China has been committing genocide against Tibetans since the 1950s. Because of Chinese Communist rule, Tibetans are not allowed to practice their religion nor most aspects of their culture. This study seeks to understand why the international community has not intervened in Tibet in reaction to the genocide. Three different dominant perspectives are presented through a literature review. First, Lemarchand argues that international actors have not and are not intervening in Tibet because China’s secrecy and efforts to rewrite history has turned Tibet’s tragedy into a forgotten genocide. Second, Goldstein, Xu, and Craig argue that the international community did not intervene in Tibet during the Cold War because geopolitics was priority over human rights. Finally, after the cold war, according to Goldstein, Xu, and Nathan the West did attempt to intervene in Tibet, through U.S. Congressional support and UN action, along with action from other countries and major non-governmental organizations. In an analysis of all of these scholars’ arguments, the geopolitical explanation is sufficient for the Cold War era. But the argument for the international community to intervene in Tibet after the Cold War is incomplete and overly optimistic, owing to the lack of critical examination of all given evidence and absence of consideration of the United States’ strong economic ties to China. Presently, the United States and other major Western powers were and are unwilling to take strong actions against China because of economic interests.
Rebekah Kurtz, ’15
Sponsor: David Yamanishi