The Free Tibet Movement is about Campaigning for Human Rights
Tibetans are currently in a dire state. They are being culturally, economically and politically oppressed by the Chinese government. The Tibetans are prevented from practicing their religion, living their traditional lifestyle, and engaging in politics. As a result, their culture is at risk. Their basic human rights are being violated and they live in a state of fear. The Free Tibet movement was created to bring awareness to the human rights violations and end the Chinese occupation of Tibet.
Prior to 1949, Tibet existed as an ethnically, linguistically, culturally and religiously distinct independent state. This changed in 1949 when the People’s Liberation Army invaded Tibet in a surprising and unprovoked attack. The Chinese government claimed the invasion was to liberate the Tibetans from their current militaristic regime, yet they failed to improve conditions for them. The Tibetans responded to this attack by creating a political movement across the country aimed at receiving autonomy from the Chinese government. The Chinese government responded to this movement with cruelty and violence.
The Chinese government is oppressing the Tibetans and violating their basic human rights. The Tibetans are not allowed access to appropriate education and over half the country is illiterate. They do not have adequate healthcare and the majority of Tibetans currently live in a state of poverty. Their traditional nomadic lifestyle was disrupted when the Chinese government started a relocation program to relocate Tibetan nomads. Not only did this stop the nomads from living their traditional lifestyle, but that lifestyle was the way the nomads provided for themselves and relocation threw many more into poverty.
The Tibetans are prevented from practicing religion, which is an integral part of their culture. Currently, the Chinese government has destroyed over 6,000 monasteries and religious practices, ceremonies and icons are currently illegal. Tibetans are also prevented from any sort of political protest. Violating these rules results in swift and cruel punishment by the Chinese government. They use torture to control the Tibetans and enforce their laws. Prisoners are beaten, submerged in sewage, shocked, and put in labor camps. To date, over 1.2 million Tibetans have been murdered and the United Nations has labeled this killing as a genocide. The Tibetans live in a state of constant fear.
Since the Chinese occupation of Tibet, the Chinese have continually controlled the vast natural resources Tibet has to offer. China is not only controlling the agriculture, but it is also utilizing Tibet’s copper, iron and zinc to fuel its own growing country. They have depleted the forests in Tibet and many indigenous creatures are endangered as a result. China has stated that the increased use of natural resources has strengthened the Tibetan economy and provided many jobs, yet the jobs are given to the Chinese immigrants in order to strengthen China’s economy, and the Tibetans are often left unemployed. The Chinese government is concerned with utilizing the Tibetan land for Chinese colonization, rather than allowing for uses that would benefit the Tibetans. The Tibetans are unable to utilize their own land and resources as a source of economic income and have no say in how these resources are used. This form of oppression has led to poverty, unemployment and stunted economic growth.
The conditions the Tibetans are suffering are deplorable. The Chinese are denying the Tibetans their basic human rights. They are not allowed to live their traditional lifestyle, practice their culture or religion, or make any sort of protest without fear of torture and death. The Free Tibet movement is aimed at bringing an end to these violations by ending the Chinese occupation of Tibet. The movement aims at using peaceful action to allow the Tibetans to gain independence, practice their religion, and embrace their culture freely. At its core, the Free Tibet movement is about peacefully campaigning for the freedom of the Tibetans.