The world should sympathize with the plight of Tibetans too

Tibetans wonder why the world is largely indifferent to their plight at the hands of the Chinese government and has not responded the way it sympathizes with the plight of Ukrainians

N S Venkataraman Mar 12, 2022
Tibetans in exile protested in front of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi (Photo: Tibet Post)

The 63rd Tibetan National Uprising Day was observed by Tibetans all over the world on March 10. Tibetans in exile protested in front of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi demanding that China should stop atrocities there and quit Tibet. 

Tibetans now wonder why the world, by and large, is indifferent to their plight at the hands of the Chinese government and has not responded in the same way as it sympathizes with the plight of Ukrainians. 

For the last 15 days or so, Russia has been mercilessly pounding Ukraine with missiles and slaughtering Ukrainians. Russian forces have destroyed several infrastructure facilities and even hospitals. Millions of Ukrainians have been forced to seek shelter elsewhere.

Compared to Russia, Ukraine is a smaller country. Moscow’s economic and military strength is far mightier. 

NATO excuse 

Earlier, Ukraine had expressed a desire to join NATO.  However, no decision has been taken by NATO on admitting Ukraine. However, Russia has used this as an excuse to wage war. No doubt, Ukrainians are fighting hard to defend their country; in the process, many have been killed, thousands injured and valuable assets of Ukraine have been destroyed. 

The entire world looks at Russia as an aggressor. But despite widespread condemnation, Russian President Putin seems intent on continuing the war to the logical end, unmindful of the enormous human suffering. 

This is not the first time that such cruel acts of aggression were carried out by a large country against a neighbour. 

In 1959, Chinese forces entered Tibet, claiming that the Himalayan region has traditionally been a part of China. 

China swallows Tibet 

Tibetans did not have an army worth its name. When Chinese forces entered Tibet, the Tibetan people protested and tried to stop the Chinese forces from advancing. But Chinese troops massacred protesting Tibetans, destroyed scores of Buddhist monasteries and properties and forced the Dalai Lama to leave Tibet along with his followers and seek refuge in India. 

There is a contrast in the world reaction to the suffering of the Ukrainians and Tibetans. While almost the entire world now sympathizes with Ukrainians, the world virtually ignored the plight of Tibetans when China occupied Tibet. Even after 63 years, the world continues to ignore the Tibetans, whose country is now under the vice-like grip of China. 

It is high time the world understands that the sufferings of Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese Army are no less than the sufferings of Ukrainians at the hands of the Russian Army.

World must awake 

The world’s conscience must be awakened and one hopes that the world responds to the sufferings of Tibetans the way it is happening in the case of Ukrainians.

It is high time the UN and the Human Rights Council come to the rescue of Tibetans and ensure that aggressors do not have their way against small neighbouring countries in the future. 

(The writer is a Trustee, NGO Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai. Views are personal. He can be contacted at 

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