After its leader, the Dalai Lama, declared independence from China in 1911, when the Chinese emperor was overthrown, Tibet was thrown into great internal turmoil, which perpetuated its economic frailty and lack of political say. In 1949, under a new government spearheaded by Mao Tse-Tung, the Chinese government reincorporated Tibet into its expanses, but ousted the Dalai Lama and persecuted his followers within the country. Ever since then, there have been numerous protests and even riots around what is today an “Autonomous Region” of China (it has some independence in government, but which is bureaucratically annulled in the Chinese parliament). Furthermore, the so-called autonomy of this region does not extend throughout the whole Tibetan land, further worsening the political say and free-will of the Tibetan populace.
The violence with which China deals with those who wish to keep old Tibetan tradition is indefensible at best. However, given China’s current geopolitical importance, no countries have openly challenged China to bring reform there. Thus, while the treatment Tibet receives from China should be improved internally, the international issue roused from China’s negligence to do so cannot be properly resolved if China does not wish for it to be done.
Plans for an increase in industrialization in the area are currently underway, with China defending its stance through economic investment in Tibet, and in particular its capital, Lhasa. However, this is often seen as a method to divert focus from the political and religious oppression that Tibetans have been said to suffer constantly. Most agree that in a world where liberty is sought more and more, China is in clear regression and should be confronted, but countries will refuse to do so for fear of what Chinese retaliation may be.
I came across this heated occurrence in BSRJ MUN 2015, and, by representing China, obviously had to both defend that Tibet should remain being part of China and try to divert other delegates’ attentions from petitioning for greater political and religious say, doing so by emphasizing the prospective economic empowerment of the region. For my delegation’s benefit, other delegates were reticent to confront Chinese authority, and none took an extreme opposite stance, with all accepting that Tibet will only be economically stable under Chinese control, but encouraging China to keep pursuing economic investment in the region.
In my personal opinion, China is in clear infringement of various articles of the UN charter with its oppression in Tibet, but its importance is such right now that no feasible political and religious opening will occur in Tibet unless China wants it to happen.
This situation relates strongly to the issues regarding global commitment, and especially to the areas of education and mitigation of poverty. In a place where many deem “cultural genocide” is happening to Tibetan tradition, the current education being delivered in school and in people’s’ daily lives needs to be reevaluated. Furthermore, since China has agreed to invest economically substantially in the region, this directly impacts mitigation of poverty in the region. While the former issue is suffering world regression through Chinese negligence, the latter is being improved through investments.