10 facts about Tibet
1. It is estimated that one million Tibetans have died as a result of the Chinese occupation, through imprisonment, torture and executions.
2. Since March 2011, more than 100 Tibetans in Tibet have set themselves on fire in protest of the Chinese government’s oppressive regime. These protests are continuing in 2013.
3. In 2008, a United Nation report concluded that the use of torture in Tibet was “widespread” and “routine”.
4. What China calls the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) is only half of historical Tibet, which was about the size of western Europe.
5. Before the Chinese invasion in 1949, Tibet was a nation with its own government, currency, postal system, language and legal system.
6. The Tibetan plateau holds the world’s third largest store of fresh water in glacier form, and feeds Asia’s largest rivers. One billion people rely on this water source, which is under threat because of China’s policies of strip mining, deforestation, damming and diversion of rivers.
7. After the Chinese invasion, more than 6,000 monasteries were destroyed in Tibet.
8. Tibetans are becoming a minority in TAR due to the vast influx of Han Chinese migrants, encouraged by incentives from the Chinese government.
9. Despite China's claims to have 'developed' Tibet, the illiteracy rate for TAR was a staggering 45% in 2005, compared to 10% in China as a whole in 2004.
10. One million nomadic herders have been forcibly moved from their traditional grazing lands, because of China's re-settlement policy. This is comparable to the treatment of Native Americans and Australian Aborigines by Western colonisers.