Argument: Tibetan separatists have protested violently and unethically

Issue Report: Tibet independence

Supporting quotes

The three UN resolutions of 1959, 1961, and 1965 condemned human rights violation in Tibet; however, these resolutions were passed at a time when the PRC was not permitted to become a member and of course was not allowed to present its version of events in the region (however, the Republic of China on Taiwan was a member of the UN at the time, and it equally claimed sovereignty over Tibet and opposed Tibetan self-determination). The Tibetologist Grunfeld further notes that:
“ These resolutions served no practical purpose. None even mentioned China by name, nor did they question the legitimacy of Chinese rule in Tibet (the 1961 resolution did regret, in passing, the deprivation of the right to self-determination)—worded, as they were, solely to express regrets over the alleged abuse of “human rights” in Tibet. The UN’s denunciation of those who did not act “reasonably” and “fairly” flew in the face of its own actions of denying the PRC membership during this period. It is hardly surprising that the Chinese government regarded these resolutions with little more than contempt. [31] ” Grunfeld comments in another article about Human Rights Watch focusing attention on the individuals who are indeed victims of human rights abuses: “ ..since this repression is highly selective and not universal, their reports distort the overall picture of what is going on inside Tibet.[27] ” Grunfeld also notes that (for 15 years in the 1960s and 1970s): ” From exile, the Dalai Lama oversaw refugee resettlement and guerrilla warfare—although he officially renounced all violence.[27] ” The Tibetologist Robert Barnett summed up the “human rights” agenda as perceived by China and the developing world and the United Nations unwillingness to condemn China:
“ The unfortunate history of the Tibet issue, used by the Western powers, and by the United States in particular, in the 1950s and 1960s as part of their cold war strategy to destabilize China, has fueled the perception that criticism of Beijing’s role in Tibet is a device raised by westerners to attack China in particular and developing countries in general. This has enabled Beijing to rally support from the developing world and led to the collapse of the last nine attempts at the United Nations to criticize China’s human rights practices.[32] ”

The Chinese government insists that the Tibet question is not about human rights, but about territorial integrity and unity of the State. On 12 April 2008, the Chinese President Hu Jintao told Australia’s Prime Minister Mr Kevin Rudd:
“ Our conflict with the Dalai clique is not an ethnic problem, not a religious problem, nor a human rights problem. It is a problem either to safeguard national unification or to split the motherland.[33] ”

Robert Barnett would concur with President Hu:
“ The Tibetan activists inside Tibet have rarely (until recently) incorporated the issue of human rights in their protests or slogans—the language of human rights is largely a facet of exile rhetoric and Western simplification of the issue. Inside Tibet, the demands raised in wall posters have focused more on independence: rightly or wrongly, that has been to them the central issue.[34] ”

It is about restraining the “splitist” or separatist activities of the Tibet independence forces from within and without China, many of them — especially leaders of the Tibetan Youth Congress which claims 30,000 over members [35]– advocating violence.

Robert Barnett wrote about this danger in 1998:
“ Today some ten thousand Tibetans are members of India’s military forces, soldiers with a special aptitude for high-altitude warfare, posing a threat that China views with some seriousness. Neither is the level of political violence among Tibetans as low as some Western reports would suggest: at least seven bombs exploded in Tibet between 1995 and 1997, one of them laid by a monk, and a significant number of individual Tibetans are known to be actively seeking the taking up of arms; hundreds of Chinese soldiers and police have been beaten during demonstrations in Tibet, and at least one killed in cold blood, probably several more.[29] ” reported on the discovery of weapons subsequent to the riots on March 14, 2008:
“ Police in Lhasa seized more than 100 guns, tens of thousands of bullets, several thousand kilograms of explosives and tens of thousands of detonators, acting on reports from lamas and ordinary people.[35] ”

And on 23 March, 2008, there was a bombing incident in the Qambo prefecture.[36]

To allow the Tibetan independence movement to grow unrestrained will only lead to violent riots or sabotage or secessionist war between the Tibetan separatists and the central government one day. The State representing the collective will and right of its people to prevent and preempt future catastrophe overrides the “human rights” of a small minority of people to foster unlawful independence that is potentially disastrous for all parties.