A Question About Tibet
March 30, 2008, 04:44 PM
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I have a questioned I've never seen asked about the basic biological feasibility of China's ongoing occupation and settlement of Tibet. The Chinese see Tibet as underpopulated, and have been sending lots of Han Chinese to live there, which has finally caused a violent reaction by the Buddhist Tibetans.

But, can Han Chinese women reproduce enough at those altitudes?

We know that white women suffer a very large number of miscarriages on the Altiplano of Bolivia and Peru, so that the population of the highlands is still overwhelmingly Indian almost 500 years after Pizarro. La Paz, Bolivia is in a deep canyon, with the richest (whitest) neighborhoods at the lowest point, below 10,000 feet.

Lhasa is at about 12,000 feet and much of the rest of Tibet is higher, making it even higher than the Altiplano on average.

Do Han Chinese women have lots of miscarriages in Tibet? Or are they better biologically adapted to extreme altitude? We know the famous Tibetan Sherpas of Nepal have a biological adaptation to high altitude, but do the lowland Chinese?

This question would seem to have significant implications for whether Chinese colonization of Tibet makes sense. If the Chinese are just letting themselves in for a lot of personal heartbreak by trying to form families at 12,000 feet, maybe their government could be persuaded to just give up on their settlement plan and let the Tibetans have Tibet.