When Jesus was born, the Isrealites had been living under the Roman yoke for more than 60 years, suppressed with high taxes and living with Roman leadership and military presence everywhere.
This is the situation of Tibet today. Bringing Chinese settlers, who receive the best jobs and imposing curfew hours and times on the Tibetan population, especially during religious festivals, when the police presence with full riot gear is on most corners very visible, this is the present daily lifestyle of Tibetans in the TAR (Tibetan Autonomous Region, a political misnomer if there ever was one)
Every house is ordered to fly a Chinese flag to celebrate the friendship between the two peoples. Most Tibetan homes fly beside that flag, prayer ribbons en masse.
The monasteries, in the past housing thousands of monks, are by directive housing reduced numbers up to maximums of 100 to 200 monks, in order to have more effective control. We were told that even in the monasteries the Chinese were "listening" through the employ of cleaners, ticket sellers and other non essential jobs.
Every Tibetan Lhasa resident carries an identity card, which must be shown when exiting as well as when re-entering the city. Our guide had our travel permit with him to show the validity of our permitted stay in town. Our guide told us that every few years they were interviewed when renewing their licenses, about conversations they had with former clients, like us in the fashion of "what did you say when they asked about the present number of monks?" The official answer is: that religion is waining as a calling. And whether we started political conversations and how did they stop/handle that type of conversations.
Gatherings of young males is frowned upon. And trucks with military in full riot gear travel the roads regularly. Photographing that is forbidden.
The Chinese propaganda describes Lhasa as a "happy city" where Chinese and Tibetans live "happily" together, although for some reason, both peoples prefer to live in their own section of town.
The Tibetan leader, the 14th Dalai Lama (Ocean of Wisdom) lives since 1959 in exile in India and the Panchen Lama (Great Teacher) or the Nr 2 leader has received the gracious housing invite of the Chinese Leadership in Peking, in order to be near for consultations concerning Tibetan affairs. Thus, he also is far from his flock, because religions are explosive societal factors, which central totalitarian leadership always fear.
The last confrontation was in March 2008, when demonstrations led to riots, killing 19 people and burning and looting Chinese stores and homes. The army squashed it killing at least 100 unarmed Tibetans, predominantly monks.
Both sides have their story. Tibetans claim to have always been an independent nation, sometimes even a grand imperium, as large as Gengis Khan's Mongolian empire, and was illegally invaded by China in 1950.
China claims, they had since the 18th century "suzerainty" over Tibet (I like that word - look it up) and that the British, in order to create a buffer nation between "their" India and China took Tibet from them. So in 1950, when they had the time and the political "breath" after their civil war, they reclaimed it.
Because Tibet had never been part of the League of Nations and or any other international organization, preferring to live in isolation high up on their plains, nobody came to their aid and besides, most nations had their hands full in creating the new world after 1945. The CIA messed a little bit in the conflict to spite the Chinese, but with the South Korean War and Britain having lost "their" India, although, on a happier note, also having lost its internal problems by then, the CIA never really got their teeth in it.
The Chinese government has poured more than 50 billion $ into Tibet (2002 statistics) and continues to do so, thus raising the standard of living there. But the Tibetans claim, that all that money benefits only Chinese people, that unemployement led to the 2008 riots, that Tibetans still live in abject poverty. There is no Tibetan input or for that matter Tibetan governance in their "TAR". In 2010, according to Tibetan sources, of the 13000 shops and restaurants in Lhasa only 300 are Tibetan owned.
(Tribute to Chinese president in a restaurant on the side of the road somewhere)
The Chinese preferred forms of communal farming have lead to less reaped harvests and led to hunger throughout the country.
The present course of suppression leads nowhere. The solution must be that, whereas Tibet may never be an independent nation again, self rule by Tibetans, not by Chinese puppet leaders, through a gradual introduction of self governance and self determination in cultural and religious affairs, would lead to improved standards of living of Tibetans and a reestablishment of their cultural indentity. At the present the Chinese close off the month of March for foreign visitor permits each year. And infrequently, when major religious festivals are coming up, or when the Dalai Lama has made a major speech. All this indicates nervousness within the central government ranks.
After visiting, I believe independence is not foremost on Tibetans minds as they live inside present Tibet, unlike, what the dispersed Tibetans and their government in exile would like. No, they like to see employment, better living conditions, and the opportunity to have religious freedom and be free to live a Tibetan lifestyle without restraints by Chinese regulations. That would require that the communist party allows Tibetans to govern their internal affairs.
The world must keep reminding the Chinese, that they still violate human rights. Pressure must be applied and the Dalai Lama government in exile must make moves to soften their stance on independence for the sake of the betterment of their own people, as they suffer the consequences of a strife for liberation.
Ok, that was my two cents to the global awareness discussion of Tibet. It was for us a privilege to witness a people living today under the Chinese yoke with dignity, under the duress of a changing world, with forces, they feel, that have infringed on nature's balance and may therefore imperil their existence.