The most important thing to keep in mind is that tension between China and Tibet has been building for decades. On one side you have the
Comment by Jamie Metzl, Executive Vice President, Asia Society
Chinese increasing their efforts to fully integrate Tibet into China, while on the other side Tibetans are pushing for meaningful cultural and religious autonomy under Chinese rule. The upcoming Beijing Olympics are creating a platform where the Tibetans may feel more emboldened in making their claims, while the Chinese feel that they need to limit dissent and promote peace and stability.
We don’t know how these protest are going to end. Certainly the Dalai Lama has made a strong commitment to non violence and I have every expectation that commitment will be maintained. The Dalai Lama has also expressed his desire for Tibet to remain part of China, but with greater autonomy. To date the Chinese have been hesitant to yield to the demands of the Tibet exile movement for things such as the Dalai Lama’s return to Lhasa.