Elsewhere we've discussed varying religious explanations for the cultural destruction of Tibet. In this regard, I brought up the point that I seldom hear anyone, especially Tibetan Buddhists, point out it was the bad political decisions of the Tibetan government that failed to deter the PRC takeover of Tibet.
No, it was the fact that Tibetan Government had been subject the whims of the Qing Dynasty Ambans for most of the nineteenth century that lead to Tibet's weakened political structure in the nineteenth, plus the fact that Tibetan was used as a football during the great game between Britain and Russia. Also, if you recall correctly, the Tibetans had to repel a Chinese invasion as well as deal with the Younghusband expedition.
I imagine this has something to do with the issue that if you criticize the former government, you're indirectly criticizing the 13th Dalai Lama Thubten Gyatso, which may be perceived as criticism against the present 14th Dalai Lama.
Don't think Tibetans are so naive.
In any case, while the pro-Tibetan lobby frequently lays full blame on homicidal communist forces from China, there were a few factors that made the takeover of Tibet relatively easy.
- Tibet was very reluctant and slow to modernize both its infrastructure and military, thus posing little challenge to the battle hardened mechanized army of the PRC. There was almost no military deterrent.
The Tibetans did not have the industrial infrastructure to build such a military, nor the economic wealth to buy such a military. So your point is invalid.
- The Tibetan government kept foreigners out and didn't make an active move for international recognition until it was too late. They didn't establish embassies in the capitals of world powers. After WWII when it was clear the British were moving out of India, it would have been apparent that Tibet should have entered onto the world stage.
The policy of Xenophobia was an understandable response to the encroachment of colonial powers in Asia. Tibet's regions at that time border both China and Burma directly, as well as Nepal, etc. and a great deal of trade contact made the Tibetans aware of what was in store for nations like China (and themselves) as well when colonial powers were let in. Look at Japan -- they had an isolationist policy for centuries, but they also were not a landlocked nation.
- Despite several famous prophecies about the imminent downfall of Tibet, it seems the government didn't do much in the way of serious defensive works to deter foreign aggression.
Religious prejudice on the part of the Gelug-controlled Goverment of Tibet ; all these prophecies came from the Nyingma school, specifically the treasure tradition.
- Lhasa didn't really have control over places like Kam. It was bandit territory that even the government avoided.
A large part of Kham was controlled by the King of Derge, and during the 19th Century, Derge was the center of the religious and cultural renaissance called "The Ris med" movement. Western Kham was controlled by the King of Nangchen. Chamdo was controlled by Lhasa. You should get your facts straight. All you are giving evidence of is that your study of Tibetan culture, history and religion lack depth and nuance.
Yes, there were bandits in Tibet. There are still bandits in Tibet [in Golog]. There are also bandits in Tokyo.
Arguably in such anarchy and ill-managed areas a foreign invading force could have just rolled right in, deep into Tibetan territory, as did happen. The Tibetan government didn't do much to secure their borders or even consolidate themselves as a proper nation state which in turn made it easy for the PRC to claim sovereignty over Tibet without much protest from the international community.
It is difficult when the Chinese and British are writing treaties about you without your participation.
- "Early British efforts to create a boundary for north-east India were triggered by their discovery in the mid-19th century that Tawang, an important trading town, was Tibetan territory. Britain had concluded treaties with Qing China concerning Tibet's boundaries with Burma and Sikkim. However, Tibet refused to recognise the boundaries drawn by these treaties. British forces led by Sir Francis Younghusband entered Tibet in 1904 and made a treaty with the Tibetans. In 1907, Britain and Russia acknowledged Chinese "suzerainty" over Tibet."
Now, granted, what's past is past, but nevertheless the narrative of Tibet's downfall, which is an intrinsic part of Tibetan Buddhism nowadays, is quite slanted and one-sided.
Nonsense, it is not slanted and one-sided at all.
And the fact is that the fall of Tibet had far more to do with Colonialism in Asia than it has anything to do with some innate failure on the part of Tibetans to defend their own nation. You forget that eighty thousand khampas showed up to fight the PLA in 1959. You forget than the invasion of Tibet took nine years to complete, starting in 1950 when the PLA started "liberating" Tibet. You forget that the international community just stood by and watched as the PLA invaded Tibet.
Good Tibetans versus Evil Communist Chinese. That's perhaps easier to digest than the reality where China could opportunistically seize Tibet owing in part to the bad political decisions of the Lhasa government. Understandably, there's going to be a reluctance to acknowledge that point. Still, the pro-Tibetan propaganda line doesn't really help matters much because it is skewed and heavily biased.
Nonsense, Tibet was a victim of several factors: western colonial policy, specifically, Britain's presence in India. Tibet was also subject to Qing dynasty in the 18th and 19th century, who poisoned several Dalai Lamas to maintain control over Lhasa (there was a lot of money in the Tibetan salt and tea trades). The Qing deliberately kept the Lhasa government weak and under their control. The primary reason that Kham and Amdo were not under the Lhasa Gvt., is that they were territories of China from the early 18th century onward, not because Khams was filled with bandits.
In fact, it was the 13th Dalai Lama who threw off the shackles of the Qing (which is why he is considered a hero) and tried to modernize the army and so on without success.