In the next few days and weeks, I will post on this blog relevant documents to show that Beijing's views are blatantly one-sided.
The White Paper starts thus:
The People's Republic of China is a united multi-ethnic country created through the joined efforts of the peoples of all the ethnic groups in China. Over the long course of history, these ethnic groups have grown into a single community that responds to each and every challenge under the single name of the Chinese nation. Tibet has been a part of China's territory since ancient times, and the Tibetans have been one communal member of the Chinese nation. The destiny of Tibet has always been closely connected with the destiny of the great motherland and the Chinese nation.When the State Council states: "Tibet has been a part of China's territory since ancient times, and the Tibetans have been one communal member of the Chinese nation," it is not historically not true.
Down through the ages, the Tibetan people have created a brilliant history and culture, and contributed to the enrichment and development of Chinese overall history and culture. However, the social system of Tibet remained one of theocratic feudal serfdom until the mid-20th century, with an economy that was extremely underdeveloped, and a society that was conservative, closed and backward.
Tibet first began to embrace modern civilization only after the People's Republic was founded in 1949. Having going through such important phases as peaceful liberation, democratic reform, establishment of the Tibet Autonomous Region, and introduction of reform and opening up, Tibet has not only established a new social system, but also witnessed great historical leap forward in its economy and embarked on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Please note that Beijing does not give anymore a date for Tibet 'joining' China. Previous White Papers mention that the incorporation of Tibet occurred during the Yuan dynasty.
A White Paper entitled Tibet -- Its Ownership And Human Rights Situation published in September 1992 states:
The regime of the Mongol Khanate changed its title to Yuan in 1271 and unified the whole of China in 1279, establishing a central government, which, following the Han (206 BC-220) and Tang dynasties, achieved great unification of various regions and races within the domain of China. Tibet became an administrative region directly under the administration of the central government of China's Yuan Dynasty.Since then, Beijing has discovered that the Yuans were Mongols and not Chinese, so Tibet has become part of China from 'ancient times' now, it is safer.
But facts tell us something else: before its invasion by the People's Liberation Army in 1950, Tibet was a de facto independent country with strong cultural, historical and political connections with India.
I am posting today a long memorandum sent on July 13, 1950, by the Office of the High Commissioner for United Kingdom in Delhi to S.N. Haksar, Joint Secretary in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
It is a sort of briefing for the newly independent Indian Government.
This was written just three months before Tibet was invaded.
Secret Memorandum regarding Tibet’s relations with China prepared in the Research Department of the Foreign Office in London(The titles in bold appear in the margin in the original)
(FT 10310/1) TIB/1/49
Early HistoryTIBET RELATIONS WITH CHINA
Between 630 and 838 A.D. Tibet was an important Power in Asia and her kings controlled large areas outside Tibet proper, including what is now Nepal and Bengal. After the murder of one of their kings in 838, however, the influence of Tantric Buddhism and the growth of the Lama monasteries promoted political and religious dissensions that so weakened the monarchy as to render it unable to resist the numerous tribal Chieftains and heads of monasteries in their efforts to establish their local independence. A period of more or less peaceful feudalism ensued until in 1270 Khublai Khan, the first Mongol Emperor of China, became a convert to the unreformed sect of Buddhism, known as ‘Red Hats’. As the unreformed sect is non-celibate, its monasteries were often headed by hereditary abbots and, with Khublai Khan's help, the hereditary prince-abbots reunited Tibet. With the fall of the Mongol Empire, the power of the ‘Red Hats’ also came to an end, to be replaced by that of the ‘Yellow Hats’, the reformed sect known as the Gelugpa (‘virtuous ones’), of which the Dalai Lama is the head. But it was not until 1641 that, with the help of the Qelot Mongols, the Dalai Lamas succeeded in securing active secular as well as religious authority.
The Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is the incarnation of the Bodhisattva Avalokita, or Chen-re-zi, patron deity of Tibet. After the death of each Dalai Lama, the 30dhisattva incarnates himself in a new-born child.
It is of interest to note, however that reincarnation need not necessarily take place immediately the death occurs. In "Portrait of the Dalai Lama" Sir Charles Bell states that "in several cases the Dalai Lama was not reborn till eighteen months or more after death".
While the child is being found and during his minority, Tibet is ruled by a Regent selected by the National Assembly of High Lamas and nobles.
Composition of the Government
In the administration of State, the Dalai Lama presides over the Council of the Chutukis (Abbots) of the greater monasteries; below these are the Chumbilkhan, or Abbots of the lesser monasteries.
The chief administrative organ is the Kashag, or Council of Four - one monk and three laymen. The senior member of the Council has at times been a layman, but more usually he is the monk known as the Kalon Lama, who also has acted as one of the two Commanders-in-Chief of the Tibetan Army.
There is a Prime Minister who is not a member of the Kashag. Recommendations are submitted by the Kashag to the Prime Minister who, in turn, may refer them to the Dalai Lama, or the Regent, as the case may be.
On all important mutters, especially those relating to foreign affairs, the monasteries and oracles are consulted. It is not clear if this is done independently or through the National Assembly, which is best described as a sort of feudal Grand Council which high ecclesiastics and nobles have the right to attend. As is usually the case during the minority of a Dalai tama, the National Assembly has been more frequently consul t e d on important matters of foreign affairs since t he death in 1933 of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama.
Early Tibetan relations with China, the Mongols and Manchus
The history of Tibet's relations with China is known to date back to about 640 A.D., when one of Tibet's kings married a Chinese princess of the T'ang Dynasty. The earliest known treaty between Tibet and China is that of 822 A.D., inscribed on these identical pillars at thasa, Hsiao and onthe Kansu-Chinghai border in the neighbourhood of Hsining [Xining], by which the two States record their mutual desire for peace and neighbourly relations.
Dalai Lama establishes for himself temporal, as well as spiritual control
In 1641 the Fifth Dalai Lama succeeded in establishing temporal as Well as religious authority over Tibet through the help of the Qelot Mongols. But the Mongol-Tibetan alliance gave cause for uneasiness in Peking and e2rly in the eighteenth century the Manchu rulers of China succeeded in occupying Lhasa and establishing a certain degree of military control in Tibet. This was eventually consolidated by the armies of the Manchu Emperor, Chien jung, who took advantage of the despatch of his force a to repel n Gurkha invasion of Tibet in 1792 to exact formal recognition of Chinese suzerainty and the establishment of a Chinese Amban, or Resident, in Lhasa.
Early Western interest in Tibet
Trade Regulations, 1893
The Chefoo Convention of 1876 provided for a British Mission of Exploration to proceed to Tibet the following year; but this expedition never took place. In 1888 a British expedition repelled a Tibetan invasion of Sikkim and this trouble was settled officially by an Anglo-Chinese Convention which was signed at Calcutta in March, 1890, and. followed by the signing of Trade Regulations at Darjeeling in the winter of 1693.
Anglo-Tibetan Convention of 1904 confirmed in Anglo-Chinese Convention of 1906
The weakening of Manchu authority prompted the Tibetan Government, which harboured fears and suspicions concerning British designs on Tibet, to repudiate the 1890 Convention and to angle instead for Russian help. In consequence, in 1904, a British military and diplomatic Mission under Colonel Younghusband forced its way to Lhasa and concluded a convention with the Tibetan Government in the autumn of that year. This Agreement was subsequently confirmed by a convention between Great Britain and China in 1906, which, in effect, recognised Chinese suzerainty and left China frc8 to intervene in Tibet.
Anglo-Russian Convention, 1907
In 1907 an Anglo-Russian Convention bound both the contracting countries to respect the territorial integrity of Tibet and to abstain from interference in its internal administration.
Chinese Policy in Tibet
The Chinese were quick to realise that British policy in Tibet might be turned to their advantages. Tibetan resistance had been broken down by the Younghusband expedition of 1904, while the Peking Convention of 1906 and the Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1907 had left the Chinese a free hand in Tibet and precluded any foreign interference with their plans to reduce the country to a Province of China.
Chao Erh-feng campaign
Dalai Lama from exile in India
Between the years 1905 and 1911, therefore, an active campaign was carried on by Chao Erh-feng, one of China's most able military leaders. Entering Tibet from Szechuan, he made rapid progress in conquering Eastern Tibet and by 1910 was successful in occupying Lhasa, expelling the Dalai Lama and overthrowing the Tibetan Government. But by the autumn of 1911 the Chinese revolution and the fall of the Manchu dynasty brought about the collapse of Chinese authority in Tibet. The Chinese forces were driven eastward from returns Lhasa and the Dalai Lama returned from exile in India.
Chinese Republican Government claims to sovereignty over Tibet by inheritance
Nevertheless, the Chinese Republican Government, which succeeded the Manchu dynasty, made immediate sovereignty claims over all the regions which had been subject to the former Manchu Empire.
Yuan Shih-kai issues order that Tibet be regarded as Chinese Province
In April 1912, Yuan Shih-kai, the President of the Chinese Re0ublic, once more announced that Tibet was to be regarded as being on an equal footing with the provinces of China proper and that all administrative matters connected with it were to come within the sphere of internal administration. In spite of a warning that His Majesty's Government were in intimate treaty relations with the Government of Tibet, and were not prepared, therefore, to recognise the absorption of the country, the Chinese authorities continued their aggressive policy. (Memorandum to Chinese Government 17th August, 1912).
Necessity for Britain to safeguard status quo in Tibet
The Tibetans now met the Chinese advance with armed opposition and it became clear that action on the part of His Majesty's Government was essential to allay anxiety and unrest on the Indian frontier by ensuring the restoration of peace in Tibet. Also the Urga Protocol and the Russo-Mongolian Agreement of 1912 made it of great importance that the special interests of Great Britain in the maintenance of the status quo in Tibet should be safeguarded.
Simla Convention of 1914
Invitations to attend a tripartite conference in India were issued, therefore, to the Governments of Tibet and. China in May, 1913. China demurred at being asked to meet Tibet on equal terms and suggested a separate discussion with the representative of the Government of India. But, on being told that the British and Tibetan Governments were prepared to make a dual settlement, China finally accepted and the plenipotentiaries of the three Governments assembled at Simla on the 13th October.
Tripartite discussions. Aims of Govt of India
In these negotiations, the Government of India were primarily interested in attaining an agreement that would provide an autonomous Tibet, under a nominal Chinese suzerainty but separated from China proper by a zone of Tibetan-inhabited territory in which China would exercise undisputed authority, to be known as “Inner Tibet”.
Aims of Govt. of Tibet
The Tibetan Government entered the Conference with considerably grander aims, which amounted to a demand for the complete independence from Chinese control of all territory populated by people of Tibetan race and the recognition of a completely autonomous State with its eastern boundaries extending from Sining [Xining] in the north to a point east of Tachienlu.
Aims of Chinese Government
China, on the other hand, visualised a return to a Tibet confined to a comparatively small area round Lhasa, nominally autonomous but, in fact, subject to as rigid Chinese control as existed in the hey-day of Chao Erh-feng's campaign.
Agreement reached by plenipotentiaries but repudiated by Chinese Government
Despite these widely conflicting aims, agreement among the plenipotentiaries was reached. And before the Conference finally dispersed in the summer of 1914, a draft Convention, based on the views of 'the Indian Government was formally initialled
Terms of Simla Convention
The terms agreed upon provided for the recognition of Chinese suzerainty over all Tibet; an undertaking on the part of China not to convert Tibet; into a Chinese province; an undertaking by Great Britain not to annex any part of Tibet; the appointment by China of an Amban to Lhasa with an escort of not more than 300 soldiers; the right of the British Agent at Gyantse to visit Lhasa should commercial problems occur that were not susceptible of settlement at Gyantse; the division of Tibet into two zones, Outer Tibet and Inner Tibet, the boundary between them being the former Sino-Tibetan boundary of 1727; Tibetan administration of Outer Tibet to be free from all Chinese interference; the Central Tibetan Government at Lhasa to retain their existing rights in Inner Tibet, including control of most of the monasteries and the appointment of local chiefs, but China to be free 'to send 'troops and officials and to settle colonists there; the boundary of Inner, or Eastern, Tibet; with China to be roughly what the Tibetans were claiming.
Chinese Government repudiates Convention initialled by her plenipotentiary.
Subsequently, however, the Chinese Government declared that their representative had initialled the draft Convention without prior reference to them and, on the ground that it transferred Chinese territory to Tibet, they refused to ratify the Agreement.
Russia informed of Simla Convention, 1914
H.M. Government and Tibet Govt sign undertaking to regard Simla Convention as binding between Britain and Tibet
H.M. Govt. no longer regard Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907 as operative, 1920
His Majesty's Government then informed the Tibetan Government that they regarded the draft Convention as binding and that, in the event of China continuing to pursue an aggressive policy, Tibet could rely on receiving diplomatic support and such assistance as His Majesty's Government might find possible to give in the supply of munitions. Sir Henry McMahon and Lonchen Shatra then initialled a convention similar to that already initialed by the representatives of the three countries concerned, except that it contained a modified Article X. Sir Henry McMahon and Lonchen Shatra also signed a declaration acknowledging the Convention, as modified, to be binding on the two Governments concerned, and agreeing that so long as the Chinese Government withheld signature, China would be debarred from participating in any of the privileges resulting there1rom. This arrangement necessitated an Anglo-Russian exchange of views in which Russia did not see entirely eye to eye with His Majesty's Government, more particularly in the matter of concessions and the provision for a British Officer to visit Lhasa from time to time. Later, in 1920, His Majesty's Government decided that the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907 concerning Tibet could no longer be considered as valid.
Chinese Govt. accept, with the exception of the boundary clause, all terms of Simla Convention in principle. Refuse to recognise any agreement with Tibet in which China is not a party, 1914
The Chinese Government displayed considerable anxiety over the way matters were shaping as the result of their refusal to ratify the draft Simla Convention and, while continuing to stress their determination not to recognise any agreement entered into with Tibet to which they were not a party, they took pains to state in a formal communication to His Majesty's Government in London that, except for the boundary clause they accepted the Convention in principle. This communication also stated that the Chinese Government did not consider the negotiations at an end and that, in the hope of reaching a final settlement, their troops had been ordered not to advance against the Tibetans unless attacked.
McMahon boundary accepted
Early in the proceedings at Simla a settlement was reached concerning the frontier between India and Tibet. An agreed line was defined in a map, fixing the boundary for a distance of some 850 miles from Bhutan to the Irawaddy-Salween divide.
Trade Regulations of 1908 superseded by new Regulations
A new set of Trade Regulations was also agreed upon and signed. A number of the restrictions on the trade and activities of British subjects in Tibet which had existed in the previous Trade Regulations of 1908 were now removed. The procedures for the settlement of disputes among British subjects and between British subjects and other nationals were defined and the rules governing the lease of land by British subjects were simplified.
Outbreak of hostilities between Chinese and Tibetan Forces, 1917-8
Mr. Teichman arranges truce at Rongbatsa
The Chinese Government's declared intention to observe a truce in Eastern Tibet remained effective throughout the following three years. But in the latter part of 1917, as the result of a petty outpost dispute and despite the entreaties of the Kalon Lama, the Chinese General stationed at Chamdo ordered his troops to attack the Tibetan forces. Strengthened by a supply of arms and ammunition obtained, strictly for defence purposes, from the Government of India, the Tibetans defeated General Peng Jih-sheng's army and occupied Markam, Druya, Chamdo and Derge. Fighting continued in Eastern Tibet until t he summer of 1918, when the intervention of Mr. (later Sir Eric) Teichman, the British Consular Officer stationed on the frontier, was successful in restoring peace.
1919, China proposes tripartite Agreement on basis of draft Simla Convention of 1914
Negotiations broken off
The Chinese Government, declined to accept responsibility for the position resulting from the 1918 peace negotiations. His Majesty's Minister at Peking, however, continued to press them to take definite steps for the prevention of yet another outbreak of hostilities; and on the 30th May, 1919, the Chinese Foreign Office ultimately put forward proposals for a tripartite agreement based on the Simla Convention of 1914. But the terms proposed were not acceptable to the Tibetans, while student agitations in China, fomented by the Japanese, prevented the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs from attending further meetings of the Peking Conference. In vain did His Majesty's Minister in China explain the serious nature of China's breach of faith in declining to discuss a settlement which China herself had proposed. At length, after procrastinating and contradicting himself for months, the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs declared that any further negotiations for a settlement were out of the question for the time being, but was careful to state, at the same time, that his Government had no intention of resorting to military measures against the Tibetans.
Sir Charles Bell visits Lhasa, 1920-21
Instructions given to Sir Charles Bell
The abrupt suspension of these negotiations caused His Majesty’s Government some anxiety and in April, 1920, His Majesty's Minister at Peking recommended that a British Officer be sent; to Lhasa to mark British disapproval of the Chinese attitude and to encourage the Tibetans. The Government of India were doubtful of the wisdom of this step unless the Officer selected could carry with him either some hope of a settlement with China, or a promise of material support. The Government of India were also opposed to any endeavour to establish permanent representation at Lhasa, but finally decided that Sir Charles Bell should undertake the mission, which occupied just one year, - November 1920 to October, 1921. Sir Charles Bell's instructions were to treat Tibetan requests for assistance sympathetically but to make it clear that he had no authority to promise arms or ammunition. He was to explain the difficulty of making any progress for the time being on account of the disturbed internal state of China; and he was to urge the Tibetan Government, on their part, to avoid hostilities.
Outcome of Sir Charles Bell's Mission to Lhasa.
As a result of Sir Charles Bell's report on his mission to Lhasa, forwarded and approved by the Government of India, on the 26th August, 1921, the Chinese Minister in London was presented with a memorandum, inviting the Chinese Government to resume negotiations without delay either in London or Peking; and stating that, in view of China's formal assurances in 1919 of her acceptance, with the exception of the boundary clause, of the tripartite draft Convention of 1914, providing for Tibetan autonomy under Chinese suzerainty, His Majesty's Government did not feel justified in withholding their recognition of the status of Tibet as an autonomous State under the suzerainty of China and that, failing a resumption of negotiations in the immediate future, Tibet would be dealt with on this basis.
Chaotic state of China and preparations for Washington Conference preclude re-opening of negotiations, 1921
These views were also explained verbally to the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs in puking, who pleaded that preparations for the Washington Conference, the chaotic state of the country, coupled with the precarious situation of the Government, precluded the possibility of reopening negotiations immediately. Sir Charles Bell was accordingly instructed to communicate the Chinese explanation to the Dalai tama and to state that His Majesty's Government replied on the Government of Tibet to refrain from provocative action pending the fulfillment of the Chinese assurance 'to resume negotiations after the Washington Conference.
China-Tibet boundary line in 1931
Although China had given no formal assurance of non-aggression, the continued faithfully to adhere to her announced policy of refraining from taking military measures against Tibet and, disturbed only from 'time to time by petty local frontier brushes, the Rongbatsa (Teichman) truce of 1918 held until 1931. The position in Eastern Tibet during this period was, briefly, that the Tibetans held the province of Markam in south to, and including the large District of Derge in the north while the Chinese remained in occupation of the conterminous district of Batang, Nyarong and Kanze - the Rongbatsa valley on the north road between Kanze and Derge being tacitly accepted by both parties us no-man's-land.
Boundary dispute with Kashmir, 1921
Trouble between Tibet and Nepal, 1929
In the meantime the Tibetan Government, freed from the immediate threat of Chinese aggression, turned its attention more to the west and to internal affairs than to the Sino-Tibetan frontier. In 1921 a boundary dispute arose with Kashmir which threatened to disturb the peace. A meeting was ultimately arranged between Tibetan and Kashmir representatives to discuss the Tibetan Government's claim to an area known as Dokpo Karpo and other outstanding problems, including that of the exchange of detained subjects.
Finally it was agreed that there was, as in most grazing countries, no fixed boundary and it would be better to forget about the case. In the autumn of 1929 a crisis occurred in Tibet’s relations with Nepal which caused considerable anxiety to both His Majesty's Government and the Government of India.
Both sides made active preparations for war and the Government of India were in the unenviable position of being pledged to supply arms to each of the rivals. Eventually the Government of India sent Sadar Bahadur Laden La to Lhasa to settle the dispute, which was over an escape from a Tibetan prison of a Nepalese subject who had taken refuge in the Nepalese Legation, and to persuade the Dalai Lama to offer the Maharaja of Nepal an apology, couched in a formula drafted by the Government of India. the apology, which was sent by the Kashag, was accepted and hostilities averted.
Govt. of India promises not to interfere in Tibet’s internal affairs
Dalai Lama surrounds himself with anti-British Ministers.
Trouble between Dalai and Panchen Lamas
Tashi or Panchen Lama:
Escapes to China
Before the representative of the Indian Government left Lhasa he communicated to the Dalai Lama an assurance from his Government of their determination to avoid interference in the internal affairs of Tibet this assurance must no doubt have come as some comfort to the Dalai Lama, who by now had surrounded himself with a group of Lama officials whose leanings were strongly anti-British and one of whom, Lungshar, was instrumental in causing a breach between the Dalai and Pachen, or Tashi, Lamas. The Panchen or Tashi Lama is the reincarnation of the Buddha Amitabha and the head of the Tashilunpo Monastery situated near Shigatse to the west of Lhasa, technically the Panchen Lama is the spiritual superior of the Dalai Lama, but in practice he has always been the spiritual second in command. He has no temporal authority outside the few estates with which his monastery is endowed for upkeep purposes. In 1922 the Dalai Lama's Government seized and imprisoned at Lhasa a number of Tashilunpo officials as a reminder to the Tashi Lama that he had not paid the contribution demanded of him toward the upkeep of the Lhasa army, tension increased and in 1923 the Tashi Lama fled secretly to Peking. With him went most of the more influential monks of the Tashilunpo, who have become known as the "monks in exile" and who have remained a potential source of danger to the Lhasa Government.
Sympathy for and desire to return to Tibet
H.M. Minister good offices sough, 1927
In many parts of Tibet there was strong sympathy for the Tashi Lama and a desire for his return. Although he had long since ceased to exercise any temporal power, his religious authority remained considerable. He himself was known soon after his departure to have regretted the step and to have wished to return and the Government of India, concerned for the safety of Tibet were equally anxious to see him back, but were debarred from action by their declared policy of non-intervention in Tibet’s domestic affairs. thus, when in the summer of 1927 the Tashi Lama sent an emissary to His Majesty's Legation in Peking to ask if arrangements could be made to call a conference between representatives of the Government of India, the Dalai Lama and the Tashi Lama, he was informed that any suggestion of such a conference was premature, but that if the Tashi Lama would make a definite statement of what he wanted, his views would be conveyed to the Government of India.
Soviet Agents in Tibet, 1927
In May, 1927, there arrived in Lhasa a party composed of four Russian Buriats and ten Mongols, supposedly on a religious pilgrimage, but whose behaviour soon revealed them as Soviet Agents. Although the Dalai Lama regarded them with considerable suspicion and at first refused to see them, he later granted them an audience at which he is said to have received valuable presents, popularly believed to have been 200 rifles and a substantial quantity of ammunition. Despite the Tibetan Governments show of desiring their departure, the party remained at Lhasa until the end of the year, when the Dalai Lama took a firm line and insisted on their expulsion. two other parties, suspected of being Communists, endeavoured to make their respective ways to Lhasa, but were successfully headed off to Nagchuka and sent out of the country into Ladakh. Nevertheless, early in 1928 another Russian traveller, believed to be a high military official of the U.S.S.R. arrived in Lhasa and remained there for over a year, living in considerable style and cu1tivating an intimate friendship with a number of the higher Tibetan officials. He, too, finally disappeared in 1930, via Nagchuka.
Chinese Provinces of Chinghai and Hsi-kang [Xikang] established
Following the establishment of the Chinese National Government in Nanking in 1928, the two new Chinese Provinces of Chinghai and Hsi-kang were organized. On paper t he western boundary of Hsi-kang was drawn only about a hundred miles east of Lhasa far beyond any point over which China could hope to exercise effective control such the same procedure was followed in respect of Chinghai, the southern and south-western boundaries of which bear little relation to practical administration.
Dispute between monasteries lead to serious Sino-Tibetan trouble, 1930
In 1930 a dispute that was to have serious consequences broke out on the Eastern Tibet border between the two powerful monasteries of Derge (Te-Ko) and Behru (Pai-yu) - both situated in disputed territory. In the spring of 1931, the Tibetan Government sent a powerful force in support of the Derge monastery, whereupon the Behru monastery, which was said to favour the Tashi Lama, appealed to the Chinese for help the Chinese force sent to the scene in response to this appeal was easily defeated by the Tibetans, who advanced eastwards to within n short distance of Tachienlu. In the autumn a cease-fire was negotiated and the Tibetans obtained a provisional rearrangement of the frontier and certain other advantages. In the spring of the following year, however, the Chinese forces, substantially reinforced, returned to the attack and drove the Tibetans back to the line of the Yangtze, the Chinese advance caused extreme nervousness at Lhasa and the Dalai Lama appealed to His Majesty's Government to persuade China to bring hostilities to an end.
Colonel Weir's Mission to Lhasa
H.L G. endeavour to intervene in interests of peace, but Chinese claim dispute is purely domestic affair
Dalai Lama's relations with Chiang Kai-shek
Colonel Weir was sent from Sikkim to examine the situation at Lhasa. On his arrival he was informed that the Tibetan Government were anxious for a settlement with China on the basis of the draft Convention of 1914, and that they placed themselves unreservedly in the hands of His Majesty's Government. In view of the seriousness of the situation to the northern frontier to of India, His Majesty's Government agreed to intercede in the interests of peace, the Chinese Government however, took the stand that the dispute was a purely domestic one and t ha t His Majesty's Government had no Govt. protest and right therefore, to interfere. Indeed, until now the Dalai Lama himself would appear to have held much the same opinion. Despite the frontier trouble, he had maintained friendly intercourse with the Chinese Government exchanging presents and telegrams with Chiang Kai-shek, sending delegates to attend the National People's Convention at Nanking and even establishing a permanent diplomatic representative in the Chinese capital.
Dalai Lama lifts ban on Panchen Lama's return to Tibet
Chinese Govt. propose discussions with direct Govt. advise acceptance
Chinese Govt not prepared to counterance Chinese troops entering Tibet
In October, 1932, however, the Chinese again attacked and defeated the Tibetan forces, compelling them to retire still further. the Dalai Lama now became thoroughly alarmed and his Government quite open about their misgivings concerning the value of British mediation, were prevailed upon only with the utmost difficulty to remove the principle cause of the trouble by lifting the ban on the Tashi Lama's return. A letter from the Dalai Lama, inviting him to come back, was sent to the Tashi Lama through the good offices of the Government of India. Although the Tashi Lama did not in fact return, hostilities ceased, and early in 1933 the Dalai Lama informed the Government of India that the Chinese Government had proposed direct discussions, without British mediation, and that the Chinese were preparing to renew hostilities in the event of Tibet’s refusal to negotiate. the Dalai Lama was informed that in all the circumstances His Majesty's Government were of opinion that it would be well for the Dalai Lama to accept the Chinese offer of direct negotiations, the Dalai Lama replied that he had sent delegates to Nanking, but that so far no discussions had been arranged. Nor, in fact did any negotiations take place. His Majesty's Minister took occasion to inform the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs in the course of conversation that His Majesty's Government were not prepared to acquiesce in Chinese troops entering Tibet and the Minister for Foreign Affairs replied that orders had already been sent to stop the fighting. So, in the absence of any formal settlement the truce held. But the desire of the Chinese Government for direct dealings with Tibet and the acquiescence of His Majesty's Government in the proposal are important.
Death of 13th Dalai Lama, 1933
Fall of Lungshar from power
Emergence of cautious Government
In December, 1933, the thirteenth Dalai Lama died and an internal struggle for power began. The Lord Chamberlain devoured a quantity of broken glass and departed this world, Kunphel La who had enjoyed the ear of the Lama since 1926, fell from grace and he and the leading members of his party were thrown into prison.
In theory the Government lay with the newly appointed young Regent the Prime Minister and the Kashag, but in fact the situation was once again dominated by the anti-British Lungshar. Political chaos continued to rule for some months. But in May t he National Assembly met accused Lungshar of attempting to make himself ting of Tibet and of scheming for the murder of a number of Ministers, had him arrested and thrown into a dungeon after his eyes had been put out. there then emerged an unimpressive but cautious Government which, until the autumn of 1949, appeared particularly careful to refrain from flaunting their claim to independence, but rather endeavoured to preserve it by cultivating the goodwill of Great Britain, India and China.
Chinese Govt. exploit death of Dalai Lama to reassert their authority in Tibet
Huang Mu-sung goes to Lhasa, 1934
The Chinese Government were quick to realise that the death of the Dalai Lama presented them with an opportunity for a settlement on their own terms for Tibet. In January, 1934, General Huang tu-sung, Vice-Chief of General Staff and Social Pacification Commissioner for Sinkiang, was appointed head of a mission to Tibet ostensibly to convey the Chinese Governments condolences on the death of the Dalai Lama. The Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs at Nanking, however, informed His Majesty's Minister to China confidentially t.hat General Huang would take the opportunity to discuss outstanding questions with the Tibetan Regent.
General Huang and his mission arrived in Lhasa at the end of August 1934, and, after making presents of huge sums of money toward the expenses of the Dalai Lama's tomb and the upkeep of the three great monasteries, Sera, Drepong and Ganden, proceeded to cultivate the more important Tibetan officials.
Huang asks Tibet to declare herself one of the Five Races of China and a Republic, 1934
Huang presents memorandum of China's demands on Tibet, 1934
Gradually Huang put his cards on the table. He suggested that Tibet should declare herself one of the Five Races of China and a Republic, and he promised, in return, Chinese sup)ort and protection. In a written memorandum he then made it clear that the real object of his mission was to obtain from the Tibetan Government an acknowledgment of Chinese suzerainty and to induce them to place their foreign relations in the hands of the Chinese Government" to accept the appointment of a Chinese Amban to Lhasa, and to agree to considerate Chinese participation the internal administration of their country.
Tibet rejects China's demands is prepared to recognise Chinese suzerainty, but only conditionally Suffers presence in Lhasa of Chinese representatives, but declines to tolerate interference in country's affairs
After the National Assembly had discussed these proposals for two days, the Kashag informed General Huang that Tibet had been ruled by thirteen Dalai Lamas and the country had no intel1tion of turning itself into a republic now. The Tibetan Government was prepared to admit Chinese suzerainty always provided the Chinese would surrender to the certain territory and would undertake to leave them to manage their own internal affairs. Until such time the Tibetan Government did not acknowledge even the nominal suzerainty of China. In point of fact" they grudgingly suffered the presence of representatives of the Nanking Government in Lhasa; but they resolutely refused to admit any interference in the internal or external affairs of their country.
Huang attempts to coerce Tibet into acceptance of terms by hints of Panchen Lama organising an armed invasion
In his endeavours to compel acceptance of his terms , Huang tried to frighten the Kashag by the application of threats and by broad hints that the Tashi Lama had joined the Republic of China and would likely fight his way back to Tibet by force of arms, in which case the Chinese Government would not try to stop him. To this the Kashag replied that they would fight any invader to the last man.
Huang returns to China, 1934
Chinese propaganda for ‘face’ purposes. Inspired press refers to "Provincial” of capital Lhasa
In November Huang tu-sung returned to China, via India, leaving two members of his Mission behind and also a wireless set and operators to enable Nanking to keep in touch with Tibetan affairs.
The Tibetan Government had displayed unity and resolution in the face of strong pressure and on the whole the Chinese Mission met with scant success. Yet it is interesting to note that for ‘face’ purposes the Nanking Government assumed the compliance of Tibet with their demands. In Shanghai the press capital freely made references to the Provincial capital at Lhasa, to the intended opening of a school in Nanking for Tibetan officials, and to the establishment of Chinese Post Offices in Tibet
Panchen Lama: Chinese preparations to escort back to Tibet
H.M Minister's representations, 1936
Tibet prepares to resist Panchen Lama’s Chinese escort with armed force, 1937
In 1936 the Tibetan Government became alarmed on learning of the Chinese Government's intention to send an armed guard of 300 men to escort back to Tibet the Tashi Lama, who had arrived at Jyekundo.
Fears were entertained that the Chinese Government's decision to send this escort was forerunner of a fresh Chinese occupation and the Tibetans made earnest entreaties to His Majesty's Government to intervene.
Representations were accordingly made by His Majesty's Ambassador in China, based on Article III of the draft Simla Convention of 1914, but the Chinese Government argued that the despatch of an escort was a suitable administrative step for the dignity and protection of the Tashi Lama. The controversy on this point between the Tibetan and Chinese Governments continued throughout 1937 with increasing fervour and in September reports that the Tashi Lama had left Jyekundo for Tibet so alarmed the National Assembly that a decision was taken to mobilise troops to oppose the escort and to appeal to the Government of India to approach the Tashi Lama with a request that he should not bring Chinese soldiers into Tibet; with him. On the 1st December, 1937, however, the matter was finally resolved by the death of the Tashi Lama at Jyekundo.
Chinese attitude towards Tibet
British Mission remains in Lhasa, 1939
Early in 19351 there were indications of a forward Chinese policy towards Tibet. Various steps were taken to strengthen their hold over the new province of Sikang and it soon become clear that the Chinese Government were not prepared to permit the removal of the Tashi Lama's remains to Tibet except on their own terms. In Lhasa the Chinese mission continued to take full advantage of the disturbed conditions caused by the intrigues within the Government over the discovery of a new Dalai Lama. In these circumstances and partly to keep an eye on possible Japanese designs on Tibet the Government of India d0cided that the members of the British Mission left by Sir Basil Gould in 1936 should continue to remain in Lhasa for at least another year. In fact they remained there until 1947, when India took over the mission which she still maintains.
Discovery of the incarnation of Dalai Lama, 1938
Party detained by Governor of Chinghai Province
Chinese embassy London requests transit facilities through India for China's representative to Dalai Lama's enthronement ceremony, 1940
Ma Pu-fang is paid $4m to allow Dalai Lama candidate to proceed to Tibet with only small escort, 1940
Chinese attitude towards enthronement of Dalai Lama, 1940
In 1938 a child to fill the vacancy of Dalai Lama was discovered in Chinese territory in Chinghai Province. The Tibetan Government endeavoured to bring the child to Lhasa secretly, but their plan was discovered by the Provincial Governor, Ma Pu-fang, who detained the party. In February, 1939, the Tibetan Government appealed to the Chinese Government, but the latter were too preoccupied by the war with Japan to take any active part in the dispute with Ma-Pu-fang. Nevertheless they were quick to instruct the Chinese Embassy in London to approach His Majesty’s Government for facilities for Nu Chung-hsin, Chairman of the Committee for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs, to travel through India to Lhasa for the ceremony of selecting a new Dalai Lama. This permission was refused as the Tibetan Government expressed the opinion that Mr. Wu's presence at the ceremony was unnecessary. Eventually the Tibetan Government handed over to Ma Pu-fang the sum of Chinese $ 4,000,000 as the price for the release of the child and for having to accept only a small escort of Chinese soldiers. The Tibetan Government then relented of their first decision and agreed that the Chinese Government should send Wu Chung-hsin to Lhasa for the Installation Ceremony. The Chinese press reported that the Dalai Lama had been "permitted to succeed" by a Chinese Government Mandate of the 5th February, 1940; also that the Regent had accepted a Letter of appointment from the Chinese Government
Object of Wu Chung-hsin's visit to Lhasa
Sir Basil Gould goes to Lhasa attend ceremony of enthronement, 1940
H.M. Government gives assurance of support for Tibet, 1940
Wu Chung-hsin's Mission met with even less success in dispelling Tibetan mistrust or Chinese intentions than did that of Huang Yu-sung five years earlier. In the course of an interview on the 6th March, 1940, the Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs took the opportunity to explain to His Majesty's Ambassador that the object of Wu's visit was to dispel the impression that China had designs on Tibet, and to make it clear that, although China would at all times be ready to help Tibet if called upon to do so, she would not interfere with the development of the country along Tibetan lines. Sir Basil Gould, head of the British to Mission to Lhasa at the time of the young Dalai Lama's enthronement ceremony, was instructed to communicate this Chinese declaration of policy to the Tibetan Government verbally with t he assurance that, if the Chinese Government failed to live up to it, His Majesty's Government and the Government of India would unfailingly afford the Tibetan Government the support which had always been forthcoming since the time of the Thirteenth Dalai Lama in maintaining their practical autonomy.
When Wu Chung-hsin returned to China the post of Chinese Officer at Lhasa was filled by Dr. Kung, an energetic and capable man, but quarrelsome and, although he remained in Lhasa for the next four years, he was continuously involved in minor disputes with the Tibetan Government
Improvement in Sino-Tibetan relations
Tibet's sympathy for China in struggle against Japanese aggression, 1941
In 1941, Sino-Tibetan relations registered a marked improvement. The World War had scarcely affected Tibet, except perhaps in a sharp increase in the cost of living, but a genuine sympathy for China had taken shape in Tibetan minds from the outbreak of hostilities with Japan and, although the pro-Chinese Regent, Reting Rimpoche, retired and his place was token by a Lama of more rigid principles, there was but one major dispute. Even in Eastern Tibet the improvement was marked, where the Chinese in consolidating their influence in the new Province of Hsikang showed considerably more consideration for the Tibetan population than had been generally expected.
Controversy over Chinese Government's desire to construction highway from Szechuan to Assam through Tibetan territory
In February, 1941, China's Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek gave order for the construction of new south-west Szechuan, through Rima in Tibetan territory, to the Assam border. The Tibetan Government were suspicious of Chinese intentions and this was increased when Dr. Kung, the Chinese Officer at Lhasa, notified them that, in consequence of a joint decision by the British and Chinese Governments to build a road through Tibetan territory, a Chinese survey party was above to arrive at Lhasa. The Kashag deliberated the project and their refusal to consent was confirmed by the National Assembly. His Majesty's Government discouraged the idea of a motor road, but; intimated that, if the Chinese Government would make a public statement guaranteeing Tibetan autonomy, they would endeavour to persuade the Tibetan Government to agree to the opening of a supply route by pack animal from Kalimpong, through Central Tibet, to China. But, the Chinese Government insisted that the proposed supply route must be under the control of Chinese officers. The Tibetans would not agree and suggested, instead, a tripartite arrangement which, they felt, would sufficiently safeguard Tibet's autonomy.
The dispute dragged on until, in March, 1943, the Tibetan Government lost patience and stopped all goods for the Chinese Government from passing through their territory pending a settlement between the three Governments of, to them, the main question.
Tibetan Government stop all goods passing through Tibet for Chinese Government, 1943
China threatens to use force
H.M. Ambassador to China asks for confirmation that China has no aggressive intention s against Tibet, 1943
U.S. Government asked to intervene, 1943
U.S. regards Tibet as part of China
China prepared to use force and Ma Pu-fang, the Moslem Governor of Chinghai Province, moved troops to Jyekundo. Tibet mobilized. His Majesty's Government worked to prevent an outbreak of hostilities, which at that stage of the World War would to have been particularly unfortunate In May, 1943, therefore, His Majesty's Ambassador in Chungking requested t he Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs to confirm his confident belief that the Chinese Government had no aggressive intentions against Tibet. The Minister refused to accept this request as a normal diplomatic demarche and make it clear to His Majesty's Ambassador that the Chinese Government regarded Tibet us part of China. The situation had become so critical, by then, that His Majesty's Government considered it wise to request the support of the United States in deterring Chinn from carrying hostilities into Tibet, pointing out the risk that arms supplied by the United States for China's war effort might be used against the Tibetans. The State Department, however, were not willing to be drawn into the dispute and replied that they had no reason to look on Tibet as other than part of the Chinese Republic. In the end the Kashag rescinded the order for the stoppage of Chinese Government supplies and the situation returned to normal.
Mr. Churchill says "no one contests Chinese suzerainty over Tibet”
T.V. Soong expressed hope that H.M.G. would recognise that Tibet was part of China
Confidential memo explaining H.M.G's attitude to Tibet sent to Dr. T.V. Soong, 1943.
In May 1943, also, at the Pacific Council Meeting in Washington, Mr. Winston Churchill, then Prime Minister, told Dr TV. Soong that "no one contests Chinese suzerainty over Tibet." But in July of the same year when t he Chinese Minister for Foreign Affairs (Dr. TV. Soong) was in London he told the secretary of State, Mr. Eden, that whole China had no territorial ambitions, he hoped that His Majesty's Government would recognise Tibet as part of the Chinese dominions. As a result of this remark, Dr. Soong was presented in August with a confidential memorandum which stated that His Majesty's Government have always been prepared to recognise Chinese suzerainty over Tibet, but only on the understanding that Tibet is regarded as autonomous; neither the British Government nor the Government of India have any territorial ambitions in Tibet, but they are interested in the friendly relations with, and the preservation of peaceful conditions in, in area which is conterminous with the north-east frontiers of India; His Majesty's Government would welcome any amicable any arrangement which the Chinese Government might be disposed to make with Tibet whereby the latter recognised Chinese suzerainty in return for an agreed frontier and an undertaking to respect Tibetan autonomy. This communication does not appear to have brought any reply, and, so far, the Chinese Government have never given any formal recognition of Tibetan autonomy beyond their declaration of acceptance of all the provisios, except the boundary clause, of t he draft Simla Convention of 1914, which, however, they never signed.
Two United States officers Journey to Lhasa
Later, two United States officers journeyed to Lhasa with a letter to the Dalai Lama from President Roosevelt, in reply to which the Tibetan Government took the opportunity to refer to United States advocacy of the rights of small nations and Tibet's desire for independence. The main objective of the visit of these two officers, however, appears t o have been to examine the possibility of constructing a motor road from India to China, but this was not disclosed to the Tibetan Government
Tibetan Government anxious to be represented at post war Peace Conference, 1944
Possibility of admitting Tibet membership of the United Nations Organization examined, 1944
Sir Basil Gould in Lhasa, 1944
"In order that the whole world might be aware that Tibet was autonomous", in 1944 the Tibetans asked His Majesty's Government to help in making it possible for them to send a Tibetan Delegation to the post-war Peace Conference. His Majesty's Government considered that such a stop would be entirely inappropriate and that the Tibetan Government would be well advised to seek a direct settlement of their differences With China, in which His Majesty's Government would be ever ready to give such assistance as might be possible. Tibet next turned her attention to the possibility of submitting her dispute with China to the United Nations. China was equally anxious to keep the matter a purely domestic issue. In 1945 the question of admitting Tibet and a number of other non-member countries Nations Organisation to membership of United Nations Organization was considered. For this purpose, however, it would have been necessary to establish Tibet as a state possessing "independent existence", a position which China has not admitted, despite the "speech delivered by Chiang Kai-shek to the Kuomintang Central Executive Committee on the 24th August, 1945, that if the Tibetans should declare a wish for self-government, China would accord Tibet "a very high degree of autonomy". It was felt, therefore, that China would be likely neither to sponsor Tibet's admission, nor to vote for such admission if Tibet, herself, made application for membership to the United Nations Organisation.
China proposes direct negotiations with H.M.G. concerning Tibet
At the end of 1944, the Chinese Officer in Lhasa having previously telegraphed to Chiang Kai-shek in the matter - obviously in the hope of furthering his own advancement - wrote to Sir Basil Gould, who was then in Lhasa on a farewell visit to the Dalai Lama. In his Letter, he asked that when the Government of India despatched a formal invitation to the Chinese Government to discuss Tibetan affairs, he might be informed by telegram; and he suggested that the conference might take place in New Delhi where he might be able to participate in it himself. This proposal was clearly an endeavour to lead the Government of India into direct discussions with the Chinese Government over the Sino-Tibetan dispute, ignoring the Tibetan Government altogether.
Policy of H.M.G. towards Tibet, 1943
The policy of His Majesty's Government towards Tibet had been considered in 1943, and it was decided that His Majesty's Government should ovoid committing themselves to recognition of Chinese suzerainty unconditionally and independently of China's acceptance of Tibetan autonomy and that, if necessary, a warning would be added that if China attempted to upset Tibetan autonomy His Majesty's Government would have to consider withdrawal of recognition of Chinese suzerainty , Sir Basil Gould was accordingly, instructed to inform the Chinese Officer in Lhasa that there was no prospect of His Majesty's Government agreeing to any arrangement which did not preserve the status quo between India and Tibet Sir Basil was not authorised to convey the warning concerning the possible withdrawal of His Majesty's Government's recognition of Chinese suzerainty, but he was authorised to point out that in His Majesty's Government's view Tibet was entitled to maintain direct relations with India; that His Majesty’s Government would not be prepared to enter into negotiations with the Chinese Government over the Kashag's head, although if the Chinese wished it, there would be no objection to an informal discussion with Sir Basil Gould of the possible terms of settlement, always on the understanding that it would be merely an informal exchange of views and that such discussions would be held with the consent of the Kashag, who would be kept fully informed and whose concurrence in any conclusions reached would be necessary; also that, provided it did not impair the validity of the Simla Convention of 1914, His Majesty's Government would be willing to consider any agreement calculated to get round the difficulty without loss of "face" for the Chinese Government; if, however , the question of Tibet were to be raised in any international discussions, His Majesty's Government would feel bound to support the Tibetan claim to full practical autonomy under Chinese suzerainty.
Sir Basil Gould hands Tibetan Government Aide Memoire expressing H.M.G.’s desire for preservation of Tibetan autonomy and right to be in direct relations with India, 1945
Before leaving Lhasa Sir Basil Gould also handed the Tibetan Foreign Office an Aide Memoire in which he stated that His Majesty's Government earnestly desired that the autonomy of Tibet, including the right of Tibet to be in direct relations with the Government of India, should be preserved; that the Tibetan Government might rest assured that His Majesty's Government would continue to do everything possible to secure these results by diplomatic means; that he was not authorised to discuss the possibility of military assistance, China being an Ally of the United Kingdom; and he repeated that, as Tibet had taken no part in the World War, Tibetan representatives would not be welcome at the Peace Conference; that if the Chinese Officer in Lhasa should wish to discuss future relations between Tibet and China, His Majesty's Government would advise the Tibetan Government to try to reach a settlement on the lines of the 1914 draft Convention; and that His Majesty's Government would, of course, expect to be kept in close touch with any such discussions. The Aide Memoire ended by making it clear to the Tibetan Government that in any international discussions His Majesty's Government would feel bound to support the claims of Tibet to full practical autonomy under Chinese suzerainty.
Tibetan Goodwill Mission the India and China, 1945
Tibetan Delegates attend Chinese National Assembly, 1946
In the autumn of 1945, the Tibetan Government sent a Goodwill Mission to India, bearing a congratulatory massacre to the Viceroy. They also carried congratulatory messages on the Allied Victory for the President of the United States of America, which were conveyed through the United States Commissioner in India. The Mission then proceeded to China where they arrived in time for the opening meeting of the National Assembly scheduled for May, 1946, but which was postponed at the eleventh hour until November. On the news of the postponement of the opening of the Chinese National Assembly reaching Lhasa, the Tibetan Govt. stated that their Goodwill Mission had been instructed to seek an immediate opportunity to hand the letter they carried to Chiang Kai-shek and return to Tibet.
The letter in question contained a request for the return of all Tibetan territory occupied by the Chinese and for the recognition of Tibet's independence. But the Generalissimo was preoccupied with important affairs of State and, with the Tibetan Mission still waiting for a reply to their letter, time dragged on until the National Assembly opened in November, 1946
Tibetan Government deny that their Goodwill Mission had orders to attend National Assembly
Delegates refuse to sign Chinese Constitution
Chinese constitution makes provision for Tibet as part of China, 1947
The Tibetan Government have since denied that their Mission had orders to attend the National Assembly and have maintained that since, despite repeated orders to return, their emissaries happened to be in the Chinese capital, they attended only as a courteous gesture in the capacity of "observers" and in the hope of obtaining a reply to their letter which they never did, Chiang Kai-shek apparently having forgotten his summer-time speech. The Tibetan government have also pointed out that whatever construction may be placed upon the attendance at the National Assembly by the members of their Goodwill Mission, when asked to sign the Chinese Constitution they refused; and they appear to have refrained from any comment concerning the provisions contained in the Chinese Constitution for Tibet; that is; Article 4: "The territory of the Republic of China comprises its original areas"
The ‘original areas’ are not defined, but the Chinese certainly claim that they include Tibet.
Article 64: "Members of the Legislative Yuan shall be elected in accordance with the following provisions;
(1) Those elected by Provinces, and by Municipalities under the direct jurisdiction of the National Government
(2) Those elected by Mongolian Leagues (3) Those elected by Tibet. (4) …”
It will be noted that the provisions of this Article differentiate between provinces under direct control and peoples or groups under indirect control Tibet falling in the latter category.
Article 91: "The Control Yuan shall be composed of Control Members, to be elected by Provincial and Municipal Councils the Local District Councils of Mongolia and Tibet and overseas Chinese Communities. The allotment of their respective numbers shall be made in accordance with the following provisions:
(1) Five members from every Province.
(2) Two members from every Municipality under the direct jurisdiction of the National Government.
(3) Eight members from Mongolian Leagues and Banners.
(4) Eight members from Tibet.
(5) Eight members from Chinese Nationals residing abroad.
Here again a distinction is made between areas under direct and indirect control; nevertheless the Chinese National Constitution of 1947 can leave no doubt but that Tibet is regarded as part of the Republic of China.
Discovery of Chinese intrigue at Lhasa, 1946
In 1946 an important event in Sino-Tibetan relations was the discovery of the revolutionary "Tibet Improvement Party" which Rapga, the brother of the Tibetan Trade Agent, was organising at Kalimpong Rapga claimed Chinese nationality and was in the pay of the Chinese goverment. The conspiracy did not get beyond paper, but it thoroughly alarmed the Tibetan Government, which, nevertheless, in order to avoid trouble with the Chinese Government, concentrated on the Communist aspect of the conspiracy.
Rapga was deported to China from India and the Tibetan Government promptly asked China to deport him back to Tibet as a Communist. The matter died a lingering death, but Sino-Tibetan relations were not improved, especially as t he incident led to the uncovering of a number of Rapga's associates as well as Chinese agents acting independently.
Panchen Lama reported discovered in Chinese territory in Chinghai and enthroned, 1944
Tibetan Government deny recognition of candidate for Panchen Lama
Officials of Tashilunpo proceed to Chinghai and then declare in favour of acknowledging first candidates Panchen Kama without taking him to Lhasa, 1948
3 candidates, all to be brought to Lhasa and Panchen Lama selected the orthodox manner
The Chungking press reported that the new Tashi (Panchen) Lama had been found in Chinese territory in Kokonor (Chingnai) and that on the 8th February, 1944, he was enthroned before a huge public gathering at a ceremony presided over by Lo-San-Chien-Tsao, the chief official of t he Tashi Lunpo Government and a member of the Central Executive Committee of the Kuomintang.
On the 19tn March, 1944, an official denial was issued from Lhasa that the Tibetan Government had authorised the recognition of any candidate yet, but admitted that the names of a few candidates for the Reincarnation of the Panchen Lama had been submitted.
There were, in fact, altogether ten likely names which had been reduced t o three candidates, the first being the one at Kokonor chosen by the Chinese and reported to have been already enthroned by them; the second in was also discovered in Chinese territory in the vicinity of Kokonor; and the third candidate was found at Tsa Paksno, an estate belonging to Kundeling Monastery which is situated near Chamdo. The Tibetan Government issued orders that all three candidates should be brought to Lhasa, where the real candidate would be determined in the usual way - by ballot - and in the summer of 1945 one of the Tashilunpo officials who happened to be in Lhasa, Trung-Yik Chempo Tang-chen, was sent to collect the three nominees and bring them to Lhasa. No progress was made in executing this order, however, and at the close of 1948 officials from Tashilunpo proceeded to Chinghai to investigate the problem, Somewhat astonishingly it appears that these officials, in defiance of the orders of the Tibetan Government declared themselves in favour of acknowledging, without the necessity of bringing him to Lhasa, the candidate who in 1944 was reported to have been enthroned. The Tibetan National Assembly returned an emphatic refusal. About the middle of 1948 a party in charge of this first candidate - the candidate reported to have been enthroned - reached the Tibetan border, but for reasons unexplained returned to the Kum Bum Monastery in Chinghai Province.
Panchen Lama situation complex in extreme
Second enthronement, 1949
Communist radio broadcasts appeal from Panchen Lama, 1949
The situation remains complex in the extreme. The persons mainly responsible for the enthronement of the first candidate are believed to have been the entourage of the late Panchen Lama, that is those officials of the Tashilunpo Monastery who fled Tibet in the train of the Panchen Lama in 1923, and frequently referred to as ‘the monks in exile’. It is not difficult to understand their anxiety that the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama should be discovered within as short a period as possible; and in view of their ever simmering jealousy of the Dalai Lama's secular authority, it is understandable that these monks should have seized the opportunity to create a situation in which ‘face’, if nothing else, would compel Chinese support of their cause. It is also understandable that in the years 1945-47 the Chinese Government would welcome, without playing an official part in it, any internal friction likely to weaken the Tibetan Government and so strengthen China's hold over Tibet.
It is also not difficult to understand that at that time the Provincial officials of Chinghai would welcome the presence of the Panchen Lama in their safe-keeping - no doubt the Governor, Ma Pu-fang, remembered that his care of the Dalai Lama in 1939 was not ungenerously rewarded. No doubt, too it was considered that the circumstances would demand an escort for the young Lama's journey to Tashilunpo and possibly even a strong and more permanent bodyguard after his arrival. But what is baffling is the report of a second enthronement of the same candidate that was current in Hong Kong in July, 1949, "from official sources." News of this occurrence reached the Tibetan Government in a telegram from Ma Pu-fang, the Governor of Chinghai Province, himself. He notified them that the Chinese Government had decided to accept the original candidate as the reincarnation of the Panchen Rimpoche that he was installed at Kum Bum Monastery jointly by General Ma PU-fang and the Chairman of the Chinese National Government's Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs.
A message conveying these tidings was also sent to the officials at Tashilunpo, in which they were also asked to hold similar ceremonies.
The reason for this second enthronement, or official ceremony in confirmation of enthronement, if the first enthronement ever took place, is obscure.
The Chinese Nationalist Government at the time had been driven from Nanking and were finding it difficult to make a pretence of maintaining a capital at Canton in the face of internal dissensions. The Communists were over-running North-West China and they were threatening Canton in the south-east. Ma Pu-fang was spending considerably more time in visiting the Generalissimo and high National Government officials in the south than in his own province and shortly afterwards his capital, Hsining [Xining], fell into the hands of the Communists and Kum Monastery, but a few miles to the south of Hsining, if not itself interfered with, was brought into Communist territory; while Ma Pu-fang went to Hong Kong en route for Mecca. Why this extraordinary ceremony at this particular time? It seems to have done no more than provide the Chinese Communist Party with a useful handle in its declared intention to ‘liberate’ Tibet. On the 24th November, 1949, the Peking Communist radio announced that the ‘Spiritual He ad of Tibet, the Panchen Lama’, had appealed to Mao Tze-tung, Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, to ‘liberate’ Tibet, to wipe out all traitorous elements and deliver the people.
Rebellion of Sera Che Monastery, 1945-7
In the meantime important developments had taken place in another field, During the years 1945-1947, Tibet's internal security was rocked by the rebellion of Sera Che Monastery against the Tibetan Government , which is generally believed to have been foment0d by the Chinese Officer at Lhasa, who is known to have supplied the monastery with money. The rebellion was suppressed before 1946 was out, but not extinguished, and in 1947 serious disturbances broke out in Lhasa in which Sera Che played a principal part and which revealed a dangerous conspiracy against the Government and an attempt to assassinate the Regent, in which the ex-Regent, - the Abbot of Reting Monastery - was the villain of the piece. The Ex-Regent was brought to Lhasa under arrest and a state of open warfare between Government troops and the monks of Sera Che ensued. Government officials were concentrated in the Potala (the Palace of the Dalai Lama) and Lhasa began to run short of food. Government troops also attacked and sacked the Reting Monastery. In the meantime the chief conspirators were brought to trial. The Reting Rimpoche (Abbot) died in the Potala before sentence - could be passed on him. The other culprits were lightly treated - that is, part of their sentences, that of having their eyes put out, was remitted - and the Regent reaped considerable public popularity for this act of clemency. By the end of 1947, despite the risk involved, the Dalai Lama was taken to visit Sera Che and public confidence appears to have been largely restored.
Government of India assumes the treaty rights and obligations of H.M. Government in regard to Tibet, 1947
On the 15th August, 1947, the Government of India assumed all th0 existing treaty rights and obligations of His Majesty's Government in regard to Tibet and the British Mission in Lhasa became the Indian Mission.
Tibet informed of transfer of power by H.M. Government to Successor government of India, 1947
In a message to the Tibetan Government informing them of the transfer of power to the Successor Government of India, His Majesty's Government expressed their intention to continue to take a friendly interest in tile maintenance of' Tibetan autonomy. In order to ensure the continuance of' friendly contacts, His Majesty's Government proposed that the United Kingdom High Commissioner in Delhi, or a member of his staff, should visit Lhasa at periodic intervals. His Majesty's Government al s o expressed the hope that the good understanding that and so long governed their relations with Tibet might continue with the Successor Government and obligations arising from existing treaty provisions.
Government’s reply vague
Tibetan Government's reply vague to this message was vague and confused. It included a request that His Majesty's would help Tibet in securing the return of Tibetan territories.
Government of India propose to assume all existing rights and obligations until new arrangements are made
Wishing to reassure the Tibetan Government of their position, at the time of notifying them of their assumption of Power, the Government of India on their part reaffirmed their interest in the maintenance of Tibetan autonomy and their preparedness to assume the rights and obligations of existing treaties between Tibet and Great Britain until such time as either party might wish to enter into fresh arrangements.
Tibetan Government sends confused reply after long delay, 1947
Indian Government proposal accepted by Tibet, 1948
The Tibetan Government sent congratulatory messages to H.E. the Governor General and to Pundit Nehru, but it was not until some three months had elapsed that a reply was sent to the Government of India from the Tibetan Foreign Bureau - an organ created in 1942, but which the Chinese Officer at Lhasa has consistently refused to recognise. This reply, written in English and unsealed, omitted all reference to the continuance of existing treaties, but, instead , made specific claims on the Government of India for the restor'1tion to Tibet of certain territories. The Government of India thereupon asked for clarification, pointing out that until it was known if it was the intention of Tibet to abide by the existing treaties it would be difficult to determine the basis on which to deal with the Tibetan Trade Mission to India. The clarification of the meaning of t heir letter was not despatched to the Government of India until the first half of 1948, when the Tibetan Government accepted the proposal and gave the requisite assurances.
Conference of Asiatic Nations at New Delhi, 1947
Tibet accepts invitation, 1947.
Chinese Govt. makes formal protest to India
An invitation to attend an unofficial Conference of Asiatic Nations to be held in India early in 1947 was transmitted to the Tibetan Government. The latter were in some doubt as to the wisdom of accepting this invitation, especially as it was feared that the Chinese might try to include the Tibet the Goodwill Mission as part of their delegation. In January, 1947, however, the invitation was formally accepted and the Tibetan Party proceeded to India, where they were received by Pandit Nehru and were also accorded an interview by the late Mr. Gandhi.
The Chinese Government in a formal protest to the Government of India raised considerable objection to the Tibetan Government being invited to send an independent Delegation to the Conference, and they gave some publicity to their displeasure.
The Government of India refused to be drawn into a political argument in the matter, but did explain in their reply that, the Conference was both cultural and unofficial. In the end a compromise was attempted by describing the Tibetan party not as ‘Delegate’ but as ‘Representatives’. This explanation made little impression on the Chinese, one of whom pointedly remarked in the Conference, albeit in the absence of the Tibetans, that Tibet was, after all, a Province of China.
Following this line of thought it is of interest to note that when, in April, 1948, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was elected President of China, both the Regent and the Kashag sent him telegrams of congratulation. The Chinese version of these telegrams is given below and, were it accurate, would point to an unfortunate inconsistency in the Tibetan Government's relations with His Majesty's and the Indian Governments on the one hand and the Chinese Government on the other hand. But, although the behaviour of the Tibetan Goodwill Mission at the Chinese National Assembly was not above suspicion, it would seem beyond belief that the Tibetan Government, even in the flourish of over-lavish politeness, would so completely and unnecessarily place themselves in the hands of the Chinese, Rather is it thought that the Tibetan Representative in Nanking, of whose loyalty to Tibet, nobody seems to have been very certain, may have elaborated the messages sent to him for transmission; or that the Chinese government may have released a version of the messages couched in the phraseology they would have preferred the Tibetans to have employed.
Be this as it may, the fact remains that the Kashag have never properly explained either the presence of their Goodwill Mission at the Chinese National Assembly, or the reported version of the congratulatory messages, which read:
Tibetan Regents’ message of congratulation to Chiang Kai-shek on his election as President of China
From the Regent of Tibet:
"I am happy to learn that the people of the whole of China, who hold Your Excellency in great esteem, have elected you as the President of our Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Naval, Military and Air Force.
Your great virtues and achievements are truly unprecedented and unrivalled in China. The whole nation, including the people in this part of the country, are singing your praises. Your election to the highest office of the Republic adds glory not only to our native land, but also to the universe as a whole. Henceforth our strong internal unity well surely lead to our national rejuvenation and all people both in this country and abroad, are eagerly looking forward to the early realisation of international peace and goodwill.
I hereby pay Your Excellency my highest respect and pray for your personal welfare."
Tibetan Government’s message of congratulation to Chiang Kai-shek
From the Tibetan Government:
“After learning of your assumption of office as President of our National Government and Commander-in-Chief of our Naval, Military and Air Forces, We are filled with indescribable joy and regard it as a manifestation of divine will. Your election to the Presidency adds glory to the world and proves gratifying to people everywhere. We sincerely join with the rest of the nation in its joyful celebration on this auspicious occasion."
Tibetan Good will Mission returns to Lhasa, 1947
Trade Mission visits China, United States and United Kingdom
The Tibetan Goodwill Mission to India and China arrived back in Lhasa in April, 1947, and in the late summer the Kashag decided to send a Trade Mission to India, China, the United States and the United Kingdom. The Mission was the first of its kind to be sent abroad by the Government of Tibet visits India and was made up of four Delegates, the two leaders being shrewd and experienced businessmen. The purpose of the Mission was stated officially to be the improvement of Tibetan Trade with the outside world.
Its real aims, however, were more certainly to wave the flag of independence and to examine the possibility of obtaining gold with which to buck the Tibetan note issue. It is probable there was also some idea of sowing seeds of greater - and perhaps active - sympathy in foreign countries by airing Tibet's political problems. If this was so the result must, indeed, have been disappointing. In the United Kingdom, at least, the Mission, although warmly welcomed, was treated strictly as a Trade Mission.
Passport issued by Tibetan government
H.M. Government’s attitude toward
Armed with passports drawn up on the Western model, and signed by the Kashag - the first instance of Tibetans travelling under passports issued by an authority other them the Chinese Government - the Mission set out in October, 1947.
His Majesty’s Government at first entertained some doubt as to the wisdom of accepting passports issued by the Tibetan Government, but finally decided in their favour.
The Chinese authorities protested and His Majesty's Government admitted a technical error, but continued to treat the passports as valid. The Trade Mission went to India, then on to China and the United States before arriving in London, via Rome, Berne and Paris, on the 20th November, 1948. The Foreign Office arranged that the Delegates were met and carefully looked after throughout their stay in the United Kingdom and they were entertained by the Board of Trade.
His Majesty was unfortunately prevented by illness from granting them an audience, but it was arranged that on the 1st December they should be received by the Lord Chamberlain on His Majesty's behalf.
The Prime Minister received them on the 3rd December and they were also given interviews by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, in the absence of the Secretary of State, and by the President of the Board of Trade. At these interviews the Delegates presented the letters and greetings Scarves they had been entrusted with by the Dalai Lama, the Regent and the Tibetan Government.
Chinese Government record displeasure at H.M. Government's reception of Trade Mission
Chinese Ambassador protests against interviews being granted to Trade Mission by H.M. the King's representative and the Prime Minister
Through their Ambassador in London, the Chinese Government had already made known their severe displeasure that the Tibetan Trade Mission were to be recognised as such by His Majesty's Government and had demanded that a member of the Chinese Embassy in London should be present at all interviews. They were told that this was a Trade Mission and that no political discussions would be held. Nevertheless, on the 1st December, the Chinese Ambassador called at the Foreign Office and registered a strong protest against interviews being grunted to the Tibetan Trade Delegates by the Representative of His Majesty and by the Prime Minister. He asked that His Majesty's Government should at least stipulate that, if these interviews were to take place, a member of the Chinese Embassy should accompany the Delegates. He was told that this was surely a point which should be raised by the Chinese Ambassador, himself, with the Tibetan Trade Mission. For the rest, it was once again pointed out that His Majesty's Government had been in direct relations with the autonomous Tibetan government t for a number of years and that it was in keeping with these relations that every courtesy should be shown to this Mission; that in receiving the Mission, His Majesty's Government were not trying to take up any particular attitude as regards the special relations which existed between Tibet and China; and lastly that no political questions would be discussed with the Mission while in London.
Trade Mission leaves London on 10th December 1948
After holding discussions on trade and currency questions of no real importance with the Board of Trade and the Treasury, the Mission took their departure on the 10th December, 1948, carrying with them suitable replies to the letters they had brought with them from the Dalai Lama, the Regent and the Tibetan Government. Members of the Chinese Embassy were among the officials at the station to see them off.
Anti-Communist precautions, 1949
The rapid absorption of China by the Communist Party and the complete collapse of the Kuomintang regime became a matter of considerable concern to the Tibetan Government early in 1949. In May Chinese residents in Tibet visiting India were notified that it would be necessary for them to obtain permission from the Tibetan authorities before they would be allowed to re-enter Tibet. The Chinese Representative in Lhasa recorded his acceptance of this regulation an act which probably means that , with a Chinese Government behind him that has been reduced to no more than a name, it would be useless to protest arid can scarcely be taken to signify a step forward in the recognition of Tibetan autonomy. As an additional check on new arrivals in Lhasa, all householders were ordered to report the name s of visitors, and similar instructions were sent to the monasteries.
Chinese Mission to Lhasa expelled, 1949
As June wore on, the Tibetan Government became increasingly worried over the presence of the Chinese Mission in Lhasa, who were suffering from a serious lack of funds, the Bank of China in Calcutta having received orders not to make any payments to agents of the "reactionary" Government. There was reason to think that some, at least, of the Chinese Mission would not hesitate to transfer their allegiance to the Communists , In July the Tibetan Government made their decision quite suddenly and asked the Chinese Officer at Lhasa to leave the country with all the members of his Mission within a fortnight, taking with them certain other Chinese suspected of subversive activities.
There was some trouble about passports. None of the Chinese Mission were in possession of either passports or certificates and the Head of the Mission, on the grounds that he and his staff were being expelled, declined to issue any such document without orders from the Chinese Nationalist Government.
This entailed special negotiations with the Government of India before they could be permitted to enter India. However, eventually the Mission left Lhasa in three parties on the 14th, 17th and 20th July, respectively, and ultimately arrived in Canton.
The Tibetan Government informed both, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and the Acting President of China Li Tsung-jen, by telegram of their action and explained that that it was prompted by fears that Communist elements might attach themselves to the Chinese Mission.
So far as is known the Chinese Nationalist government have made no direct reply to these telegrams, but their official spokesmen have vigorously rejected any charge of Communism within the ranks of their Tibet Mission, declaring that all had been selected with the utmost care.
Possible reason for second enthronement of Panchen Lama
Chinese Communist Authorities' reaction to events concerning Tibet, 1949
Possibly the declaration of the Enthronement of the Panchen Lama was intended by the Chinese Nationalist Government as a counter-stroke to the Tibetan Government's action in expelling their Mission from Lhasa. If so, it profited the Nationalist Government nothing and played straight into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. It afforded the latter a welcome opportunity to disturb Tibetan minds by announcing their intention to ‘liberate’ Tibet in due course. This they did in speeches by their leaders and in lengthy editorial in their official organ, the New China News Agency which latter stated that: "The British and Indian reactionaries even dare to deny that Tibet is a part of China. No one can find grounds for this denial. Tibet is Chinese territory and the participation of the Tibetan people in the family of peoples in the Chinese nation has a long history… The Communist Party of China has freed the majority of the Han (Chinese) and Inner Mongolian peoples, is now liberating the Mohammedan people and will presently liberate the Tibetan and other peoples in northwest, southwest and South China."
More recently, the Communist radio in Peking has announced t ho t lithe 12-years old Panchen Lama, spiritual Head of Tibet, has appealed to the Chinese Communists and that both the Chairman of the Communist Party, Mao Tze-tung and the Commander-in-Chief, General Chu-Teh, replied promising that the occupation of Tibet by the Communist armies was only a matter of time and that "the yearnings of the Tibetan people " would be satisfied.
Significance of visit of American broadcasting commentator to Tibet, 1949
In August, 1949, Mr. Lowell Thomas, an American broadcasting commentator, said to hold the ear of a considerable public in the United States, visited Lhasa - and thus afforded the Tibetan Government an opportunity - which they were quick to seize - of presenting their case to the United States. (The publicity has not availed them much).
Government of India's interest in preservation of Tibetan autonomy, 1949
The Government of India are understood to be examining the question of how best to support Tibetan autonomy, which it is felt is, at best, a frail structure. It is doubtful, even after the Communist government of China. have been recognised , if the; way will be opened to negotiate an arrangement with the Chinese Communist authorities that will give India a measure of guarantee concerning her interests in Tibet. The Tibetan hope has not completely faded, however, that the United Nations Organisation, or the United Kingdom, or even perhaps the United States, may step into the breach at the eleventh hour.
Tibetan Foreign Bureau approach H.M.G. for supply of munitions, 1949
Tibet Govt appeals to Mao Tze-tung to respect Tibetan independence, 1949
In this connection it is of interest to note that an appeal by the Foreign Bureau of the Tibetan government has been made to His Majesty's Government for the supply of war material, should Tibet be compelled to defend herself in the face of invasion by the Chinese Communist forces. With this appeal, the Tibetan Government enclosed a copy of their letter to the Chinese Communist leader, Mao Tze-tung, asking that Tibet's independence be respected.
Tibet's desire to buy arms from India and U.S.A., 1949
The Government of India and the United States have also been asked by the Tibetan Government to supply arms for which Tibet is prepared to pay, although, so far as it is known, Tibet has no United States dollars and no means of acquiring any.
Tibetan National Assembly decide that invasion must be met by force, 1949
It would seem that the Tibetan Government are quite serious in their determination to resist a Chinese Communist invasion of their country. At the instigation of the Abbots of the Great Monasteries the Tibetan National Assembly passed a resolution in September, 1949, that any invasion of Tibet must be met by force and, to this purpose, that a new mobilization
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