Originally posted by @deepthought
This happened over a century ago, at a time of different standards for warfare (Britain was busily using starvation as a weapon against the Boers around then). I was ignoring the invasion of Tibet, as that started before I was born. However, since you are determined to rake over history I may as well. The Chinese haven't withdrawn from Tibet. I don't ...[text shortened]... f anywhere the US has maintained overtly coercive forces for so long since the Second World War.
So the hypocritical DeepThought finds it easy to condone American racism and near genocide
against Filipinos. Contrary to his historical ignorance, even around 1900 there were a
significant of white people (including Mark Twain) who recognized that what the USA
was doing in the Philippines was criminal and immoral. So even around 1900 there
were some white people who seem more enlightened than DeepThought is today.
DeepThought shows common Western extreme ignorance or bias regarding Tibetan history.
Tibet has not been recognized as a sovereign country at any time in the 20th century.
(Note to the ignorant: The Republic of China refers to the pre-Communist China before 1949.)
The question of "Is Tibet under China's sovereignty" came up in the context of a dispute
between the Republic of China (then led by Chiang Kai-shek) and the UK, with the USA
as the referee. The UK apparently hoped to detach Tibet from China and add it as a
'protectorate' to the British Empire. (The British had long had imperialistic designs on Tibet.)
Given China's military weakness at the time, the UK presumably would have succeeded
if the UK had been able to persuade the USA to go along with it. But the USA decided
to support China's position (vexing the UK) that Tibet fell under China's sovereignty.
Given that the UK had much more influence than China upon the US government, one
would conclude that the USA made that decision on principle rather than on expedience.
As the successor state to the Republic of China, the People's Republic of China claims
to have inherited sovereignty over Tibet. It would be inconsistent for the USA to recognize
the Republic of China's sovereignty over Tibet in 1949 and deny that the People's Republic
of China (though the USA refused to recognize it until the 1970s) has such sovereignty in 1950.
For some historical context, the Republic of China and the UK had extremely hostile relations
long before and even during the Second World War. The Chinese loathed the British for
their racist arrogance and sometimes brutality in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and other places.
The UK had been allied with Japan until the early 1920s, and some Britons tended to
sympathize with Japan during its practically genocidal invasion of China. (I know of a
right-wing British historian who argues that the UK should have joined Japan in conquering
and dividing China between themselves.) In particular, the British feared and hated
Chinese sympathy for Indian nationalists (who wanted to free India from British rule).
The British wanted the Republic of China to become weak and fail because, if it did not,
then it would encourage Indian nationalists to believe that India could become strong
while free of British 'protection'.
During the Second World War itself, Tibetan nationalists formed an informal alliance with
Japan against their common enemy China. The Japanese sent agents to Tibet to make
contact with Tibetan leaders there. As I recall, the Dalai Lama wrote that, as a youth
he sincerely believed that Japan and Germany were morally right, the innocent victims
of unprovoked aggression by the Allies (including China). The wartime alliance of
Tibetan nationalists with Japan tends to make many Chinese feel toward Tibetan
nationalists much like Russians feel toward Ukrainian nationalists who allied with the Nazis.
Given that China was preoccupied with defending itself against a nearly genocidal invasion
by Japan (the ally of Tibetan nationalists), China was practically unable to assert its sovereignty
over Tibet. That does not mean, however, that China forfeited its sovereignty over Tibet.
During the US Civil War, the US government was unable to assert its sovereignty over
many states, but President Lincoln would have objected strongly if the UK had claimed
that therefore the USA no longer had sovereignty over, say, Texas.
My main point is that China has a reasonable claim to sovereignty over Tibet.
And that claim has been recognized internationally, including by the USA.
Now, as an independent scholar, I don't endorse everything that China has said about or done in Tibet.
The Free Tibet movement (whose propaganda seems eagerly lapped by gullible Westerners)
has a shameless record of falsehoods too. Neither China's government nor the Free Tibet
movement can be trusted to give unbiased factually accurate information about Tibet.
I would add that, for many years, the USA and India strongly supported a Tibetan guerrilla
war against China. The USA and India trained, armed, and even led Tibetan guerrillas into battle.
(Some American officers were killed or captured while leading Tibetans fighting against the PLA.)
In theory, the Tibetan guerrillas had many advantages (including rugged terrain, regular
supplies of modern weapons and equipment, professional training in safe camps abroad).
So why did the Tibetan nationalist fighters lose? One reason was (as the CIA soon
discovered to its dismay) that the Tibetan guerrillas did not get enough popular support.
The CIA began to warn its Tibetan operatives to be extremely wary of trusting Tibetans
because too many of them would quickly inform the Chinese about the Tibetan resistance.
And there were Tibetans (such as members of the Muslim minority who feared persecution
under a Buddhist theocracy) who volunteered to bear arms and fight alongside the PLA.
My point is that the Tibetan nationalist guerrilla war never became a "people's war" in
the sense that Free Tibet propaganda would make it appear to gullible Westerners.
Some, though not all, of China's harshness toward Tibetans in this period may be excused
by the reality that the PLA was fighting to defend a sovereign part of China from foreign
invasion planned and supported by the USA and India. Let's suppose that the USSR
had spent years training Mexican guerrillas to infiltrate into the USA and fight for a free
Hispanic homeland in the southwestern USA. Would anyone be shocked if the USA
enacted harsh measures against members of its ethnic Mexican minority?
What of the future? There are Tibetans who yearn for Tibet to become a Buddhist theocracy
(perhaps 'cleansed' of its Muslim minority), nominally independent though in reality most
likely a poor ward of India. There are other Tibetans, however, who would embrace their future
as equal citizens of the People's Republic of China. And China's government has been
encouraging them, with the media celebrating Tibetans ranging from the first one to earn
a PhD at a Chinese university (and be immediately hired) to volunteers who join mountain
warfare units in the PLA. China has no laws discriminating against Tibetans because of
their ethnicity. Most Chinese respect and welcome all Tibetans who make efforts to learn
Chinese and pursue lives as Chinese citizens.
I hope that an honest accounting can be made of the tragic past, with apologies or reparations
when called for. (My position goes beyond what China's government is ready for today.)
I also hope that Tibetan people can join many other diverse peoples in leading fulfilling
lives as equal citizens of China, with appropriate freedom of cultural autonomy.
I see no reason why a nominally independent Buddhist theocracy in Tibet should be the
only good outcome. I expect that it will be extremely painful for Free Tibet nationalists and
their Western supporters to concede that reality's not what their propaganda has long claimed.