsang and Amdo.
- Chinese traders are favoured by lower tax assessments and the dominant
position of Chinese in government administration. Chinese officials are paid
various bonuses for working in Tibet.
- China is pushing to incorporate Tibet into its new market economy by
boosting agricultural output. Traditional barley farming, suited to the
climate, is diminishing as new crops are introduced (sometimes with foreign
The Environment and the Military
- Estimates of deforestation vary, but most reckon that at least half
Tibet's natural forest cover has gone since the Chinese occupation. An
extensive road-building programme has been opening up the previously
inaccessible areas of forest. Tourists have seen up to 60 trucks per hour
loaded with timber leaving Tibet - proof of deforestation on a large scale, in
contravention of UN Resolution 1803 (XVII) 1962, which establishes the right
of peoples to permanent sovereignty over their natural resources.
- The Indian Government reports that three nuclear missile sites, and an
estimated 300,000 troops are stationed on Tibetan territory.
- Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the Chinese operated a large nuclear
weapons research centre at the Ninth academy in Haibai prefecture, Qinghai
- China has admitted to dumping nuclear waste on the Tibetan plateau. There
is a 20 km2 dump for radioactive pollutants near Lake Kokonor, the largest
lake on the Tibetan plateau.
Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka.