Tibet lies at the centre of Asia, with an area of 2.5
million square kilometers. The earth's highest
mountains, a vast arid plateau and great river valleys
make up the physical homeland of 6 million Tibetans. It
has an average altitude of 13,000 feet above sea level.
Tibet is comprised of the three provinces of Amdo (now
split by China into the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu &
Sichuan), Kham (largely incorporated into the Chinese
provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai), and U-Tsang
(which, together with western Kham, is today referred to
by China as the Tibet Autonomous Region).
The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) comprises less than
half of historic Tibet and was created by China in 1965
for administrative reasons. It is important to note that
when Chinese officials and publications use the term
"Tibet" they mean only the TAR.
Tibetans use the term Tibet to mean the three provinces
described above, i.e., the area traditionally known as
Tibet before the 1949-50 invasion.
Despite over 40 years of Chinese occupation of Tibet,
the Tibetan people refuse to be conquered and subjugated
by China. The present Chinese policy, a combination of
demographic and economic manipulation, and
discrimination, aims to suppress the Tibetan issue by
changing the very character and the identity of Tibet
and its people.
Today Tibetans are outnumbered by Han Chinese population
in their own homeland.
Facts and Figures
Area: 2.5 million sq. km.
Population: 6 million Tibetans and an estimated
7.5 million Chinese, most of whom are in Kham and Amdo.
Language: Tibetan (of the Tibeto-Burmese language
family). The official language is Chinese.
Staple Food: Tsampa (roasted barley flour)
National Drink: Salted butter tea
Typical Animals: Wild yak, Bharal (blue) sheep,
Musk deer, Tibetan antelope, Tibetan gazelle, Kyang
(wild ass), Pica
Typical Birds: Black necked crane, Lammergeier,
Great crested grebe, Bar-headed goose, Ruddy shel duck,
Major Environmental Problems: Rampant
deforestation in Eastern Tibet, poaching of large
Average Altitude: 14,000 ft.
Highest Mountain: Chomo Langma (Mt. Everest) 29,
Average Rainfall: Varies widely. In the west it
is 1 mm in Jan. to 25 mm in July. In the east, it is
25-50 in Jan. and 800 in July
Average Temperature: July 58 f; Jan. 24 f.
Mineral Deposits: Borax, uranium, iron, chromite,
Major Rivers: Mekong, Yangtse, Salween, Tsangpo,
Tibetans: predominantly in agriculture and animal
Chinese: predominantly in government, commerce and
the service sector.
Provinces: U-Tsang (Central Tibet), Amdo (N.E.
Tibet), Kham (S.E. Tibet)
Bordering Countries: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma,
National Flag: Snow lions with red and blue rays.
Outlawed in Tibet.
Religious Leader: The 14th Dalai Lama. In exile
in Dharamsala, India.
Government: IN EXILE Parliamentary
Relationship with People Republic of China: