Ketsun Lobsang Dondup. “Independence as Tibet’s Only Option: Why the ‘Middle Path’ is a Dead End”. January 25, 2007 – “China also has deep structural problems such as an inflexible political system, growing economic inequality, rampant corruption and pollution, spreading protests and disorder, and unstable nationalism directed against Taiwan, Japan, and the U.S. As Professor Samuel Huntington explained in his classic, Political Order in Changing Societies, economic growth and the mobilization of new social forces combined with inflexible politics often leads to disorder. Tibet’s best hope lies in being able to use the East Timor model to exploit disorder in China to regain independence.
Historically, Tibet has used this model at least once before. When Tibetans speak of the Chinese invasion of Tibet, we usually mean the 1950 invasion; we often overlook the invasion 40 years prior. When China under the Manchu Qing dynasty invaded Tibet in 1910, the 13th Dalai Lama was forced into exile and Manchu troops occupied Lhasa. It was largely thanks to the collapse of the empire that the Dalai Lama was able to expel the Manchu forces, return to Tibet, and reassert Tibetan independence. Similarly, as Wang Lixiong notes about the current situation in Tibet,
“it is only the military stationed in Tibet that keeps the separatists from shaking Chinese sovereignty. But the test of stable sovereignty is often not stability on normal terms, but rather at particular historic times. The military role in sovereignty is only like a rope, which can tie Tibet to China, but cannot keep our bloodlines together over the long term. In peacetime, the rope is firm and unbreakable, but once a special juncture is reached, the rope can become unbearably weak.”
The best hope for Tibet is that China will come to a ‘special juncture’ of internal crisis and instability. In this instance, Chinese leaders would feel that their resources should be used firstly to fight instability in China itself, and that it is not worth holding on to problematic Tibet. This is how other empires have unravelled, and there is no reason why China should be different. This outcome is dependent, however, on Tibetans having kept our independence claim alive and causing enough problems for the Chinese regime that it is forced to make a choice.”