A remote and predominantly Buddhist autonomous region in China, Tibet has had a long and tumultuous past with regard to human rights and their suppression by the Chinese. During the 1950s, China sent in thousands of troops to enforce its claim on the region. Some areas became the Tibetan Autonomous Region and others were incorporated into neighbouring Chinese provinces. In 1959, Tibet was again under attack by Chinese authorities and its spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama along with 100,000 other followers, were forced into exile to neighbouring India.
Since 1949, as an act of authority exertion, the Chinese have limited Tibetans freedom to practise Buddhism. The Chinese have destroyed over 6000 monasteries and shrines and by 1978 only 8 monasteries remained as well as only 970 practising monks and nuns. According to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, educational, legal and propaganda channels are used to pressure Tibetans to renounce their Buddhist faith and convert to one that complies with the political regime they promote.
Chinese have responded to attempted Tibetan uprisings by using extreme violence and it is reported that they have continually violated UN conventions through the extensive use of torture against Tibet’s political prisoners. In addition, Tibet is governed by the Chinese Communist Party, and to date, no Tibetan has ever been elected as Party Secretary which is the most senior government post in the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The politics of Tibet has long been a contentious issue because the Dalai Lama is not only seen as a religious leader for the Buddhist population, but also a political one therefore he threatens the dynamics of the Chinese leadership.