Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Paul Nietupski


This paper explores the uncertain future of Tibetan Buddhism within the TAR based on historical and contemporary indicators. This paper demonstrates that Tibet and China are at a critical juncture that, if mishandled, will result in disastrous effects for Tibetan Buddhism. This paper is not seeking to predict the future of Tibetan-Chinese relations but uses available evidence to gauge the most likely outcome for Tibetan Buddhism inside the TAR. In doing so, it becomes evident that in the next decade, Tibetan Buddhism within the TAR will likely experience heightened oppression, a crackdown on any dissent towards the CCP, and a fundamental transformation in how the religion can be practiced. All such predictions are due to the immense value the CCP believes Tibet offers the Party in achieving its strategic objectives. The historical relationship between China and Tibet from the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 is explored to support this argument. Next, Tibet's strategic importance for the CCP is outlined to showcase why Tibet is considered essential. In addition, the part Xi Jinping plays in the future of Tibet is explained to demonstrate the shifting dynamics within China and the high importance placed on national security. Subsequently, the contemporary social situation in Tibet will be detailed to show the ongoing oppressive nature of the CCP’s stances towards Tibet. The paper concludes by synthesizing the material to demonstrate that Chinese-Tibetan relations will enter a threatening phase in the near future.

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