Author: Sławoj Szynkiewicz
Year of publication: 2004
Source: Show
Pages: 60-97
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ap200404
PDF: ap/7/ap0704.pdf

MYTHS AND CONTEMPORARY TIBET. SOME SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ISSUES

After many years of partisan exchange of arguments over the condition of Tibetan polity and society a more balanced examination should be introduced for the convenience of an advanced understanding. The Western view has been too often burdened by an Orientalist sentiment in Edward Said’s term, that is of romantic patronage against a despotic domination. There have been indeed too many cases of extreme violation of human rights there, both individual and collective, but the situation is changing and calls for an adjusted estimation. The subject of Tibet sovereignty is discussed from the Eastern and Western points of view that appear contradictory and inconclusive. Historical evidence proves similarity with the position of Outer Mongolia but the present status of Tibet originates in the Western notion of protectorate as acknowledged in the early 20th century. In consequence, the take-over of 1950 is not considered in terms of an aggression in legal aspect and in execution. The concept of aggression seems more applicable to the events of 1958-59 when agreements on self-government had been cancelled. The consecutive years were a continuous offence against cultural, social and civil rights of an ethnic people within the Chinese state. Starting with the 80s, however, those rights become to be gradually restored to the point that most accusations by the Dharmasala executive turn false or inapplicable to a developing and modernising country. Such are the cases of demographic Hanisation by an influx of the Chinese, of population control or of exploitation of agricultural and pastoral resources to the avail of the Chinese, etc. In fact, there remain some limitations in religious freedom, in education, mostly higher, or in the ethnic parity of the administrative staff both in numbers and responsibility. Nevertheless, they are progressively reduced to the point that the life in Tibet gets close to normal. At the same time there remains a mutual mistrust that has to be dissolved principally by the Chinese themselves in order to reach practical interaction and the participation of the Tibetans in their affairs.

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