On January 1, 1950, The People’s Republic of China claimed sovereignty over Tibet. China unsuccessfully attempted to enforce that claim through a series of negotiations between the two governments, and on October 7, 1950, an estimated 40,000 troops from The People's Liberation Army of China crossed Tibet's borders in five places. The Tibetan city of Qamdo fell by October 19, 1959, with 114 Chinese and 180 Tibetan soldiers killed or wounded.
The Chinese invasion of Tibet came shortly after the communist regime gained power in China. Strategically, the People's Republic of China needed to control Tibet to militarize the Tibetan-Indian border. The People's Liberation Army under the rule of Chinese leader Mao Zedong invaded the Kham region of Tibet. The majority of the people in this region were already seeking independence from Tibet and were lacking weapons, so resistance was minimal.
The invasion forced the Tibetan government to sign peace agreements that allowed the Dali Lama a fair amount of autonomy but gave the Chinese military access to the country. Many Tibetan officials considered this agreement invalid because it was signed under duress, and people in areas of Tibet outside the Dali Lama's control received poor treatment. In March of 1959, Tibet rebelled against the Chinese government.