Instances exist, however, when the PRC government gained support from a portion of the Tibetan population, including monastic leaders, monks, nobility and ordinary Tibetans prior to the crackdown in 1959. The PRC government and some Tibetan leaders characterize PLA's operation as a peaceful liberation of Tibetans from a "feudal serfdom system.
The PLA then continued on to central Tibet, but halted its advance 200km to the east of Lhasa, at what China claimed was the de jure boundary of Tibet.
Here they stopped and demanded Tibet's "peaceful liberation." The PLA, while possessing overwhelming military advantage, wanted to avoid intervention by other powers such as the US, and was also set on winning the hearts and minds of the Tibetan populace. At first, they treated the local populace very well, building roads, and paying locals for their labor. According to Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, the PLA did not attack civilians: "The Chinese were very disciplined. They were like the British soldiers (in 1904). Even better than the British, because they distributed some money (to villagers and local leaders). So they carefully planned."
The PLA sent released prisoners (among them Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme, a captured governor) to Lhasa to negotiate with the Dalai Lama on the PLA's behalf. The PLA promised that if Tibet was "peacefully liberated", the Tibetan elites would keep their privileges and power. At the same time, Jigme and other released captives testified to their good treatment by the PLA. As the PLA had stopped and was asking for peaceful negotiations instead of entering Lhasa unimpeded, the United Nations unanimously dropped the issue from the agenda. The combination of military pressure, reports of good treatment from locals and released prisoners, and the lack of international support convinced the Tibetan representatives to enter negotiations with the PLA.
Several months later, in May 1951, the Tibetan representatives signed a seventeen-point agreement in Beijing with the PRC's Central People's Government which the Chinese say affirms China's sovereignty over Tibet. The agreement was ratified in Lhasa a few months later. Point 15 of the agreement stated that the Chinese government would set up a military and administrative committee and a military area headquarters in Tibet. PLA troops entered Lhasa peacefully in the fall of 1951. An article released by the Tibetan Government in Exile in 1996 states that the treaty was imposed on Tibet by force and it "was never validly concluded and was rejected by Tibetans, a position that was supported by a UK parliamentary review.
|By Tibetan authorities based on 20+ year statistics|
|Total: 1,148,000 deaths.|
|By Chinese authorities|
| These values are highly controversial since :|
However, the Tibetan population estimated by the chinese authority in all Tibetan areas is much larger.
The high casualty reported by the Tibetans has been questioned by western scholars. Sinologist Tom Grunfeld finds that the figure is "without documentary evidence." According to Patrick French, a supporter of the Tibetan cause who was able to view the data and calculations, the estimate is not reliable. French says this total was based on refugee interviews, but when he examined the raw data, he found no names, but "the insertion of seemingly random figures into each section, and constant, unchecked duplication. The book was felt suspicious by Tibetans in exils, French estimates that half a million Tibetans died as a result of Chinese policies, "a devastating enough figure, in all conscience, which in no way diminishes the horror of what was done in Tibet.. Prior to 1950, population figures for Tibet, estimated by the Lhasa government and foreign visitors, generally ranged from 1 to 1.5 million. The official Tibetan census in 1953 only recorded a population of 1,273,969.
A document allegedly sourced to the PLA claims 87,000 deaths in the 1959-60 period.
According to the Chinese government, a portion of the population in old Tibet were serfs ("mi ser"), bound to land often owned by wealthy Tibetan monasteries and Tibetan aristocrats. This however was untrue of eastern and northeastern two-thirds of Tibet where the nomads owned their own land. The Chinese government claims that most Tibetans were still serfs in 1951, and have proclaimed that the Tibetan government inhibited the development of Tibet during its self-rule from 1913 to 1959, and opposed any modernization efforts proposed by the Chinese government. Announcements were made via Radio Peking on October 25 to state the troops were there to "free Tibetans from imperialist oppression". First generation Communist party leaders such as Mao Zedong stated that the decision to unite Tibet into the PRC was done to achieve ethnic equality.
In July 2001 a monument was established to commermorate the event. Beijing says that Tibet was under an uninterrupted series of Chinese governments that has ruled Tibet and China since Genghis Khan. In 2005 president Hu Jintao asserted Tibet has been an "inalienable part of Chinese territory" from the time of the Yuan Dynasty conquest onward. This has been taught to Chinese students since 1912. (Scholarship outside China generally regards Tibet as having been independent during the Ming Dynasty.)
Sources from the PRC, or supportive of the PRC, are frequently marked by use of the term "serfs" for the common people of Tibet pre-1950, and "feudal serfdom" for Tibet at that time. For a fuller discussion of this term and its political ramifications, see Serfdom in Tibet controversy.
By 1957, Kham was in chaos. PLA reprisals against Khampa resistance fighters such as the Chushi Gangdruk became increasingly brutal. They included beatings, starving prisoners, and the rape of prisoners' wives in front of them until they confessed. Monks and nuns were forced to have sex with each other and forcibly renounce their celebacy vows. After torture, these men and women were often killed. By the late 1950s, the number of Tibetan freedom fighters numbered in the tens of thousands. Kham's monastic networks came to be used by guerilla forces to relay messages and hide rebels.
Lhasa continued to abide by the seventeen point agreement and sent a delegation to Kham to quell the rebellion. After speaking with the rebel leaders, the delegation instead joined the rebellion. Kham did an end run around Lhasa and contacted the CIA directly, but the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under President Dwight D. Eisenhower required an official request from Lhasa to support the rebels. Lhasa did not respond. Finally, the CIA ignored Lhasa's official stance and supplied the rebellion. By then the rebellion had spread to Lhasa which had filled with refugees from Kham.
China's intended "peaceful liberation" of Tibet had gone badly awry. It culminated in the Lhasa uprising on March 10, 1959. Chinese warned and then shelled with artillery a crowd of 30,000 Tibetan civilians who had gathered outside the Dalai Lama's Potala palace. Captured PLA documents estimated the casualties to be as high as 85,000. Under the new Kennedy administration special operations Air Force planes ready to drop supplies and ammunition were ordered to stand by, resulting in the massacre of between six and eight thousand Tibetan resistance fighters. According to the Tibetan Government in Exile tens of thousands of Tibetans were killed in the struggle.
The 14th Dalai Lama and other government principals fled to exile in India. Isolated resistance continued in Tibet until 1972 when President Nixon pursued a new policy towards China and withdrew military and financial support. The month of fighting along the route of the Dalai Lama's escape had virtually decimated the fighters and, according to the CIA, "the backbone of the rebellion had been smashed." According to the rebel leaders they were overrun by the PLA and focused on protecting the route for Tibetan refugees to India.
WHAT I cannot get over about the Dalai Lama visa fiasco is the ANC's double standards on Palestine and Tibet. What is worse is that historically China has no right to Tibet, unlike Israel's claim to Palestine.
Oct 12, 2011; WHAT I cannot get over about the Dalai Lama visa fiasco is the ANC's double standards on Palestine and Tibet. What is worse is...