Our colleagues who manage Tibettruth’s amazing Twitter account @tibettruth have asked that we outline our position with respect to a preference in using the term ‘independence’, as opposed to ‘freedom’. Well, we take this position for a number of reasons, in brief these are:
1. Tibetans inside occupied Tibet wage an ongoing struggle for their nation’s independence, an often heard cry at protests is Bhod Rangzen, transliterating as Tibet independence
2. As a term ‘independence’ is recognized and defined within international law, nation’s issue a declaration of independence, not ‘freedom’
3. Tibet was, and remains under international law, an independent nation, now under illegal occupation and military occupation
4. Clearly as a concept and term ‘independence’ is far more emphatic and in harmony with the aspirations of Tibet’s struggle and status as a former sovereign state.
5. ”Freedom’ is more ambiguous as it can be enjoyed within a condition such as ‘autonomy’, for example as with Catalonia under Spain or Scotland within the United Kingdom, in which political authority, on key areas, remains under the control of the dominant state. This is of course entirely different to statehood and independence in which a people retain complete authority over their cultural, territorial economic and political affairs.
So, in calling for a ‘free Tibet’ that is not the final destination but a demand to reach a condition of what precisely, autonomy, or independence? As ‘freedom’ is not precisely (in a political sense or within international law) synonymous with ‘independence’, and cognisant that Tibetans are risking their lives to assert an independent Tibet, we always prefer to use the term ‘independence’. Other organizations take a different view and unfortunately despite being acutely aware of these factors refuse to advocate that objective, and in so doing misrepresent and betray the struggle being waged by Tibet’s brave people.