• Heritage Action
  • More

Tibet's Future: Does It Have One?

Recorded on March 11, 2008

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

As we enter the 50th year of China's occupation of Tibet and the Dalai Lama's exile, American policymakers and legislators should consider Tibet's future and whether it has one.  Tibet has been the subject of experiments in cultural and demographic engineering projects that raise serious questions about Beijing's intentions for the region's future.  In addition to human rights concerns, policymakers must also consider how China's proprietary interests in Tibet now include irredentist territorial claims on "the whole of what you [Indians] call the state of Arunachal Pradesh," as the Chinese ambassador to New Delhi bluntly put it in November 2006.  Is China's relentless territorial pressure on India designed merely to expel the Dalai Lama, or does China really have more expansive territorial gains in mind?

Specialists on Tibet's modern history, culture, and religion will look at the prospects of Tibet's future, Beijing's unwavering campaign against the Dalai Lama, and whether the preservation of Tibet as a cultural, religious, and political entity remains important to mankind.  Is there any other fate for Tibet than to become a quaint Chinese Disneyland for tourists?  Is that a bad thing?  If so, what can anyone do about it?