Status: occupied territory
Population: 6 million Tibetans and 7.5 million Chinese
Area: 2.5 million square kilometers
Religions: predominantly Tibetan buddhism; Bon; Islam; Christianity
Ethnic Groups: Se, Mu, Dong, Tong, Dru, Ra, Bai people, Blang, Bonan, Dongxiang, Han, Hui Chinese, Lhoba, Lisu people, Miao, Mongols, Monguor or Tu people, Menba or Monpa, Mosuo, Nakhi, Qiang, Nu people, Pumi, Salar and Yi people
The Central Tibetan Administration, or so called Tibetan Government in Exile, is spiritually headed by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso. Since 2011, Tibet is de jure headed by Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, who was directly elected by Tibetans from the diaspora, a representative to which His Holiness the Dalai Lama has devolved political power. Tibet is currently under the control of the People's Republic of China, a situation characterised by the Central Tibetan Administration as an illegitimate military occupation. The Central Tibetan Administration has its headquarters in Dharamsala, India since His Holiness the Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against the Chinese regime.
Tibet is situated at the Centre of Asia and borders to China in the East, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Burma in the South and East Turkestan in the North. Tibet is comprised of the three provinces of Amdo – now split by China into the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan -, Kham – largely incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai -, and U-Tsang. The area covers about 2.5 million square kilometers. The Tibetan Plateau is the source of most of Asia’s major rivers and the surrounding terrain is extremely fertile and rich in forests. The northern plane, Chang-Tang, is largely uninhabitable. Tibet, therefore, commands not only the highest but also the most strategic position in Central Asia.
The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is not seen as the authentic Tibet as it was artificially created by China in 1965 for political reasons. It comprises less than half of the surface of historical Tibet and it merges together the provinces of western Kham and U-Tsang. Tibet has an estimated population of about 6 million Tibetans and 7.5 million Chinese settlers. The estimated population within the TAR is 2.62 million, of which 93% are Tibetans and 6% are Han Chinese, whilst the rest live in the Tibetan areas outside the TAR. Tibet is rich in natural resources such as gold, iron, lead, uranium and huge reserves of forest.
Tibet faces a wide range of human rights issues including the violation of the Tibetan's political rights, environmental degradation, as well as the suppression of freedom of expression and association. Detainees in the region also endure torture and enforced disappearance is widely used as a method to crack down on activists and political dissidents. The the lack of recognition of the Tibetan's minority status also allows for the sinicisation of Tibet. The growth of the population is strictly controled and Tibetans suffer from the violation of their cultural and religious rights. Land grabbing, displacement and resource exploitation are also widespread due to Tibet's attractive natural resources and economic opportunities. The full realisation of child rights is also far from being reached, with numerous children being the victims of discimination, forced labour and the consequences of poverty. Access to health services is limited, making Tibet the worst place to live in China in terms of health. Freedom of religion is harshly restricted, especially since allegiance to the Dalai Lama is interpreted as a threat to the Chinese Communist Party.
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