The autonomy of the Tibet Autonomous Region has been the source of heated debate in both the east and the west since the Cultural Revolution. Some experts from the west have made claims that China has no right to Tibet. The Chinese government claims that the territory of Tibet has a longstanding history as under the control of China. What I hope to illustrate through numerous primary source documents is the complexity of this debate. At the source, I believe is the necessity to address the premise of the debate - which is, what do we mean when we say 'Tibet'?

Guiding Questions:

  • What should the borders of a 'free Tibet' be, if any?
  • Does China have a right to Tibet?
  • Does Tibet have a right to self-determination?
  • Do you have to share a culture to be a nation?
  • Can you have progress without exploitation?
This site was created by Diane Hodson, a teacher at the Secondary School for Research, at the NEH Summer Institute "Literatures, Religions, and Arts of the Himalayan Region," held at the College of the Holy Cross, Summer 2008.