Many Chinese, especially the Chinese Communist officials, like to point to history as their justification for sovereignty over Tibet. However in my opinion their arguments don’t hold much value, let me explain why in this post.
The CCP(Chinese Communist Party) and its supporters generally look to the Qing’s dynasty (1644 to 1911), a period where they believe the Qing Emperor had sovereignty over Tibet to justify their current sovereignty. However the Qing did not have sovereignty over Tibet during this period, it was more closer to a suzerainty with Tibet having its own degree of autonomy managing its own internal affairs. The Qing dynasty was also ruled by Manchu emperors, and the Manchu are people that are recognized as ethnic minorities within China by the CCP just as Tibetans are. Thus its absurd for the CCP to claim sovereignty over Tibet when they themselves were subjugated by the Manchu rulers just as Tibet was. In fact if the CCP wants to use this skewed logic then we Tibetans are in the same position to claim sovereignty over China just as they claim sovereignty over Tibet.
In fact during the Qing dynasty it was the Tibetans who were better treated by the Qing rulers then then Han Chinese population. Tibetan religious leaders were revered by the Qing emperors since many Manchus practiced Tibetan Buddhism. In contrast the Chinese were made to submit to the Manchu rulers and assimilate to their culture. For example once the Manchus took power within China they forced every Chinese male to shave their head except for the hair on the very back of the head which was tied into a pony tail. This was a Manchu nomadic hairstyle known as the “queue” that was supposed to represent the tail of a horse. If a Chinese male decided not to shave his head to wear this hairstyle he would have his head cut off. In fact a popular saying during this hairstyle enforcement was “Lose the hair, keep the head. Keep the hair, lose the head.”
Another reason why I think the CCP’s argument using history for its justification for sovereignty over Tibet is absurd is because the CCP does not represent the Chinese people since they allow no true representation so how can they claim the achievements of the past Chinese people when in fact they have killed so many of these people and also shunned and destroyed Chinese history during the Cultural Revolution and now they look to claim the same sovereignty of the same emperors they once despised.
Is Tibet a part of China? and why or why not?