Issue #55: Chinese Communist Party and Tibet

Liaowang Xizang
(Tibet Monitor)
ICT’s Chinese-language journal


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Introduction

It has been more than 60 years since Chinese Communist Party’s occupation of Tibet. Today, every level of the political system in Tibet is under the rule of Chinese Communist. Tibetans who are the members of the Party can be found working in all levels of political system.

Are Tibetans really enjoying their life under the rule of Communist China? Does Chinese Communist Party really trust those Tibetans who are its members? Do those Tibetans in the Communist Party have real power? Through an analytic review, this issue looks for answers to the above questions, as well as the changes of Chinese Communist Party and government’s policies toward Tibetans and Tibet.

Chapter One: The perception of Chinese Communist Party on other nationalities in its early days

Chinese Communist Party was established by Communist International under the direct leadership of the Communist Party of Soviet Union in 1921. The main goal of the party was projected as “destroy the capitalist powered social system and build a proletariat socialist society”. In the early days, CCP believed all nationalities have the right to decide their own fate. The CCP’s first constitution clearly said, “All nationalities have the right of self-determination to build an independent state.”

Chapter Two: The initial contact between Chinese Communist Party and Tibetans

The bases of Chinese Communist Party and Red Army in southern China were severely attacked by the military forces of then Chinese Government. For survival, all three units of the CCP’s Red Army escaped heading north, but the Chinese Government forces blocked them. CCP Red Army then turned west, entering Eastern Tibet. The Red Army robbed anything from food, clothes, and animals from Tibetans while they marched through Tibetan territory. Some young Tibetans were taken by Chinese Red Army as guides and a group of them became members of CCP later on. Years after, Mao told the American Journalist Edward Snow, “what the CCP Red Army ‘borrowed’ from the Tibetans during the ‘Long March’ was the only debt which the CCP owes to a foreign country.”

Chapter Three: Tibetan Communist Movement and Phuntsok Wangyal

Phuntsok Wangyal, (known as Phunwang) and a group of Tibetans who were studying in China established the first Tibetan Communist organization in 1939. The Tibetan Communist Party was active for about 10 years in Kham, and Lhasa. Phunwang and his comrades tried to convince the Tibetan Government in Lhasa to carry out certain reforms, but they were not successful. In 1949, Phunwang and some of his comrades were expelled from Tibet, and Phuwang went to China via India. He and members of the Tibetan Communist Party joined Chinese Communist Party in Kunming, China, ending the short life of the Tibetan Communist Party.

Chapter Four: The Political Background to the Chinese Communist Party’s invasion of Tibet

In the post World War Two, the cold war era started between Communist nations led by Soviet Union and Democratic world led by US. In 1949, the forces of Chinese Communist Party won in China. In order to expand communist power in the world, Stalin directed Mao to send his army into Tibet, but Mao hesitated because the newly established PRC of China was not yet recognized by countries which have a history with Tibet.

Chapter Five: Mao sends CCP Troops to Tibet and Stalin Signs Agreements

As soon as Britain and India recognized “People’s Republic of China,” Mao immediately ordered the invasion of Tibet. Stalin, as an expression of satisfaction , signed several major treaties which were very beneficial to newly established PRC. Mao was the real winner, having captured Tibet as part of the PRC.

Chapter Six: “17 Agreements” between Tibet and Communist China

In March 1951, the Tibetan Government sent a delegation to Beijing, China, to negotiate with the PRC Government. In April, the Tibetan delegates were forced to sign the treaty which is known as “the 17 Point Agreement.” This chapter analyzes what kind of agreement it is and shows readers how Tibet lost it sovereignty to Communist China.

Chapter Seven: Communist China takes Over Tibet

China sent troops to almost every city and town in Tibet. Armies are stationed the border areas between Tibet and countries of South Asia. The Chinese military and Communist Party increased their power in Tibet, and the Chinese Government started to reduce the power of the Tibetan Government. In this chapter, major events in Tibet including H.H. the Dalai Lama’s trip to China are discussed and analyzed.

Chapter Eight: “Reforms” in East Tibet and Serious Political Situation in Tibet

Beginning in 1955, the Chinese Government started “democratic reforms” in Tibetan areas which are incorporated into Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu provinces. Local Tibetan leaders were jailed, and land and properties of Tibetans were confiscated, and the CCP began to control everything. Tibetans in those areas stood up to fight the Communist Chinese. The Chinese Government used military force and war planes to kill and destroy Tibetans and their villages and monasteries. This chapter discusses the political background and the resistance movements like “Chushi Gandruk” during that period of Tibetan history.

Chapter Nine: Bombing of Lhasa and Tibetan Government’s flight into Exile

On March 10, 1959, thousands of Tibetans gathered in the front of the Norbu Lingka, the Summer Palace of H.H. the Dalai Lama, to prevent the Dalai Lama from attending a performance at the nearby Chinese military camp due to fears about his safety. His Holiness the Dalai Lama escaped Norbu Linga on the night of March 17th, on the same day the Chinese military started bombing Norbu Lingka. This chapter discusses the reason behind Tibetans preventing His Holiness going to see the performance at the Chinese military camp and what happened to Tibetan government and Tibet after March 10, 1959.

Chapter Ten: Communist Government of PRC Strengthens it’s Power in Tibet

Towards the end of March 1959, CCP government declared the “dissolution of the Kashag”, the council of ministers of the Tibetan Government and the Chinese military in Tibet took over all political authority in Tibet. In 1965, the “Tibet Autonomous Region” was established by the Chinese Government. This chapter discusses major political events in Tibet within this period.

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