Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme

Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme (Chinese: 阿沛·阿旺晋美; Pinyin: Āpèi Āwàng Jìnměi; born 1st Feb. 1910 in Lhasa, Tibet) is a retired Tibetan politician, a civil magistrate in local Tibet government.

Early life

Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme was the son of a Tibetan aristocrat. He studied in Britain. He was married to Ngapoi Cedain Zhoigar (Āpèi Cáidàn Zhuógá), VP of Tibet Women's Federation.


Upon returning in 1932 from his studies, he joined the Tibetan army. Jigme began his career in Chamdo as a local politician in 1936. As a cabinet member under the Dalai Lama, he advocated reform. While serving as governor of Chamdo in 1950, he was also the commander of the Tibetan armed forces.

In October 1950 Jigme surrendered Chamdo to the invading Chinese People's Liberation Army. He headed the Tibetan delegation to the Beijing peace negotiations in 1951, where he signed the Seventeen Point Agreement with the Chinese Communist government in 1951, surrendering Tibet's sovereignty in exchange for guarantees of autonomy and religious freedom. His signature of the Agreement was obtained under tough negotiating conditions and is believed by many authorities to be invalid, because it exceeded his powers of representation as governor of Chamdo province. The Dalai Lama claims this agreement was never ratified by legitimate Tibetan authorities. In 1952, the Tibetan Prime Minister Lukhangwa told Chinese Representative Zhang Jingwu that the Tibetan "people did not accept the agreement. In 1959, the Dalai Lama on his arrival in India after he fled Tibet repudiated the "17-point Agreement" as having been "thrust upon Tibetan Government and people by the threat of arms".

After 1951, Jigme's career continued within the ranks of Chinese Communist administration of Tibet. He served as the leader of the Liberation Committee of Qamdo Prefecture until 1959. He was also a member of the State Council's minority commission and CPPCC between 1951-1954. Deputy commander of the Tibet Military Region between 1952-1977 and member of National Defence Council 1954 through the Cultural Revolution. Appointed lieutenant general and awarded "Order of Liberation" first class 1955. He represented Tibet in seven National People's Congress under the standing committee from the 1st National People's Congress in 1954 to the 7th in 1988. He was an honorary president of the Buddhist association since 1980. Head of the NPC delegations to Colombia, Guyana, West Indies, Sri Lanka and Nepal in the early 1980s.

Among other functions, he was vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China for many years. He was the third Tibetan in this position, following the 14th Dalai Lama and the 10th Panchen Lama.

Jigme was also elected president of the "Association for the Protection and Development of Tibetan Culture", which was established on June 21, 2004.


  • In 1988 he said: "It is because of the special situation in Tibet that in 1951 the Seventeen Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, between the central people’s government and the local Tibetan government, came about. Such an agreement has never existed between the central government and any other minority region. We have to consider the special situation in Tibetan history while drafting policies for Tibet in order to realise its long-term stability. We must give Tibet more autonomous power than other minority regions. In my view, at present, the Tibet Autonomous Region has relatively less power of autonomy compared with other autonomous regions, let alone compared with provinces. Therefore Tibet must have some special treatment and have more autonomy like those special economic zones. We must employ special policies to resolve the special characteristics which have pertained throughout history..
  • On August 31, 1989, Ngabo Ngawang Jigme said in Tibet Daily “Wu Zhongxin’s claim of having presided over the enthronement ceremony (of the 14th Dalai Lama) on the basis of this photograph is a blatant distortion of historical facts.



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