Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's behind China's Tibetan unrest?

Beijing appears determined to contain the volatile situation in an ethnically Tibetan region of southwestern China by sending in thousands of extra security forces.

The move comes against a backdrop of anger and despair over Chinese rule, culminating in a growing number of protests and clashes with police, as well as a string of acts of self-immolation by Tibetans.

What is the dispute about?

The Dalai Lama is the traditional religious and temporal head of Tibetan Buddhists. He was made head of state at age 15 in 1950, the same year that Chinese troops occupied Tibet, enforcing what Beijing says is a centuries-old claim over the region. The Dalai Lama held negotiations with Chinese officials on Tibetan self-rule with little success. In 1959, he fled Tibet for exile in India after a failed uprising against Beijing's rule left an estimated 85,000 people dead. Read More