The flag of Tibet is often used as a symbol of the Tibetan independence movement. It was introduced by the 13th Dalai Lama in the early 20th century and is currently used by the Tibetan Government in Exile in India.
Orange refers to Tibet's original land boundaries, subdivided into provinces by China and designated as Tibetan (and other ethnic minorities) autonomous areas.
According to the 14th Dalai Lama, the CIA supported the Tibetan independence movement in the 1960's "not because they (the CIA) cared about Tibetan independence, but as part of their worldwide efforts to destabilize all communist governments".
Tibet Autonomous Region
Atrocities in Tibet sign. Manali
Gansu Province
"Free Tibet" LED Banner at Bird's Nest, Beijing, 19 August 2008.
Qinghai Province
Pro-Tibetan protesters come into contact with pro-Chinese protesters in San Francisco
Sichuan Province
Sign from 2008 Olympic protests
Tibetans arrested by Chinese authorities. The signs list their crime and their name.

According to the Tibetan Independence Movement, Tibetans in Lhasa were angered by inflation that caused the prices of food and consumer goods to increase.

- 2008 Tibetan unrest

The main mosque in Lhasa was burned down by Tibetans and Chinese Hui Muslims were violently assaulted by Tibetan rioters in the 2008 Tibetan unrest.

- Tibetan independence movement

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Map of the approximate extent of the three provinces, Ü-Tsang, Amdo, and Kham, of the Tibetan Empire (8th century) overlaid on a map of modern borders.


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Region in East Asia covering much of the Tibetan Plateau spanning about 2500000 km2.

Region in East Asia covering much of the Tibetan Plateau spanning about 2500000 km2.

Map of the approximate extent of the three provinces, Ü-Tsang, Amdo, and Kham, of the Tibetan Empire (8th century) overlaid on a map of modern borders.
Ethnolinguistic map of Tibet (1967)
Tibetan family in Kham attending a horse festival
Rishabhanatha, the first Tirthankara of Jainism is considered to have attained nirvana near Mount Kailash in Tibet in Jain tradition.
King Songtsen Gampo
Map of the Tibetan Empire at its greatest extent between the 780s and the 790s CE
Miran fort
The Mongol Yuan dynasty, c. 1294.
Gyantse Fortress
Potala Palace
Putuo Zongcheng Temple, a Buddhist temple complex in Chengde, Hebei, built between 1767 and 1771. The temple was modeled after the Potala Palace.
Edmund Geer during the 1938–1939 German expedition to Tibet
Rogyapas, an outcast group, early 20th century. Their hereditary occupation included disposal of corpses and leather work.
A poster saying "Thank you India. 50 years in Exile." Manali. 2010
Tibetan Plateau and surrounding areas above 1600 m – topography. Tibet is often called the "roof of the world".
Himalayas, on the southern rim of the Tibetan plateau
View over Lhasa. 1993
Yarlung Tsangpo River
Yamdrok Lake
Basum Tso in Gongbo'gyamda County, eastern Tibet
Looking across the square at Jokhang temple, Lhasa
The Tibetan yak is an integral part of Tibetan life
Pastoral nomads constitute about 40% of the ethnic Tibetan population.
Tromzikhang market in Lhasa
Tibetan Lamanis, c. 1905
An elderly Tibetan woman in Lhasa
Tibetan cultural zone
Buddhist monks practicing debate in Drepung Monastery
The Phugtal Monastery in south-east Zanskar
The Lhasa Great Mosque
A Ceremonial Priest's Yak Bone Apron - Courtesy the Wovensouls Collection
The Monlam Prayer Festival
Thukpa with Momo – Tibetan Style
A thangka painting in Sikkim
A ritual box
Monkhood in Tibet, Xigatse area, August 2005

There are tensions regarding Tibet's political status and dissident groups that are active in exile.

Human rights organisations have been critical of the Beijing and Lhasa governments' approach to human rights in the region when cracking down on separatist convulsions that have occurred around monasteries and cities, most recently in the 2008 Tibetan unrest.

The Dalai Lama in 2012

14th Dalai Lama

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Current Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader and former head of state of Tibet.

Current Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader and former head of state of Tibet.

The Dalai Lama in 2012
The Dalai Lama as a child
House where the 14th Dalai Lama was born in Taktser, Amdo
Lhasa's Potala Palace, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, pictured in 2019
Territorial extent of Tibet and approximate line of the Chinese Communist advance in 1950
An iconic photo showing Panchen Lama (left), Mao and Dalai Lama (right) at Qinzheng Hall on 11 September 1954, four days before they attended the 1st National People's Congress.
Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai meeting with Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama to celebrate Tibetan New Year, 1955
Rare shot of an adult Dalai Lama (right) and Panchen Lama (left) without eyeglasses. 1954–1955.
Abandoned former quarters of the Dalai Lama at the Potala. The empty vestment placed on the throne symbolises his absence
In 1967, Dalai Lama was out of India for the first time since he resided there from 1959. The Japanese government granted him visa on the condition he would not attack PRC while in Japan.
The flag of Tibet (designed by the 13th Dalai Lama) shares the stage with Gyatso on 10 April 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland
Gyatso during a visit to Washington, D.C. in 1997
Gyatso giving teachings at Sissu, Lahaul
The Dalai Lama's main teaching room at Dharamshala
Dalai Lama conferring Kalachakra initiation at Bodh Gaya, India, December 1985
Overview of teaching venue at Bodh Gaya Kalachakra, 1985
Remains of Dalai Lama's Baby Austin car. Lhasa, 1993
Remains of Dalai Lama's Dodge car. Lhasa, 1993
The Dalai Lama in Vienna, Austria, in 2012
Stone Plaque at a plantation by Tenzin in Amaravathi
The Dalai Lama meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in 2016
Buddhist temple in Kalmykia, Russia
The Dalai Lama meeting with Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner in 2011
The Congressional Gold Medal was awarded to Tenzin Gyatso in 2007
The Dalai Lama receiving a Congressional Gold Medal in 2007. From left: Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Senate President pro tempore Robert Byrd and U.S. President George W. Bush

In October 2008 in Japan, the Dalai Lama addressed the 2008 Tibetan violence that had erupted and that the Chinese government accused him of fomenting.

In a speech at Kolkata in 2017, the Dalai Lama stated that Tibetans wanted to stay with China and they did not desire independence.

Emblem of the 2008 Summer Olympics

2008 Summer Olympics

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International multisport event held from 8 to 24 August 2008, in Beijing, China.

International multisport event held from 8 to 24 August 2008, in Beijing, China.

Emblem of the 2008 Summer Olympics
Olympic Green, from above
Beijing National Stadium, or "Bird's Nest"
National Aquatics Center or "Water Cuber"
National Indoor Stadium
Wukesong Indoor Stadium
A map of the Olympic venues in Beijing. Several expressways encircle the center of the city, providing for quick transportation around the city and between venues.
Inside Beijing National Stadium during the Games. Olympic cauldron in background.
2008 Olympic Torch in Vilnius, Lithuania
Route of the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay
Opening Ceremony.
Ilias Iliadis led the Greek team into the Bird's Nest as the traditional first contingent.
Yao Ming and Lin Hao led the host country.
The lighting of the Olympic Cauldron.
Chinese gymnast Li Ning after igniting the cauldron.
The reverse side of the medals of the 2008 Summer Olympics: silver (left), gold (center), bronze (right). Each medal has a ring of jade.
Participating nations
Blue = Participating for the first time.
 Green = Have previously participated.
Yellow square is host city (Beijing)
Team sizes
Flag of the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee.
The banner reads: "Human Rights Abuse Cannot Co-exist with Beijing Olympics", picture taken during the opening of the Human Rights Torch Relay event
Beijing 2008 cauldron in 2013

Following the announcement of the motto, the phrase was used by international advocates of Tibetan secession.

The torch relay was described as a "public relations disaster" for China by USA Today, with protests against China's human rights record, particularly focused on Tibet.