The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), also called Xizang Autonomous Region, is a province-level autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) (or a Country in its own right, depending on your political persuasion).

Within the People’s Republic of China, Tibet is identified with the Autonomous Region, which includes about half of historical Tibet, including the traditional provinces of Ü-Tsang and Kham (western half). Its borders coincide roughly with the actual zone of control of the government of Tibet before 1959. Tibet is the second-largest province of China by area (spanning over 470,000 sq mi/1,200,000 km2) after Xinjiang. Unlike other autonomous regions, the vast majority of inhabitants are of the local ethnicity.

Tibet is under the administration of the People’s Republic of China. The Central Tibetan Administration, commonly referred to as the Tibetan Government in Exile and headed by the Dalai Lama considers this situation an illegitimate military occupation and holds that Tibet is a distinct sovereign nation with a long history of independence, though the Dalai Lama currently does not seek full independence for Tibet, but would accept an autonomous status similar to that now held by Hong Kong.

The Tibet Autonomous Region is located on the Tibetan Plateau, the highest region on Earth. In northern Tibet elevations reach an average of over 4,572 metres (15,000 ft). Mount Everest lies on Xizang’s border with Nepal.

Xinjiang, Qinghai and Sichuan lie to the north and east of the region; Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh to the west; and Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh to the south. Tibet also shares a short southeastern border with the PRC province of Yunnan.

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