Ask CFR Experts

Will Tibet ever achieve full statehood?

Asked by Brian Luckett, from Morgan State University

There is little prospect Tibet will achieve full statehood in the foreseeable future. Apart from preservation of its own power, China's Communist Party's highest imperative is the territorial integrity of the country. It is determined to keep Tibet a part of China and thus far the world community has acquiesced in China's claim.

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See more in Tibet; Diplomacy and Statecraft


U.S.-China: Dalai Lama Drama

Robert J. Barnett interviewed by Deborah Jerome

Tensions over the first visit of the Dalai Lama to the Obama White House indicate China's mounting domestic concerns even as it exercises growing global clout, says Tibet expert Robert Barnett.

See more in Tibet; China; Politics and Strategy

Primary Sources

House Resolution on Tibet (H.R. 226)

The U.S. House of Representatives passed this resolution regarding Tibet on March 11, 2009. The resolution coincided with the 50th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule and calls for "the Government of the People's Republic of China to respond to the Dalai Lama's initiatives to find a lasting solution to the Tibetan issue, cease its repression of the Tibetan people, and to lift immediately the harsh policies imposed on Tibetans."

See more in Tibet; Human Rights; Separatist Movements


Can China’s Tibetan Crisis Be Resolved?

Robert J. Barnett interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman

Robert J. Barnett, a leading expert on Tibet, says the Chinese government, which had hoped for a honeymoon period with the new Obama administration, is nervous as the fiftieth anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan revolt approaches.

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Must Read

NYRB: Thunder from Tibet

Author: Robert J. Barnett

Robert Barnett reviews Pico Iyer's account of the Dalai Lama.  Barnett writes that while the book focuses on the Dalai Lama’s modern spirituality it has metamorphosed in light of the May 2008 Tibetan protests. The book now seems to touch on the question: "can a leader who aims to serve the spiritual yearnings of a world community deal with the specific needs of his nation?"

See more in China; Tibet