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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Capturing Tibet ** 89


How the Chinese took over Tibet



Tibet has a border of 3300 miles with India. But the Himalayas were a great barrier and as such cultural and military contacts between India and Tibet was minimal. The Tibetan’s were however closely connected with the Chinese since ancient time, but at no time was Tibet a part of China. The current Tibetan culture has been formed since the time the Lama culture was established in Tibet. The Tibetan form of Buddhism came from India when the Bodhisattva left from South India to preach Buddhism to the Tibetans. Buddhism became a state religion and was spread in Tibet by the edict of the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai became the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism was called upon to assume full political power as well. The Dalai Lama to protect Tibetan culture from outside influence forbade outside contacts and Tibet grew in isolation of world development.
The 19th century was a tumultuous period for Tibet’s history as the Western powers gained control in Asia and Tibet was also involved into the stream of western invasions. In 1893, the Ch’ing court signed the “Tibet India Treaty” also referred to as Sikkim-Tibet Treaty under duress as Britain was the paramount power and controlled India and also had a big say in China
To emphasize British power an invasion under Colonel Francis Young Husband was launched against Tibet in 1903. The Tibet army was routed and the British Army seized Lhasa in 1904, forcing Tibetan officials to endorse the Lhasa Treaty. The 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso (1876-1933) fled to Mongolia and was stripped of his powers. This gave the Chinese under the Ch’ing government to established direct rule over Tibet for the first time in 1910. At that time the Dalai Lama fled to British India.
Chinese rule did not last long and In 1912, Tibet became an independent country when the Ch’ing Dynasty was overthrown by the Hsinhai Revolution. The Dalai Lama returned to Tibet from British India and proclaimed the independence of the Empire of Tibet. Tibet was effectively an Independent nation till 1951.
However, the Communist China’s People’s Liberation Army occupied Tibet in 1951 and set up the Tibet military division in the following year. China abandoned the “Empire of Tibet” and established the Tibet Autonomous region. The Chinese had a free hand as Nehru the Indian Prime Minister fed on theories of British imperialism refused to intervene and thus Tibet was lost as a buffer state to India.
Tibet is now effectively controlled by China and the Chinese define the 14th Dalai Lama as the “leader of the counterrevolution elements”. He had escaped to India in 1959 after a plot was uncovered to murder him.
He is the legitimate “head of state” of the “Empire of Tibet” and the government in exile in India is the legitimate government of Tibet region. Unfortunately this is all on paper as the Chinese control Tibet and there is no way the status Quo of 1950 can be restored.