In Pictures: Life in Tibet, Overshadowed by China Since 1959
Police patrol in Lhasa.
Police patrol in Lhasa.(Photo Courtesy: clara/Twitter)

In Pictures: Life in Tibet, Overshadowed by China Since 1959

Tibet, an innately peaceful country, has seen more than its fair share of violence. When the 14th Dalai Lama fled Chinese oppression and arrived in India, Tibet was crumbling. A direct assault on their culture and traditions and a threat to their life and property, left Tibetans overwhelmingly insecure. Since then, many have immigrated to other countries, but a number of them remain in Tibet.

While China refuses to recognise Tibet as an independent entity, Tibet continues protesting against Chinese control.

Let us experience the ordeal, through glimpses.

Tibetan monk Jampa Tenzin and protesters in Lhasa, Tibet in 1987 
Tibetan monk Jampa Tenzin and protesters in Lhasa, Tibet in 1987 
(Photo Courtesy: John Ackerly/Free Tibet)
A still from the Tibetan uprising of 1987.
A still from the Tibetan uprising of 1987.
(Photo Courtesy: John Ackerly/Tibetan Buddhism in the West)

With violent and non-violent protests and domestic resistance, Tibet has struggled to retain its identity and cultural independence. Rebellion is practised everyday, even through seemingly small acts such as keeping pictures of the Dalai Lama carefully concealed in homes and workplaces.

A Tibetan vendor moves a photograph of the Panchen Lama to reveal a picture of a young Dalai Lama in front of the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa on 26 May 1998.
A Tibetan vendor moves a photograph of the Panchen Lama to reveal a picture of a young Dalai Lama in front of the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa on 26 May 1998.
(Photo: Reuters)
This photograph, taken on 23 June 1999, shows an empty throne of Dalai Lama reserved in the Patola Palace, Lhasa.
This photograph, taken on 23 June 1999, shows an empty throne of Dalai Lama reserved in the Patola Palace, Lhasa.
(Photo: Reuters)

When the Chinese administration opened the first train going to Lhasa in 2006, it faced a lot of criticism. According to media reports, exiled Tibetans and right groups said that it facilitated an influx of long-term migrants who could threaten Tibetans' cultural integrity.

Passengers sit on board the first train at Lhasa railway station as it heads for Lanzhou in Gansu province 1 July 2006.
Passengers sit on board the first train at Lhasa railway station as it heads for Lanzhou in Gansu province 1 July 2006.
(Photo Courtesy: Reuters)

An extension of this railway was opened in 2014.

2008 saw a series of violent protests in Tibet. These started in Lhasa, but subsquently spread to other Tibetan regions. According to estimates, 18 civilians were killed and 382 injured.

March 2008 protests saw a series of burnings. 
March 2008 protests saw a series of burnings. 
(Photo Courtesy: Uprising Archive)
Tibetans burning a Chinese flag in March, 2008.
Tibetans burning a Chinese flag in March, 2008.
(Photo Courtesy: Reuters)
Lhasa burning on 14 March 2008.
Lhasa burning on 14 March 2008.
(Photo Courtesy: Bianca Reijnders/Uprising Archive)

This unrest began as an annual observance of Tibetan Uprising Day but subsequently transitioned into riots and killings. While the Chinese administration blamed the Dalai Lama for the events, the Dalai Lama said that the unrest was caused because Tibetans were extremely discontent.

Parts of Tibet saw heavy destruction in March, 2008.
Parts of Tibet saw heavy destruction in March, 2008.
(Photo Courtesy: Kadfly/Uprising Archive)
A convoy of armoured personnel carriers (APC) travel through the streets of Lhasa, Tibet March 15, 2008. 
A convoy of armoured personnel carriers (APC) travel through the streets of Lhasa, Tibet March 15, 2008. 
(Photo: Reuters)

On 4 May and 1 July 2008 the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Dalai Lama held talks on the riots.

A 1950s Chinese fighter jet displayed at a square in front of Potala Palace in Lhasa - a seemingly symbolic representation of the presence of Chinese military. 
A 1950s Chinese fighter jet displayed at a square in front of Potala Palace in Lhasa - a seemingly symbolic representation of the presence of Chinese military. 
(Photo Courtesy: Claro Cortes IV/Reuters)

Tibet has seen various degrees of violence. Over 152 Tibetans have self-immolated in protest inside Tibet since 2009.

A Tibetan self immolates.
A Tibetan self immolates.
(Photo Courtesy: Central Tibetan Administration)

Tibetans today continue to live under Chinese occupation. Their resistance to Chinese influence on their culture and traditions remains, because faith is primary for Tibetans and they hold their history and values close to their hearts.

According to an NGO called Free Tibet, Tibetans also believe that along with threatening their language, culture and history, "China's government is plundering Tibet's natural resources and destroying its environment."

A delivery man of Alibaba’s logistics unit Cainiao checks his phone as he delivers a parcel in Lhasa on 14 January  2018.
A delivery man of Alibaba’s logistics unit Cainiao checks his phone as he delivers a parcel in Lhasa on 14 January 2018.
(Photo Coutesy: Reuters)
China in occupied Tibet.
China in occupied Tibet.
(Photo Courtesy: 卫纳夜格@Raj/Twitter)

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