66 Years and counting – Tibet and China

July 10, 2017 By Robert Barnett, China Policy Institute: Analysis

It is 66 years and counting since the People’s Liberation Army moved into Tibet, and 58 years since the initial surrender pact with the Tibetans collapsed, leading the Dalai Lama to flee to India with 80,000 or more other Tibetans. Those exiles or their descendants are still abroad, and the prospects of any resolution seem as remote as at any time in the last 30 years. Meanwhile, access to Tibet for outsiders remains more restricted than anywhere else in China, most Tibetans are unable to obtain passports and travel abroad, and reports of demonstrations, arrests and suicide protests continue to trickle out.

A conflict of this duration is considered by social scientists to be “intractable”, and most political analysts would probably rate chances of a durable solution at close to zero – after all, China is a rising power, Xi Jinping is clearly not persuaded by notions of rights or liberal values, and the Dalai Lama is in his sunset years. This is true of the immediate conditions, and they do not offer hope. But there are underlying aspects to this issue that make a solution more, not less, feasible.[Source]

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