What is the TAR or Tibetan Autonomous Region ?  What is “Greater Tibet”?

TAR or Tibetan Autonomous Region or U-Tsang

Greater Ethnographic-Cultural Tibet within China:  TAR & Amdo & Kham

The Tibetan Autonomous Region - or TAR - is what you see on left hand map of China (red, lower left corner) and the pink color portion of the map on the right. The TAR’s boundaries are close in size and shape to the boundaries of the Tibet that the Dalai Lama asserted political authority over before his departure in 1959.

Ethnographic or cultural Tibet: Ethnographic Tibet refers to a region that has historically been, and presently still is, exclusively or overwhelmingly, comprised of ethnic Tibetans.

Kham and Amdo: Kham and Amdo are ethnographic Tibetan regions. The Tibetan word Kham refers to a region which includes parts of adjacent Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. The Tibetan word Amdo refers to a region which includes parts of Qinghai and Gansu provinces.

Greater Tibet is the TAR plus ethnographic Tibetan areas claimed by the Free Tibet movement that lie outside the TAR. This area includes Kham and Amdo (combined in orange color area in the right side map). Greater Tibet thus combines the red TAR area plus the orange area.

The PRC placed Kham and Amdo under the political jurisdiction of several provinces instead of merging them into the TAR. Historically, ethnic Tibetans of Kham and Amdo have often been independent of, and at times at odds with, Lhasa’s political jurisdiction. But ethnographically speaking, they are Tibetans culturally, linguistically, and religiously.

Other ethnographic Tibetan areas include regions in India (Ladakh, Arunancha Pradesh, & Sikkim), Bhutan, and Nepal. The Free Tibet Movement does not claim these ethnographic areas as part of an Independent Tibetan nation nor for a Greater Tibet.

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