Autonomy vs. Independence

Here’s a quick run through of what I perceive to the pros and cons to autonomy and independence, should Tibet obtain either:


-A self governing state that would manage its own internal and local affairs. However international affairs and military would be managed by China.

-Economic benefits from China’s rich and quickly growing economy.
-Command of Tibetan internal affairs.
-Military protection from China.
-Quicker infrastructural development.

-A dependency on China.
-Larger Chinese cultural influence on Tibet.
-No international relations as a separate state.
-Media and educational censorship.
-Totalitarianism of CCP(Chinese Communist Party): therefore little say in national government affairs and also possibility to be overruled by the CPC government.
-Capitulation to the CPC justification of Tibet having been always part of China.
-Accepting China’s national policies and international baggage and policies.


-A self governing state, at every level, not under the control of any other power.

-National pride as an independent Tibetan state.
-The satisfaction of accomplishing a long hard struggle.
-Complete command over Tibet’s own independent national government.
-Ability to deal with the large Chinese population within Tibet. Whether that means deportation or denying Chinese migrants entry into Tibet.

-Most probably, bitter relations with China.
-A land locked state, thus no access to any ocean.
-Poor economy.
-Vulnerability to foreign influences/control.
-Difficulties to create infrastructure or development at a much slower rate.

These are the few that quickly came to mind for me, if I can think of any others I’ll edit and add them. Comment on what your think should be added to the list or maybe taken away.


7 thoughts on “Autonomy vs. Independence

  1. tsering chopel

    autonomy: dalai lama’s decision (must be good), average tibetan’s view.

    can be obtained much quicker than independence. will be good for our pola and mola’s.

    also may be good for lots of chinese migrants who now call tibet their home. lot of them were born in tibet.

    dispute over land at the eastern part of tibet woon’t be of any significance. (lot of tib. and chinese live there).

    independence: will feel damn good to have our own country. than working towards building a good nation would be nice.

    will be good for indians with border security. indians spent lot of money on borders (in lot of crore) which can be used for some other purposes like helping poor.

    where ever you look, tibetan faces… acts and thinks and does things like you and speaks ur language. basically you will be surrounded with friendly people (tibetans are by nature very friendly ppl, something we can be proud of).

  2. Jigme32

    Good points, especially about how it will help for Indians. I guess I looked at it from a pretty selfish view since I was thinking how would these forms of government benifit only Tibetans haha.

  3. tlo

    i think everything in the cons side for independence could be erased, i think enough tibetans have been outside tibet to get a good enough education to rebuild tibet ourselves, as well as networked with people all over the world, to help us rebuild our infastructure and economy. I think we have learned we have learned our lesson regarding foreign affairs. if we did get independence, i personally don’t think we’d be enemies with China. like HHDL, i think i would consider them my brothers and sisters and we could live in harmony, even though right now i’m kinda peeved at my sibs…

  4. Jigme32

    “If we did get independence, i personally don’t think we’d be enemies with China. like HHDL, i think i would consider them my brothers and sisters and we could live in harmony”

    -Well I know that Tibetans could look to China as “brothers and sisters”. But I was looking at it from the Chinese perspective. If Tibet got independence I highly doubt Chinese would see us in the same way, particularly the CCP.

    “A land locked state, thus no access to any ocean.”

    -This ones true though

    “Poor economy.”
    “Difficulties to create infrastructure or development at a much slower rate.”

    -Tibet infrastructural development is largely funded from China. Big cities like Lhasa are able to sustain from grain shipments from China. So once we get independence I think no doubt we’ll have economic problems. But I know you mean its possible to solve these problems and rebuild over time, which I agree with but I was thinking about what cons we would have right after achieving independence, like what problems would we see right after gaining independence.

  5. Anonymous

    we lose grain, china loses a chunk of its tourism income, thousands of people flock to the lhasa each day just to visit the potala palace, we can buy the grain from china or anywhere else for that matter with the other income

  6. Tendon

    Certainly for the Tibetan people in exile complete independence is our goal. What about Tibetans in Tibet? How much of the population are aware of H.H.’s life long political struggle with the CCP? What percentage support independence? and what percentage support autonomy? What of the Tibetans loyal to CPP and China, what is the size of this population?

    Regrading the future of Tibet-China relationship, even as an independent state we will be better served to negotiate and maintain an interdependent relationship with all our neighboring states, including China. Certainly with over 50 years of oppression there will be tensions from both sides, but the idea is to recreate a relationship which benefits both sides (such as trade which has already been mentioned and hopefully even ‘trust’ at some point in the distant future).

    I am interested in Kundun’s political position in lobbying for autonomy. Would you agree with the assumption that on a personal level, Kundun would much prefer Independence? Then the question begs, why is he calling for Autonomy? Certainly it seems to be a strategic position he is taking, as China is either compelled to step up to the negotiation table or at the least tone down the ‘seperatist’ rhetoric. Or alternatively, continue to ignore and insult Kundun, thereby appearing ridiculously pig-headed and iron-fisted in the international political arena, which has all kinds of implications on the legitemacy of the CPP and China’s much desired goal of being a world superpower. But am I just romanticizing these negative implications for China. In the end, both our freedom or our autonomy will come only when the stars of the global political economy allign in a certain formation – meaning non-Tibetan actors will have a direct or indirect interest in divorcing China from Tibet which have nothing to do with human rights. But until then, we must keep problemitizing the current relationship and we must not let the world forget our political struggles and rights!

  7. Here I can give some very important pictures of those Tibetan that are not seen in the TV and media maybe u think I m laying but it is true I m not against the Chinese people ,actually I know Chinese language and custom so I like those Chinese people I know they history I m deeply impressed . Looking back to the history Tibet was a nation but we give up this, you can read and know it from history of British India Nepal and Chinese history itself
    We are brother and sister also I am very sorry for the loss life of Chinese Han in the recent event but from the government side only explaining that side and not those snaps that are available in ( so click here. We want to live together happily but we need to understand each other and government should provide demand of Tibetan people we don’t seek a free Tibet. Now we accepting to live together side by side and also some of the media are misinterpreting the Tibet issue as a nationality lever like Han and Tibetan. This is totally wrong we are same people we need to respect each other we need happiness. We don’t want to separate china but we want to live together as a nation with the autonomy as above.

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