Tibet is a country located north of the Himalayas. It is home to the indigenous Tibetan people, and to some other ethnic groups such as Monpas and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han Chinese people. Tibet is the highest region on earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 meters (16,000 ft). It is sometimes referred to as the roof of the world.
- 1 History
- 2 Military
- 3 Economy
- 4 Culture
- 5 Foreign Relations
Before Doomsday Tibet was an autonomous region in China and was called the Tibet Autonomous Region or TAR. Autonomy provided that head of government would be an ethnic Tibetan; however, de facto power in the TAR was held by the First Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee of the Chinese Communist Party who had never been a Tibetan. The role of ethnic Tibetans in the higher levels of the TAR Communist Party remains very limited. Since 1979 there had been an economic but not a political reform. Some PRC policies in Tibet had been described as moderate, while others were judged to be more oppressive. Most religious freedoms had been officially restored, provided that the lamas did not challenge PRC rule, renounced the Dalai Lama, and stayed within dictated confines. Foreigners could visit most parts of Tibet, but it was suspected that the less savoury aspects of PRC rule were kept hidden from visitors. Foreign visitors are often subject to harassment by police.
The immediate effect of Doomsday was the destruction of Lhasa by a Soviet nuclear warhead, destroying the TAR leadership. However, since there were no other missile attacks on Tibet, the people of Tibet fared the storm of Doomsday far better than their Chinese comrades to the east. The capital of the TAR was moved to Shigatse and Tibetans focused on surviving and waiting for any indication of the survival of the PRC.
Rebuilding and the proclamation of the Tibetan monarchy (1984-1985)
Three months passed, and by the beginning of 1984 there came the realization that they were on their own now. Refugees from the east reported that China had fallen into anarchy and there was no government control throughout any of the country. Hearing of this, the Tibetans quickly sent scouts to India to bring the Dalai Lama back to his rightful throne, and on the 15th of March 1984 the Tibetan monarchy was proclaimed, with the Dalai Lama as head of state and the Tibetan Parliament as his council. The Tibetans mostly focused on agriculture for survival and also focused on internal problems.
Chengdu military district crisis (1985-1988)
The Tibetans also faced another problem in dealing with the remnants of the Chinese army stationed in the Chengdu military region, headed by Fu Qanyou. The military had 180,000 men, with four motorised infantry divisions, one artillery division, two armoured brigades, one artillery brigade, and two anti-aircraft brigades and ever since Doomsday they denounced the Tibetan proclamation of independence and Fu acted on his on the first few years, severing all communication with the Tibetans starting a cold war between him and government in Shigatse. However, by March of 1985, Fu realized he could not sustain his men without adequate food and shelter, so he turned to the Tibetan monarchy, intending to conquer it. The Dalai Lama, still believing that Fu could be reasoned with, sent an envoy to formulate an arrangement that would be beneficial to both parties. When the envoy did not return, the Dalai Lama realized the graveness of the situation and started organizing Tibet's defences. All the Tibetans had to defend themselves with were the weapons they acquired from the remnants of the Chinese forces who joined the monarchy and the tactical advantage of high ground and narrow mountain passes which would serve as the main points of resistance. Fu attacked in June, expecting a swift victory in just under three months. But this was not the case.
Fu underestimated the Tibetans strong will and fighting continued for the next three years, until finally, Fu accepted the Dalai Lama's generous peace agreement. 'The Treaty of Tsetang' was a simple arrangement between two bitter enemies willing to compromise in a harsh world. Tibet would provide supplies for Fu and he would in turn recognize the new government and defend its borders.
The Himalayan war (October 22,1988-June 6, 1989)
Even though peace seemed assured, tensions started to build in the Himalayas. In 1986, the nearby Bhutan began evicting an ethnic group known as the Lhotsampa, who are related to the Nepali. Most of the Lhotsampa went to Nepal, while others found safe haven in India and Tibet. A solution had not been found for nearly two years, despite the Dalai Lama's best efforts. On October 22, 1988 Nepal declared war on Bhutan. This worried the Tibetan government, fearing conflict would engulf the monarchy, but it still offered humanitarian aid and proclaimed its neutrality in the matter. It sympathized with the evicted Lhotsampa people, but felt that Nepal was too strong a foe and that it would overrun Bhutan. The war officially ended on June 6, 1989 after Nepal occupied Bhutan.
Interwar period & and the resuming of hostilities
The interwar period was marked by a generally cold relationship with Nepal because of their occupation of Bhutan and with political squabbles over whether staying neutral was still a good move. Until 1997, an uneasy peace was held. Unexpectedly, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the king of Bhutan died of natural causes. People, not believing he died of natural causes, started forming resistance groups in Bhutan, and both the Parliament and the Dalai Lama decided that it was time to act. It started supplying the rebels, openly entering conflict with the Nepalese on February 7,1998. Using old Chinese military equipment and new weapons purchased from the USSR, the Tibetans and their allies, the Bhutanese, decisively won the Battle of Kathmandu in 2004.
Peace for our time
The peace won in 2004 continuous to the present day and diplomatic relations have been re-established with the Nepalese but they are cordial at best. On 17 December 2008, the Dalai Lama announced his handing over of power to the parliament, stating: "I have grown old.... It is better if I retire completely and get out of the way of the Tibetan government."
The military of Tibet or the Tibetan armed forces (TAF), has retained a lot of old Chinese equipment and tries to maintain it as best as it can. New weapons are being purchased from the USSR but this is not done very often. Vehicles are not generally used because of the lack of available fuel. Conscription is mandatory and all able-bodied men between the ages of 18-21 are required to receive basic training and serve in the military for a year. Currently, the number of Tibetan soldiers does not exceed 200,000 men.
The Tibetan air force consists of the former Chinese 33rd and 44th Fighter Division, now renamed the 1st and 2nd Fighter division which are grounded 90% of the time because of the strict policies in oil consumption.
Tibet is a landlocked country and does not have a navy.
The Tibetan economy consists of subsistence agriculture, or the growing of enough food to live off of. There is very little arable land available and the main crops grown are barley, wheat, buckwheat, rye, potatoes and assorted fruits and vegetables. Livestock are also raised, mainly in the Tibetan Plateau, among them are sheep, cattle, goals, camels, yaks and horses. Many of these livestock are raised by nomadic tribes in the region.
The industry that brings in the most income is that of handicrafts. These include Tibetan hats, jewelry (silver and gold), wooden items, clothing, quilts, fabrics and carpets. Another branch of the economy that has been steadily rising since Doomsday is tourism with tourist staying mostly in Xihaze and the Mount Everest base camp.
Without the People's Republic suppressing the Tibetans, the Tibetans have seen an explosion of culture as they return to their roots. Tibetan cuisine, often including yak, butter, cheese, and mustard seed have become the staple food of the Tibetans. Chhaang is the primary alcoholic beverage consumed in Tibet, and has become a popular export in the past years.
Music and Literature
The music of Tibet reflects the cultural heritage of the country. First and foremost Tibetan music is religious music, reflecting the profound influence of Tibetan Buddhism on the culture, often involving chanting. Tibetan popular singers are known for their strong vocal abilities, which are attributed to the high altitude of the Tibetan Plateau.
There is a rich ancient tradition of lay Tibetan literature which includes epics, poetry, short stories, dance scripts and mime. Tibetan literature has a historical span of over 1300 years. Perhaps the most known Tibetan literary works are epic stories - particularly the famous Gesar epic.
The Monarchy of Tibet maintains friendly relations with the neighbouring Indian Union Interim Government and with Siberia who are here main trading partners. Both have embassies in Tibet and the government is in talks with the WCRB to establish an outpost in Tibet. Bhutan is a steadfast ally of Tibet and trade is frequent. Currently, there is a dispute between Pakistan and Tibet over the region of Kashmir which Pakistan invaded in 1992. Diplomats from both sides are trying to resolve the matter peacefully.
It works closely to find a solution to the lawlessness of China and other regions close-by with its neighbour Siberia, with which it has numerous bilateral trade and defense agreements.