Letter to the Editor: In response to Free Tibet article

The Tibetans exiled in India and the Free Tibet group in the West always believe that China stole Tibet's independence 50 years ago; however, Chinese history shows us that Tibet has mostly been a territory of China since the 13th century.

Tibet's brief independence was due to the turmoil at the end of Qing Dynasty (around 1900). Whether or not Tibet is a part of China is a controversial issue that I don't wish to delve further into. I do feel that the "facts" presented in the April 8 article, however, are misleading to the public.

In response to the railway built to Tibet, many people think that the Chinese government is so evil that it is solely exploiting Tibet for its resources and materials. Do you really understand how scarce the resources are in Tibet? Tibet is a landlocked mountain region that lacks natural resources economic output to support the whole region. Therefore, most of the resources used there are from eastern China. The Chinese government spent $4 billion building the 710-mile rail line because it wishes to expand Tibet's borders into the surrounding areas and bring more business and opportunity to young Tibetans. In 2007, Tibet has climbed as much as 300 percent in anticipation of new markets because of this railway.

In response to the increase of Han Chinese's migration to Tibet, the truth is that few Chinese people would rather live in Tibet, where the altitude makes living conditions almost inhospitable and where the annual per-capita income is only one-seventh the level in Shanghai. Moreover, the article stated the idiom "everybody should be free," but accordingly, other Chinese people should also be allowed the freedom to live in Tibet if they wish to.

In addition, Tibetans are not at a disadvantage from an educational standpoint. The Chinese government pours abundant amounts of capital on the construction of new schools in a concerted effort to increase the literacy rate. The Chinese college placement exam (which resembles the SAT), affords Tibetans an extra 20 bonus points (while other minority groups only get 10 points). As a result of their efforts, every year, thousands of teenagers in Tibet are given the opportunity to be able to obtain a high-level education on the east coast of China with all their expenses covered by the government.

While I respect the opinion in the "Free Tibet" article, I believe that when it comes to an issue as controversial as this one, a more objective view needs to be presented. Just because much of the popular media tends to focus on the negative aspects of China's influence and presence in Tibet, much of the good is often unreported or misinterpreted by the public.

~Meng Xin Fu, 2010