The Red Chinese “liberated” Tibet in 1951 and have been there ever since. Recently, nearly three dozen native Tibetans have doused themselves with fuel and set themselves on fire to protest the Chinese occupation. A few who were particularly committed to the bit even drank kerosene prior to striking the match so flames would literally burst forth from their bodies.
In 1963 Buddhist monks burned themselves alive on the streets of Saigon, and the image of them sitting implacably in the lotus position while dying still resonates nearly 50 years later. Many Americans felt our involvement in Vietnam was wrong, and the acts of these monks only served to confirm that feeling.
Unfortunately, the Red Chinese will not be so easily swayed. For one, the Chinese name for Tibet is “western treasure basket.” Tibet contains nearly 40% of China’s mineral resources, including the world’s largest supply of the fuel of the future, uranium. The land is also rich in gold and coal, and according to a study conducted by Chinese demographers in the early 80s, Tibet could provide living space for 100 million Chinese.
To make matters even worse, most of China’s development of Tibet has been financed by the military, and about a quarter of China’s nuclear arsenal is already housed there.
There’s a lot to admire about the Tibetan people and their culture, but unfortunately for them, not every story has a happy ending. The Chinese are throwing off the shackles of socialism just as the West puts them on, and relative to China, we’re getting weaker every day. Since no one’s coming to their aid, hopefully Tibetan resilience will carry them through.