Tibet at a Glance

Tibet lies at the centre of Asia, with an area of 2.5 million sq km. The earths highest mountains, a vast elevated plateau and great river valleys make up the physical homeland of six million Tibetans. It has an average altitude of over 4,000 metres above sea level and is appropriately known as the ‘Roof of the World’.

Tibet is comprised of the three provinces of Amdo (now split by China into the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu & Sichuan). Kham (largely incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan. Yunnan and Qinghai), and U-Tsang which, together with western Kham, is today referred to by China as the Tibet Autonomous Region).

The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) comprises less than half of historic Tibet and was created by China in 1965 for administrative reasons. It is important to note that when Chinese officials and publications use the term “Tibet” they mean only the TAR.

Tibetans use the term Tibet to mean the three provinces described above, i.e., the area traditionally known as Tibet before the 1949-59 invasion.

Despite nearly 50 years of Chinese occupation of Tibet, the Tibetan people refuses to be conquered and subjugated by China. The present Chinese policy, a combination of demographic and economic manipulation, and discrimination, aims to suppress the Tibetan issues by changing the very character and the identity of Tibet and its people.

Today, the Chinese population in Tibet is increasing at on alarming rate, which is leading to a real danger that Tibetans will be reduced to an insignificant minority in their own homeland.

 
Map of Tibet

Tibet at a Glance

Size 

2.5 million sq.km. 

Capital  

Lhasa 

Population 

6 million 

Language 

Tibetan 

Native Wildlife 

Tibetan antelope, wild ass and Tibetan argali, blue sheep, black-necked crane, Tibetan gazelle, giant panda, red panda, golden monkey. 

Environmental problems 

Massive deforestation; native animal poaching; nomadic land used for mineral exploration; militarization of Tibet plateau. 

Average Altitude 

14,000ft or 4,000 metres above sea level 

Highest Mountain 

Chomo Langma (Mt Everest) 29,028 ft 

Average Rainfall 

Varies widely, in west it is 1 mm in Jan. to 25 mm in July. In the east, it is 25-50 in Jan. and 800 in July. 

Average Temperature 

July 58 degrees F;  

Jan. 24 degree F 

Mineral Deposits 

Borax, uranium, iron, chromite, gold, copper, silver, lead, Zinc 

Major Rivers 

Mekong, Yangtse, Salween, Tsangpo, Yellow 

Economy 

Tibetans: predominantly in agriculture and animal husbandry 

Provinces 

U-Tsang(Central Tibet), Amdo (N.E.Tibet), Kham (S.E Tibet) 

Bordering Countries 

India, Nepal Bhutan, Burma, China 

National Flag 

Snow lions with red and blue rays.(Outlawed in Tibet) 

Religion 

Tibetan Buddhism 

 
National Flag of Tibet

Tibet In-Exile - At a Glance

Population 

Approx. 111,170  (approx.world wide distribution: India 85,000, Nepal 14,000, Bhutan 1,600, Switzerland 1540, Rest of Europe 640, Scandinavia 110, USA and Canada 7,000, Japan 60, Taiwan 1,000, Australia and New Zealand 220 (Based on Tibetan Demographic survey of 1998, Planning Council, Dharamsala)

Government 

Democratic. Popular & electoral college voting systems 

Head of State 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama 

Executive 

Religion & Culture, Home Affairs, Education, Finance, Security, Information & International Relations & Health 

Independent Commissions 

Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, Tibetan Central Election Commission, Public Service Commission, Audit Commission. 

Election Schedule 

Assembly &Cabinet elections every 5 years 

Foreign Missions 

New Delhi , New York , Geneva, London, Canberra, Brussels, Moscow, Tokyo, Pretoria, Taipei 

Government Publications 

Sheja (Tibetan)Tibetan Bulletin (English), Tibbat Bulletin (Hindi), Actualites Tibetanines (French) 

Independent Publications: 

Rangzen (Tib & Eng): Xizang Lutan (Chinese), Tibetan Review, Dubab (Tibetan) 

Literacy 

69% (1998 Survey) 

Government  Income 

Annual voluntary tax, business revenue, donations 

National Holidays 

March 10-Uprising day, July 6-Birth day of the Dalai Lama; Sept 2-Demoracy day; Tibetan New Year (date changes) 

Tibetan NGOs 

Youth Congress, Women’s Association,TCHRD, Gu-Chu-Sum 

Economy 

Agriculture, agro-industries, small business, handicraft export, service sector 

Political Status 

Occupied Country and without United Nations’ Representation 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was born on 6 July 1935, to a farming family, at the hamlet of Taktser in north-eastern Tibet. At the age of two the child named Lhamo Dhondup was recognized as the incarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso.

Dalai Lama is a Mongolian title meaning "Ocean of Wisdom". The Dalai Lamas are manifestations of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Chenrezig. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth to serve humanity.

Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness the Dalai Lama as Yeshi Norbu, the Wishfulfilling Gem or simply Kundun - The Presence.

His Holiness’ enthronement ceremony took place on February 22, 1940 in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. He began his monastic education at the age of six. His Holiness the Dalai Lama sat for his final examination at the age of 23 in Lhasa’s Jokhang temple and was awarded the highest Geshe Lhahrampa degree (a doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy).

Resolving Tibet-China Conflict

Since Deng Xiaoping declared in 1979 that except for Independence of Tibet, all other issues could   be resolved through negotiations, the Tibetan Administration in –exile has pursued the Middle –Way Approach.

This approach is the basic policy of the Tibetans for resolving the issue of Tibet within the framework of the constitution of People’s Republic of China.

Proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Middle – Way Approach is endorsed by the Tibetan Parliament in –exile and enjoys the support of majority of the Tibetan people. The essence of the Middle –Way Approach is to have a genuine national regional autonomy for Tibetans, in letter and spirit, within the constitutional framework of PRC.

International Recognition

In 1989 His Holiness the Dalai Lama was awarded the internationally coveted Nobel Peace Prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.     The committee announced that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has consistently opposed the use of violence. Instead, His Holiness has advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people.

On October 17, 2007 His Holiness the Dali Lama was awarded the US Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honour, for his untiring efforts in promoting peace, understanding and non-violence, inter-religious harmony and universal responsibility.