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Foreign Policy Analysis
Is Tibet a Country?

Is Tibet a Country?

Tibet is a place that, throughout history, has always somehow remained isolated. Tall mountains and harsh climate have guarded this place from Intruders for hundreds of years. and kept the land mystery for most. But, over the course of the last century, and even into the 21st century this region has gone through some drastic political changes. and this has led to a lot of confusion about Tibet. Some people call it a country, others an autonomous zone. Some people want to free it while others want to, well, the exact the opposite. So, what’s going on here? Is Tibet a country? Well, first things first, let’s look at a definition of country. Most simply, a country is a nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory. In this definition I see three criteria and I want to look at each one individually. Let’s start with the last part: occupying a particular territory. Tibet can be found here in a region unsurprisingly named the Tibetan plateau in more or less the dead center of Asia found within the borders of China. This is by far the highest region on the planet in terms of altitude as it contains the entire Himalayan mountain range and has an average elevation above 4,900 meters! Here are some of the world’s tallest mountains including the tallest on earth – Mt. Everest But the Tibetan plateau is more of a geographic determination rather than a political one so we need to go a little deeper. And not everyone can agree on the extent of Tibet But it began looking something like this in 618 CE, when Songsten Gampo united the Yarlung River Valley creating the first Tibetan Empire. It’s reported, too, that he also brought Buddhism to Tibet. Under Gampo Tibet came to control the Kingdom of Nepal through a marriage and then the Kingdom of Zhangzhung through a failed marriage and then conquest. At its greatest extent, around the year 780, the Tibetan Empire looked something like this. At this point the Tibetan Empire encompassed nearly 4 million square kilometers! This today would be the 7th largest country in the world – right under Australia, and roughly the same size as India and Pakistan combined. But, as many empires have learned before and since, you can’t get that big without a few people wanting to take some land for themselves. Soon, the Chinese came in from the East to reclaim much of their lost territory. The Turkic Uyghurs to the North helped the Chinese in this struggle, and even the Arabs to the far West of the Empire started to invade as well. While these invasions did shrink AND weaken the Empire, they did NOT totally destroy it. Finally, Tibet ended up looking something like this. Within this there were three major regions: There’s Amdo and Kham, which are more or less equal in size And what’s left is Ü-Tsang, the largest of the three However, Amdo gradually split away and integrated more into China. Culturally it’s still Tibetan, but when talking about Tibet as a possible country it’s not really included. Parts of Kham also fall under this designation. For our purposes, Tibet will include all of Ü-Tsang And about a half of Kham, as this is the area China defines as the Tibet Autonomous Region. And that’s for the most part what people are fighting to free. So, with this definition, Tibet is over 1,200,000 square kilometers or, in other words, Tibet is just a little bigger than the country of South Africa and just a little smaller than the country of Mali. That would make Tibet potentially the 25th largest country in the world. Despite most of China being densely populated, Tibet has a population of only around 3 million people. That means there’s only two and a half people for every square kilometer. If you need something to compare that to, China as a whole hosts 145 people per square kilometer Yeah, Tibet is basically China’s Alaska. Mountainous, out of the way, and sparsely populated. But, there you go. We have a “particular territory.” Now let’s look at the first part: a Nation This might be confusing for some because, to many, a nation is synonymous with a country. But, to get technical, a nation is any large aggregate of people inhabiting a particular territory, united by a common descent, history, culture, or language. Ok, yeah, so it’s pretty similar but what matters is this part: united by something they all have in common. First up, 90% of the Tibet Autonomous Region are ethnically Tibetan rather than Han Chinese, who make up the vast majority of people in the rest of China Descent: check! This alone is enough, but let’s take a look at the others anyway. Next, being under the Tibetan empire for so long has given the region much the same story. So, History: check! Life here is dominated by Tibetan Buddhism and surviving the elements So, Culture: check! And people here for the most part speak the same language, Tibetan: another check. So yeah, Tibet is definitely a nation. Alright, all Tibet needs now is its own government and here’s where the issue begins. The first thing you need to know is that in 1642 the highest monk in the school of Tibetan Buddhism declared himself the ruler of Tibet. This monk’s title became the Dalai Lama and ever since, whoever holds this title is recognized as the ruler of Tibet by the people who live here. This type of rule, where people of religious significance control the land is called a theocracy and does count as government. Since 1642, the Dalai Lama continued to govern, even while briefly under the administration of the Qing dynasty of China. And the Dalai Lama’s rule lasted until the 1950’s. Until this point, it’s fair to say that Tibet was an independent country. You can see on maps from this time, which clearly show Tibet as separate from anything else. But then China went through a civil war and a Communist revolution All of a sudden, China’s priorities changed. The new People’s Republic of China came to Tibet and negotiated with the 14th Dalai Lama In what’s called the 17-point Agreement the Dalai Lama affirmed China’s control over Tibet while still sparing it some autonomy. Soon after, the Dalai Lama was forced into exile by the Chinese government and he now lives in India But still, to this day, the Dalai Lama, the person everyone in Tibet accepts as their leader, believes that Tibet should be a part of China. But what he calls for is more freedom for Tibet to run its own affairs. In an attempt to assimilate Tibet into Chinese culture, all religion was heavily restricted and over 6,000 monasteries were destroyed, effectively erasing much of the Tibetan culture and history. China claims to be an atheist society, so religion isn’t really tolerated and shrines, or even just pictures, of the Dalai Lama can result in arrests or worse. While in India, however, the Dalai Lama established what’s called the Government-in-exile. They try to maintain influence on the region from the outside, but China’s power has only increased since then. In 1962, China briefly fought a war with India and mobilized military forces into Tibet to defend the border, establishing serious military presence in the region and redoubling Tibet’s importance in guarding China’s southwestern border Then, in 2007, large mineral deposits in Tibet were reported estimated to have a value of around $128 billion dollars. This deposit could double China’s store of valuable metals like copper, lead, and zinc This would mean that China would no longer depend on other nations for these raw materials, needed for manufacturing. So, due to Tibet’s strategic military position and resource richness, China is unlikely to loosen its grip on the region anytime soon. What this means is that, in terms of government, the Chinese definitely control Tibet so our third requirement is not met. Tibet is not a country, despite what many people might think And unlikely to be come one as China’s military capabilities and global influence only increase. Before I end, however, I just want to say that isn’t to say that Tibet shouldn’t be a country This video isn’t about my opinion, I’m just trying to present the facts. The Chinese government has committed some atrocities in Tibet since gaining control, and if you want to know more about why people continue to fight to free Tibet, as someone from Tibet. They’ll be able to answer your questions way better than I ever could. That being said, I hope you enjoyed this video and if you have anything to say, please bring it up in the comments. Other than that, please like this video. You already watched the whole thing so you might as well, and if you haven’t already, why not subscribe? That’s it for me this week, I’ll be back soon with another video. Thanks.

100 comments on “Is Tibet a Country?

  1. I wish n pray with all my heart for Tibet to be freed from hand of oppressor China. Sad due to choice Dalai Lama to compromise with China, Tibetan had to loose freedom

  2. #FreeTibet – Boycott Chinese produce world over. They want to swallow the whole of pacific, Asean, colonize Africa, Balochistan. Only a dead communist is a good communist. BOYCOTT CHIENSE PRODUCE, make them in your own countries. They killed 1.6 million in Tibet, peaceful 15000 Tibetans did self-immolation for attracting world's attention and help. None did.
    Others commenting on their local territories and history – PLEASE that can wait. At least you arent ruled by poisonous fascists socialists, and communists.. Plz HELP TIBET GET FREEDOM, they are some of loveliest people on earth – ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS – BOYCOTT "MADE IN CHINA"

  3. Ofcourse Tibet was a country since centuries. Now under occupation by china brutal force, till to get freedom. Infact bigger than china which was part of tibet.

  4. Tibet was a free and sovereign nation until China annexed it. Tibet must be freed from the Chinese invaders and oppression.

  5. 200 years later some one will be talking "Is China a Country" …Humans keep fighting like ants for territories while nature laughs at the paucity of time we actually have on this planet

  6. Every Tibetan (who used to be slave masters and feudal lords under theocracy, which is like 1% of the population) wants independent from China.

    If you actually talked to an average Tibetan in Tibet (which I have), not in India or Nepal, you will realize most of them are happy where they are right now. Who would fight against a government which brought them from extreme poverty into modern society anyway? As an ethnic Han and an atheist I had several Tibetan classmates in university and they are just like one of us, friendly, smart, and kind. They are also free to practice their religion, nobody is against that.

    Atlas Pro I liked most of your other videos but this one is very, VERY wrong. Go to the actual Tibet and see for yourself.

  7. Really bro? I used to think its an ideal channel but you really think mount everest and 4800m mountains lies in tibet? Get some knowledge about it. It all lies in Nepal


  9. @atlas pro I know I am about a year late. I have just subscribed to your channel. I wanted to clarify that Tibet's history is not so straight forward. A little digging around about kham-minyag or as the Chinese call it 'western xia' will reveal much about Tibet's relationship with China. Yes the theocracy was established under the Dalai Lama. But it would not have been possible without the patronage conferred by the Yuan Dynasty simply because until then the karmapa of the karma kargyu sect was considered the most powerful religious leader. The influence of the karmapa can be seen in Sikkim which was invaded and is still under occupation by India in 1975. You can look up articles on Sikkim at for a bit more of the true history of the kingdom rather than the 'official' version offered by the government of India. The geostrategic importance of Tibet be it for the Chinese or any other power is indisputable. What is up for argument is whether Tibet has a truly unique history and heritage vis a vis China.

  10. I'm from Uttarakhand state (INDIA)
    We support Independent Tibet.
    Tibetian and Uttarakhand culture is very similar…

  11. Hey wait ,Did you Said That Nepal was Under Tibetan Plateau? You Must Know the Sharpness Of Gurkha Weapon , Khukuri and Asshole that was Nepalese Princesses Who was Married with Songtsen Gampo who Promote Buddhism In Tibet along with Gampo’s Another Wife From China . Don’t Give Fake News to people .

  12. #FreeTibet
    There are Human Rights Violations in Chinese Occupied Tibet.
    People are threatened and are killed by China.

  13. of course Tibet is a country swallowed into the Chinese Belly as the Chinese are never satisfied with what they have- They always want to swallow more and more- Look at them threatening anyone. If someone steals they need to be punished and force to give what they have stolen back to the owners. China ought to hand over Tibet to Tibetans and Xinjiang to the Unghurs. Instead they are running mass camps to brainwash them.

  14. Yes,100%.because tibet has its own language ,culture,religion, what do we need more for proof for question i.e tibet a country?.every countries have language , culture etc.illegal occupy by communist come potala Palace residance of h.h.dalai knows tibet belongs to potala Palace is belongs 2 shizimping.what a foolish question who ask.

  15. Mongoloid = Kazakhstan, China, Tibet, Bhutan
    Persian = india, Bangladesh, Srilanka
    MIXING = Afghanistan, Nepal, Russia,Turkey

  16. wow, sudden jump to the 14th dalai… skipping over the bullshit with the English and the 11th and 12th dalai are we? ignoring the BS with the McMahon line are we? nice literally "white"washing history "i'm just trying to present the facts."

  17. Everyone in the world knows CCP is bullying Tibet, Hongkong, Taiwan, and Xingchang. But no one likes to see these countries or peoples in peace and happy because the world in today's context love Chinese economy. The world is no longer a free place for everyone to live. It is sold and bought by those who have money and who want money. The rest are treated as animals to extinct so that those two category peoples of above could do their business…..
    I always pray for all the religion's god and nature to finish this earth in order to bring equality to everyone. There won't be any fairness and justice until the world ends.

  18. hey atlas pro, if you do this again the ccp will kill you . on the other hand if you edit this video to recognize tibet as chinese territory, the ccp will donate 3 million dollars to your channel.

  19. Watching this video gives me goosebumps cause I’m Tibetan n I’m was very happy that someone knows this deep about my country n made a video. Thank u so much!

  20. Tibet is a nation, and Amdo are most proud Tibetan I have ever met. So, you’re wrong on this. You need to do more study before you make any video on Tibet.

  21. No matter how u explain it.. china wont acknowledge unless if they can benefit to it.. china has and always have issues with regards to territories to her neighbors.. like India Kazahkstan Mongolia Japan Vietnam korea Nepal Myanmar Philippines even Taiwan.. if only these countries will unite.. this invasive Chinese Nation well get what is due to them

  22. So most of the multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic, country isn't a nation? 🤣🤣🤣 So India, Nepal, US and other democratic countries are not even a nation? C'mon man.

  23. Looking at the map you have shown of tibet… they never had north east indian territory under their control.. lol use better maps.. ahom empire was a free hindu empire and you have shown it under Tibet

  24. Fuck ya imbecils with fucking robotic voice. And fuck all imbecils in world whos accepted this human mental zombification acustic shit.

  25. The answer is that China is an imperialist power, one that controls what is, currently, a very substantially consolidated Empire. The descendants of most of the conquered peoples now consider themselves to be Han. Though some native populations of Chinese-controlled regions to the west of China proper seem to still resist Hanicization, it must be expected that the Beijing will provide explanations sufficient to secure effective consolidation.

  26. China has invaded, as usual. I'm for independence of Tibet, because Tibetans have had their own distinct culture, and now it's being trashed by Modern Chinese culture.
    The only things China did to Tibet were building the roads and infrastructure, and that's one of the only pros.

  27. Why just do not talk the salvery in tibet before 1950, the monk who you call lama believe in evil religion, they worship monster and devil gods, they use fresh human bloods and bones to make magical tools, and even more , there are a lot of terrible and brutal torture punishment for their people.

  28. Tibet a free and Sovereign country invaded and occupied by Communist China. Soon Tibet will get free and get a Democratic Govt💪💪💪💪

  29. Technically the US doesn't really fit the definition of a nation then, because the people aren't united by any particular descent, history, culture, or language. It's a country of immigrants for the most part. Yes, we primarily speak English, but the national language isn't English. There is none. As for culture, descent, and history, it varies. Culturally, the US is a melting pot. It is a mix of many cultures, and it's like that because of the people who all descend from different places. So really those four factors don't really unite us. What really unites the country is the lack of commonality between each individual

  30. is the u.s.a is a country? .no,it not
    first .a Nation ,? no . Most of them are from England.reatern than the American Indian.them kill most of the American indian.
    second.have its History? no. LOL the USA have no history.
    third ,have its Culture? no. It's the British Culture.
    please .there have no USA. please.give back the land to the American indian. You are a liar

  31. Ok…what if I told you ever since 18th century in Qing dynasty, the reincarnation of every important lama, including dalai lama of course, had to be determined by the Golden Urn under the control of central government of Qing in Beijing..So its been like an autonomous province since 1800….

  32. You may be an expert in geography, but you are a total novice when it comes to history. In this video, you did not talk about the relationship between China and Tibet in history and you made it sound like the two had nothing to do with each other before Communist Party took over. This is ridiculous misinformation.

  33. You may be an expert in geography, but you are a total novice when it comes to history. In this video, you did not talk about the relationship between China and Tibet in history and you made it sound like the two had nothing to do with each other before Communist Party took over. This is ridiculous misinformation.

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