Went to the International Night at kid's elementary school. It was quite fun for the kids. I met an old gentleman from Pakistan who worked in their Embassy in Beijing in the 70's. He had good feelings towards China.
An old couple, likely from Palestine, asked the small group of us Chinese there, what is that China want from Tibet. I honestly could not think of anything materially significant. We told them that China just wants Tibet since Tibet was a part of China. Even though there have been many variables in the history between the two peoples. But the history is not like that of the Middle East, between Palestine and Israel. After hearing us, they said that side of the story had not been told. Indeed.
Tibet has been part of China since the 1300's. I am guessing the weakness of that society of the past probably had much to do with its structure besides the harsh natural environment conditions. I can only guess how much it took the whole society to feed all those number of monks. For those who were in the monastery system, life might not be bad. But for those at the bottom of the society who had to carry all the burden for producing, feeding and caring for the monasteries, I can not even begin to imagine how heavy the load must have been.
It simply is no surprise that one would prefer to sit on his butt and pray all day if all possible. It is no surprise that there are people who want a "free Tibet" that allow them to do just that. But judging from history, a "free Tibet" is simply an open invitation for the world powers to go in there to assert their influence for their own interests instead of Tibetans'. Just look at what the CIA did in Tibet in the 50's, I really wonder how the Tibetans in exile could bring themselves to seek support in the US government. They are so obviously expendable in those Americans' eyes.
It is also no surprise that, while much of Europe are joining the Union, the west is so bent on splitting China apart. Like we Americans say, "united we stand". That same thing is true for any people of the world. Imagine if the nations of the Middle East were united, would the Iraq war happen? Maybe yes, but more likely not.