US extending major support on Tibet Issue

Dechen Choedon / September 20, 2021

Dalai Lama and former U.S President Obama

United States was helping Tibet goes back to the time when China illegally occupied the land of Tibet. This article will discuss on few significant occasions where US has shown a great support and concern over Tibet issues.

Based on few oral statements by ex- guerrilla army, to counter back to the Chinese military annexation back in the times, the famous Tibetan guerrilla army (Chushi Gangdruk) fought back with the Chinese armies, and during that time, US has dropped few military troops by air to the guerrilla armies during night. But unfortunately most of them couldn’t acquire it due to the complications of locations. Yet, until now the few armies still mentions of the help US extended at that critical time.

US also took the initiatives of training 300 Chushi Gangdruk armies under CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). The CIA’s program encompassed support of Tibetan guerrillas in Nepal, a covert military training site in Colorado, “Tibet Houses” established to promote Tibetan causes in New York and Geneva, education for Tibetan operatives at Cornell University and supplies for reconnaissance teams. “The purpose of the program is to keep the political concept of an autonomous Tibet alive within Tibet and among foreign nations, principally India, and to build a capability for resistance against possible political developments inside Communist China,” explains one memo written by top U.S. intelligence officials.

Tibetan exiles and His Holiness the Dalai Lama have acknowledged for many years that they once received support from U.S. intelligence. But until now, Washington has refused to release any information about the CIA’s Tibetan operations. The U.S. intelligence support for the Tibetans ended in the early 1970s after the Nixon administration’s diplomatic opening to China. So, this type of diplomacy US played with Tibet in fact benefited Tibetan people at their crisis period.

And of all the Western democracies, the United States had provided the most extensive support for Tibetans during the difficult times of the 1950s and 1960s. As I have mentioned earlier, the US and PRC rapprochement made His Holiness and the Tibet to question the US foreign policy priorities. But what caught the eye of US is His Holiness new campaign. The key innovation in this campaign was that His Holiness for the first time carried his political message to the United States and the world.

Prior to this, His Holiness had travelled and spoken only as a religious leader. With the help of Western supporters and donors and sympathetic members of the US congress and their aides, the Tibetans launched a campaign in the United States to gain support for the Dalai Lama’s cause, in essence recasting the Tibet question not in geopolitical terms but in terms of the US commitment to freedom and human rights. The goal was to highlight China’s human rights violations in Tibet and to present the Dalai Lama as a champion of Western values.

In 1987, the campaign achieved several major breakthroughs. In June the US House of Representatives adopted a bill that condemned human rights abuses in Tibet, instructed the President to express sympathy for Tibet, and urged China to establish a constructive dialogue with the His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In September His Holiness the Dalai Lama was invited to speak to the congressional Human rights Caucus in Washington, DC. In his speech, the first he had given in the United States, he argued that Tibet has been “fully independent” at the time of the Chinese invasion in 1959. It was that very period when he proposed the five points. His speech was well received in the United States and three weeks later on 6 October 1986, the US senate passed it version of the earlier House bill.

Dechen Choeden is Tibetan in exile. She is actively associated with awareness programs on human rights & voice for Liberation of Tibet.

The opinion expressed here is the author’s own, and does not represent the editorial policy of The Kachin Post.