50 for Tibet: Celebrating One Mountain Culture to Preserve Another.
Mission Statement
50 for Tibet History
Team Bios
Related Sites
About Us: 50 for Tibet History

• History of the Tibet Occupation • The Rowell Fund
• Galen Rowell and Barbara Cushman Rowell • Tibet at a Glance
• History of Galen's Interest in Tibet  

History of the Tibet Occupation

"The Committee wants to emphasize the fact that the Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based on tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people... The Dalai Lama has developed his philosophy of peace from a great reverence for all things living and upon the concept of universal responsibility embracing all mankind as well as nature."
~1989 Nobel Peace Prize Committee

Hundreds of thousands of Tibetans have died from torture, starvation, and execution as a result of the Chinese occupation. In 1959, when Tibetans gathered to protect the Dalai Lama from a feared assassination attempt, and proclaim their freedom, 87,000 more Tibetans were reported killed in the following days.

For centuries Tibet was a remote country with a widely dispersed population of nomads, farmers, and traders. Then, in 1949, Chinese troops invaded the eastern frontier, bringing to a sudden and violent end Tibet's centuries-old isolation beyond the Himalayas. Occupation ensued and in 1959, Tibetans rose up against the Chinese occupiers. The uprising was brutally crushed and His Holiness the Dalai Lama and 80,000 Tibetans fled to India.

In the years after, the Tibetan people and their culture have been systematically persecuted. The Chinese government continues to repress Tibetan nationalism and religion. Party policies in the region include: Militarizing the Tibetan Plateau, promoting the influx of Chinese migrants, and extracting oil, minerals, and timber. Every year, in an attempt to escape these harsh conditions, thousands of Tibetans make the dangerous journey across the Himalayas into exile in India.