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Why Tibetans are joining the PLA

August 05, 2021 07:22 IST
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'Tibetans don't have jobs, and the military provides a job offer.'
'But the issue is whether China really trusts Tibetans.'

IMAGE: The Potala Palace, centre, can be seen beyond construction cranes on in Lhasa. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

"China has no authority in dealing with the incarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It will be decided by His Holiness and the committee in his office in Dharamsala," Tenzin Lekshay, spokesman for the Tibetan Government in Exile, tells's Archana Masih.


China has brought in plenty of development into Tibet, how has that been received by Tibetans?
Since His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been away from Tibet for over 62 years, do Tibetans in Tibet revere him in the same way as Tibetans in India and abroad?

Obviously, they do. In the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, over a million Tibetans died as a direct consequence of China's rule by force. More than 6,000 monasteries were destroyed.

China introduced economic liberalisation in Tibet and when they did that the Tibetan people asked for freedom. As a result, China again brought in hardline policies along with development.

They tried making Tibet into a living museum. They rebuilt and renovated the ruins of the monasteries to show to the world that everything is fine and beautiful in Tibet.

Villages are being changed into towns, town into cities. They have colonised Tibet. They have made Tibetan towns and cities into Chinese towns and cities by pushing as many Chinese into Tibet.

There is a serious demographic shift in Tibet which has changed the demographic landscape of Tibet. Previously there was a genocide, now there is a cultural genocide.

They have changed every aspect of life -- including the names of towns, streets -- but this is not working. The Tibetans have become more resilient.

Since 2009 more than 150 people have self-immolated themselves calling his Holiness to return to Tibet. Young Tibetans born and living under the Chinese regime have never got the chance to listen to His Holiness, but they can sacrifice their lives for their spiritual leader.

That is the reverence they have for his Holiness.

IMAGE: A view of a new town, Linzhi, in Tibet Autonomous Region, China. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The PLA is known to be conducting recruitment drives in Tibet. Will this not jeopardise the Tibetan movement?

China has occupied Tibet since the 1950s. Since the Sino-Indian war, it is an open secret that India has the Special Frontier Force comprising Tibetans which also took part in action in Ladakh last year.

China could not recruit Tibetans for 60 years because of a trust deficit. Now there are more Chinese settling in Tibet who are more prosperous than Tibetans.

The Tibetans don't have jobs, and the military provides a job offer. It provides livelihood. But the issue is whether China really trusts Tibetans.

China has its western command in Tibet. They face difficulties in maintaining troops because of the altitude.

They have recruited Tibetans, but the numbers will be very insignificant because our populations is less.

How are Tibetans going to prepare for life after the present Dalai Lama who has such acceptability, authority and goodwill all over the world? How is the Tibetan leadership preparing for life ahead?

This is the 14th Dalai Lama, the 14th incarnation. The great 14th Dalai Lama has international fame.

We have a tradition of seeking reincarnation. His Holiness has made it very clear it is about service to humanity.

If the Tibetan people wish, he will be born again, but he will be born again in a traditional manner and will not be used for political gain.

The Chinese leadership is very interested in the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. Why do they have such interest in the reincarnation when they have no respect for His Holiness?

Why is a party that doesn't believe in religion and considers it as poison so interested in a person whom they don't trust?

In 2011, His Holiness said the reincarnation will be his own choice. China has no authority in dealing with the incarnation of the Dalai Lama. It will be decided by His Holiness and the committee in his office in Dharamsala.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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