Tibet knew its first famine during 1960-62, as a result of the Chinese invasion of 1950. The food shortage occurred because Chinese colonizers settled massively, increasing the population, and because of the changes imposed on Tibetan traditional agriculture by Mao’s “Great Leap Forward.”
Accurate estimations and data about Tibetan victims of the Chinese genocide are hard to find, given that China provides biased information. However, associations like “Friends of Tibet” estimate that out of the 1.2 million deaths, 343,151 were caused by famine. Unfortunately, no further information is available on the gender, age or/and class of the victims.
II. ECOLOGICAL CHANGES
Tibet was ecologically stable before the communist Chinese invasion in 1950. The vegetation was sparse, but the land supported a diverse wildlife and famine was unknown. Because Tibetans followed the Buddhist principle that forbids them to disturb the earth, they exploited few resources. This fragile ecology was irreversibly destroyed as a result of the Chinese incursion, as they deforested parts of the plateau to build hydroelectric plants, for example.
Tibet is located on the highest plateau (about 472,000-sq mi.) in the world at a height of 12,000 feet, in the Himalayas. India borders the country, south and west, Nepal and Bhutan, south, and China, north and east.
The famine in Tibet was not linked to a particular natural disaster, since it was man-made. However, the climate is dry and cold with an average annual temperature of 34 F. Therefore the soil is frozen eight to ten months a year and resources are limited.
III. SOCIO ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
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...rmation. Exact numbers such as the death roll or the year famine happened, are hard to find. Humanitarian organizations and the Tibetan Government in Exile do provide estimations, but the Chinese authority still denies them.
“Les Amis du Tibet.” Available from: http://www.amis-tibet.lu
Shakya, Tsering. The Dragon in the Land of Snows. New York: Columbia University
Stein, R.A. Tibetan Civilization. Translated by J.E. Stapleton Driver. Stanford: Stanford
University Press, 1972.
Thomas, Lowell Jr. The Silent War in Tibet. New York: Doubleday & Company Inc., 1959.
“Tibet les Droits de l’Homme.” Available from http://www.mabbh.org
“Today’s Tibet.” Available from: http://www.friendsoftibet.org
Tucci, Giuseppe. TIBET Land of Snows. Translated by J.E. Stapleton Driver. New
York: Stein and Day, 1967.
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