This detailed history offers the most comprehensive account available of Tibetan nationalism, Sino-Tibetan relations and the issue of Tibetan Self Determination. Warren Smith Explores Tibet’s ethnic and national origins the birth of the Tibetan state the Buddhist state and its relations with China, Tibet’s quest for independence and the Chinese takeover of Tibet after 1950.
Focusing especially on post 1950 Tibet under Chinese Communist rule, Smith Analyses the Marxist-Leminist and Chinese Communist Party’s Nationally and policy their application in Tibet and the consequent rise of Tibetan nationalism. Concluding that the essence of the Tibetan issue is self determination Smith bolsters his argument with a comprehensive analysis of modern Tibetan and Chinese political histories.
Warren W. Smith. Jr. an independent scholar in Alexandria Virginia, received his Ph.D. in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Tibet’s brief appearance on the international political stage in 1950-1951 at the time of the Chinese invasion and in 1959 following the flight of the Dalai Lama into exile in India was followed by long periods of the absence of any news on Tibet except the glowing reports emanating from the PRC propaganda machine about the glorious progress of the Tibetan people in achieving Liberation Democratic reforms and Socialist transformation Since 1980 however the opening of Tibet to the outside worlds has revealed that Chinese rule in Tibet has been oppressive and destructive of Tibetan culture and Civilization. In addition Tibetan nationalism has not been eradicated but has been exacerbated by Chinese nationalism has grown under the conditions of foreign conquest and rule despite every effort by the Chinese to eradicate it.
The history of Tibetan nationalism and Sino-Tibetan relations involves immensely complicated historical and political issues. Tibetans and Chinese will never agree on whether Tibet was or even currently is a part of China. In the Tibetan empire period of the seventh to ninth centuries a centralized Tibetan government dominated the entire Tibetan plateau and consolidated a Tibetan Buddhist state which was dependent upon foreign political and military patronage Tibet came under the also ruling dynasties of Mongol and Manchu empires both of which were also ruling dynasties of China. China when it overcame its own foreign domination was thus able to claim Tibet as part of China due to the legacy of Mongol and Machu Domination over Tibet. Tibetan Nationalism little developed under the politically benign conditions of indirect rule was aroused by China’s attempt to transform its previous suzerainty into direct sovereignty.
After the Chinese Communists liberation of Tibet in 1950-1951 Tibetan local nationalism was targeted for eradication by Marxist Leninist nationalities policies which were purported to provide the solution to the nationalities question. Marx and Lenin had realized that nationalism is inevitably aroused by foreign imperialism however because this lesson to nations under their own domination. Instead Marxists have attempted to disguise their imperialist domination of other nations by claiming to have liberated those nations from their own ostensibly feudal and exploitative social and political systems a type of justification typical of imperialism. The issue of Tibet is not the nature of its former social and political system a system far more benign than the hell on earth described in Chinese propaganda. Instead the issue is the legitimacy of China’s invasion and conquest of Tibet its continuing foreign imperialist rule over Tibet and its denial of Tibetan’s right to self determination.
The history of Tibetan nationalism and Sino-Tibetan relations may be divided into four main periods. The first period is that of the consolidation of the Tibetan state from the beginnings of Tibetan history up to the fall of the Tibetan empire in 842. The territory and peoples of the Tibetan plateau were politically unified by the Tibetan empire (630-842) the only time in history that all of the Tibet was unified under an independent centralized Tibetan state. During the empire period Tibet rivaled T’angdynasty China (618-907) for influence in inner Asia and along the frontier between the two countries. It is during this period that Tibetan cultural territorial and political identities the fundamentals of later Tibetan nationalism were consolidated.
After the collapse of the Tibetan empire in 842 Tibet was not again politically unified until the mid-13th century when Tibetan lamas established a political spiritual relationship known as Cho-Yon or priest patron relationship with the Mongol empire. This arrangement averted a Mongol conquest of Tibet and established ecclesiastical rule in Tibet under the Sakya sect. Tibet was a dependent state under the Mongol Yuan (1260-1368) and Manchu Ch’ing (1644-1911) dynasties. Tibet was independent of Chinese influence during the native Chinese Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Tibet’s relationship to China typical of feudal relationship Tibetan feudal relations with the Mongol Yuan and the Manchu Ch’ing had little impact upon Tibetan autonomy and Chinese impotence but failed to achieve international recognition of its independence.
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