My spring tour of China included going to Lhasa.
Though fascinated by Tibet, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go given the political situation. Tibet has been ruled by the Chinese for over fifty years.
Fifty years. It doesn’t look like the Chinese will be relinquishing Tibet to Tibetans any time soon. Yet still, Tibetan exiles continue to agitate to have their homeland for their own nation. I have sympathy for their cause so I had to think carefully about a decision to go.
The Free Tibet website agrees that the decision of whether to travel to Tibet is not an easy one. They lay out the pros and cons of doing so. These include:
- PRO: “The Dalai Lama encourages foreigners to visit Tibet and to inform others of their experiences on their return.”
- CON: Tourism provides legitimacy for Chinese rule..
In the end, my choice was to go. I wanted to see the country for myself. Though there is much to learn about Tibet online, seeing for oneself can be vital to understanding the contemporary situation. This post makes no argument about either Tibet's history or future. There are people far more knowledgeable than I on the subject and I provide links to a number of articles at the end of this post. What I present here simply seeks to give you an idea of what Lhasa looks like today.
Images of the Lhasa I Expected
Images that Overwhelm My Memory of Lhasa
Resources on Tibet
Q&A: The Dalai Lama, Tibet and China
My thanks to Overseas Adventure Travel for making my tip to Lhasa possible. While they supplied the trip, all opinions are my own.