Tibet Highlights




1. General information

Tibet, the remote and mainly-Buddhist territory known as the “roof of the world”, is governed as an autonomous region of China. But the allegiances of many Tibetans lie with the exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, seen by his followers as a living god, but by China as a separatist threat. China claims a centuries-old sovereignty over the Himalayan region. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as other ethnic groups. However due to Chinese pressure and benefits for Chinese citizens it is now also inhabited by considerable numbers (and increasing) of Chinese. Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 5,000 m. The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth’s highest mountain, rising 8,850 m above sea level. In 1959, after a failed anti-Chinese uprising, the 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet and set up a government in exile in India. Most of Tibet’s 6000 monasteries were destroyed in the 1960s and 1970s during China’s Cultural Revolution. Thousands of Tibetans are believed to have been killed during periods of repression and martial law.

Tibet is a very high plateau. All of Tibet is considered a part of East Asia. Many of the major rivers such as the Yangtze-Yellow River, Mekong River have their source in Tibet. There are over 800 settlements in Tibet. Lhasa is the capital of Tibet with two world heritage sites the Potala Palace and the Norbulingka which is where the Dalai Lama used to live.

Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama had a strong following as many people from Tibet look at him as their leader from not just a political point of view but also from a spiritual perspective. After the Dalai Lama’s government fled to Dharamshala, India, it established a Government in exile. The Dalai Lama says Tibet was independent and has been colonised. China says its sovereignty over Tibet goes back centuries. China considers this to be the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

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