From Boston Globe:
The Chinese have never really understood why the West makes such a fuss about Tibet. China has crushed Tibet, and brought in settlers to swamp its culture. But by their lights they have brought modernity and a better life to a feudal society groaning under the rule of lamas.
They call the exiled Dalai Lama a “splittist,” which sounds comic to Western ears, but carries all the deep Chinese fears that forces are conspiring to split up the ancient domain of China which, through the ages, has often disintegrated into warring factions, only to be reunited again when China was strong.
Tibet has for centuries been considered a satrapy of China, although it had virtual independence when China was weak. Tibet is not internationally recognized as an independent country. Not even the Dalai Lama himself insists on independence. Yet China trembles. [Full Text]