Controversy over tourism:
One of the most controversial places in the world to visit may be worth the extra trouble for tourists- Tibet has been labeled one of the worst places to live in the world for repression of political and civil rights by Freedom House (https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2014/tibet#.VVE_ZBaBG2Q), but its culture and its people direly need the help of the rest of the world if the turmoil there is to ever cease.
The following photo is extremely graphic, but it shows the lengths in which the people of Tibet will go in order to end the occupation of their country by China.
Getting into Tibet is a challenge because visitors must pass through Chinese officials and comply with Chinese policies. Tourists also have to obtain a visa through China.
Tibet is a region in China but it is, from a legal standpoint, a completely independent state. (http://freetibet.org/about/legal-status-tibet).
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) however, claims Tibet has been an integral part of China for many centuries. The political relationship between Tibet and China has garnered international speculation for many years, starting in 1950 with the Chinese occupation of the area and the exile of the 14th Dalai Lama in 1959.
The question is; who is in the right? Does Tibet have the right to demand the removal of Chinese forces, or is the PRC allowed to occupy Tibet on the means that Tibet has been a part of China for many years? These are the questions both the Tibetan government and the Chinese government disagree over. For tourists, however, they have the luxury of enjoying the people and culture without repercussion.
People have been fighting for both sides for years and the outcome is still uncertain. The pros of visiting, however, may outweigh the risk:
1. Visiting Tibet allows Tibetans to connect to the outside world- the people of Tibet are isolated from western society, and when people visit, more people can become informed about the tragic situation for the Tibetan people.
2. If people decide to visit Tibet, and they plan correctly, they can benefit the Tibetan people. By supporting Tibetan-owned and ran businesses we can help keep the Tibetan culture prosper.
3. From the Potala Palace in Lhasa to the Himalayas that make Tibet’s southern border, the landscapes and architecture of Tibet will leave a lasting impression.
Why I want to Visit
Not only is Tibet a beautiful country teeming with culture, it is also a focal point for human rights awareness, oppression and totalitarianism worldwide. Tibet is a beautiful region and by visiting we can help ensure that the Tibetan people and their culture can be celebrated for years to come.
Links to information on Tibet: