No Way is Tibet a Democracy in Exile!

I read a misleading post at Global Voices that was titled China and Tibet: Democracy in Exile. My first thought was, “When was Tibet ever a Democracy?”

Let’s see, how did the United States become a Republic? The answer is simple: the American colonists rebelled against the British Empire and fought the American Revolution 1775 – 1783.  There was the Declaration of Independence and then there was the US Constitution followed by twenty-seven ratified amendments. The 27th Amendment was enacted on May 7, 1992, but was proposed September 25, 1789. It only took two-hundred and three years for approval. Wow!

Tibet does not have a similar history. The only thing that is similar is that some Tibetans took part in an uprising against the CCP, and they lost. The same thing could have happened in America from 1775 to 1783. If  the colonists had lost, a reluctant US might still be ruled by the UK.

In fact, it doesn’t matter what the Richard Geres of  the world say or want us to believe—Tibet has never been a republic or a democracy.

Here’s what the Global Voices author said in the first sentence, “Being a Tibetan in exile is a loss that manifests in many forms: the loss of homeland and natural rights fall within that.”

What were the natural rights that were lost?

Most Tibetans in exile (represented by about 1% of the total Tibetan population) gave up land and thousands of serfs who were treated no better than slaves. What was lost were positions of power and wealth.

Before 1950, when Mao’s Red army reoccupied Tibet for China, there had been no democracy or republic in Tibet – ever.

The following quotes show us what Tibet was like before 1950.

“Lamaism is the state religion of Tibet and its power in the Hermit Country is tremendous. Religion dominated every phase of life. … For instance, in a family of four sons, at least two, generally three, of them must be Lamas. Property and family prestige also naturally go with the Lamas to the monastery in which they are inmates.

“Keeping the common people or laymen, in ignorance is another means of maintaining the power of the Lamas. Nearly all of the laymen (serfs) are illiterate. Lamas are the only people who are taught to read and write.”  Source: October 1912 National Geographic Magazine, page 979.

I’m sure that under Lamaism, there was no freedom of religion, no freedom of speech, and the people did not vote.  Need I saw more?

Between 1912—when those words appeared in National Geographic—and 1950, Tibet did not change, because it stayed the same as it had been for centuries. The only difference was that there was no Chinese governor in Tibet appointed by the Emperor and supported by Chinese troops.

What we have in Global Voices is clever manipulation to elicit support for the Tibetan separatist movement.

There’s nothing wrong with supporting a separatist movement. After all, there are at least eight known and active separatist movements in the United States: the Alaska Independence Party; Hawaiian sovereignty movement; Lakotah Oyate; Puerto Rico Independence Party; League of the South; Texas Secession Movement; Second Vermont Republic and the Cascadia Independence Movement.

In addition, Tibetans have the same odds to be free from China as Hawaiians and the Lakota Sioux have of being free of the United States.

It is a fact that a reluctant Tibet was ruled over by the Yuan (Mongol), Ming (Han) and Qing (Manchu) Dynasties from 1277 to 1913, when Great Britain convinced Tibet to break from China at the same time the Qing Dynasty was collapsing.

Discover Why Tibet?


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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4 Responses to No Way is Tibet a Democracy in Exile!

  1. amdowas says:

    communist sympathizers, under communist watch.

    • Who sympathizes with the Communists? That’s like saying someone in America is either a sympathizer of the US Democratic party or the Republican Party. Forty-six percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in June 2014, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 24%, the lowest over that time span. The Democratic Party’s membership has been stable for the last four years at 28%.

      Let’s see how many of China’s 1.4 billion people belong the Communist Party. There are about 78 million members in the CCP and that’s about 0.55714 percent of the total. The CCP is one political party that rules China just like in the US, the government is ruled by two parties: the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, and the two US political parties are at each others throats all the time.

      The result: Poverty in the US is higher today than it has been in fifty years at more than 15 percent of the population. The U.S. also has the worst health care system and the most children living in poverty—16+ million—in the developed world. In addition, the U.S. has the largest prison population on the earth and China is #2 with half as many in prison but more than four times the population.

      What about poverty in China? The world bank reports that China is widely recognized for its achievements in reducing absolute poverty since the adoption of a broad program of rural economic reforms beginning in 1978. Based on the government’s austere rural poverty line, official estimates indicate that poverty declined from more than 30 percent of the rural population in 1978 to less than 5 percent by end-1998. The Chinese government has a strong commitment to poverty reduction, and the scale and funding of its poverty reduction program, and the sustained dramatic reduction of absolute poverty over the last twenty years of reform, are exemplary by any standards.

      And has the standard of living improved in Tibet since the Dalai Lama has been gone? Yes. The average life expectancy in Tibet was 35 years in 1950. Today it is sixty-seven years. If you want to learn what life was like in Tibet before 1950, I suggest you read the October 1912 issue of The National Geographic Magazine. I bought my copy on e-bay.

  2. says:


    Thank you for clarifying the history of Tibet; Western media has really muddied the history of Tibet.


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