From Beijing's perspective, the Chinese Peoples Army marched into Tibet in 1950 to liberate the Tibetan people from the feudal and repressive rule of the Lamas. China cited centuries of serfdom suffered by Tibetan society under the yoke of its dominant monasteries. The Tibetan people "welcomed" the liberation. The subsequent modernisation of the "Tibet Autonomous Region" has since been due entirely to the efforts of China.

Concerning Tibet, China sees the Dalai Lama and "his clique" as the main enemy. The series of self-immolations over recent years have been incited by the "Dalai clique" – yet are incompatible with Buddhist teachings. 

In the west, political analysts see China's policy and position as influenced by super-power interests. The Tibetan high plateau is the most important watershed in Asia. It is rich in the most precious raw materials such as chrome, copper, magnesite, boron, lead, oil, gold, iron, lithium, potassium chloride, aluminium and zinc. Exploitation of these resources is a focal point of the Chinese government's current Five-Year Plan.