The Magazine

In Tibet to Stay

China builds a spiffy police state.

Jul 28, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 43 • By MAX BOOT
Widget tooltip
Audio version Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

The Tibetans know they are second-class citizens in a country not their own—they have a separate language, history, and religion from those of the Han Chinese, even if they were ruled by Chinese dynasties for part of their long history. Their fate is all the more bitter in that, unlike other Chinese, they are denied the right to travel freely abroad, and they must deal with the often rude and condescending attitudes of Chinese newcomers who act like colonialists anywhere. As the State Department’s report further noted: “There was a perception among Tibetans that authorities systemically targeted them for political repression, economic marginalization, and cultural assimilation, as well as educational and employment discrimination.”

The prospect of real freedom for Tibet seems ever more remote—it will become thinkable only if China itself has a change of regime to become as democratic as Taiwan. Even local autonomy under China’s imperial oversight, as advocated by the dalai lama, seems unlikely. The level of Chinese investment in Tibet makes clear Big Brother is here to stay. The best that Tibetans can hope for is a bit more breathing room inside their gilded cage.

Max Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 20 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers