Before the invasion of Chinese in 1949, Tibet was once an independent state for over two millennium. In later part of 1949, China attacked Tibet and officially occupied the nation in 1951. In 1959, a number of rebellions against the Chinese ended in uprisings in Lhasa for the purpose of gaining independence. During those periods, China creased the revolts, slaying an over 87,000 Tibetans in Lhasa. Tenzin Gyatso, a Tibetan leader, went to India along with his 80,000 supporters. The International Commission of Jurists termed the Chinese invasion genocidal. Tibet had all the characteristics of statehood based on the international law. Fifteen years later, China established a Tibet Autonomous Region involving only 50% of the overall territory of Tibet prior to the invasion.
The remaining parts of Tibet had been integrated into Southwestern provinces in China. During the revolution, China incarcerated thousands of nuns and monks, and destroyed the 6200 monasteries in Tibet. China also burned Tibet’s scared texts in an attempt to obliterate the culture of the Tibetan. During the late part of the 70s, over 1.2 million people in Tibet diet because of the invasion. From 1987 up to the year 1990, Chinese soldiers powerfully broke up nonviolent protests all over Tibet, taking the lives of hundreds while arresting thousands of people. In 1995, Dalai Lama acknowledged Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, then six years old, as Panchen Lama’s eleventh reincarnation. Panchen Lama is the second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism. Chinese authorities held captive the child, along with his family, and plan the selection of a different six-year old boy as Panchen Lama’s eleventh successor. Because the Panchen Lama recognizes the Dalai Lama, China will be able to gain control over the identification of Dalai Lama’s fifteenth reincarnation.
On May 1998, Tibetans in Lhasa’s prison conducted peaceful remonstrations which was motivated by the European delegation’s visit scheduled on May 4. Based on the Tibet Information Network in London, during the weeks of imprisonment of many Tibetans, four monks, six nuns, and one layperson had been killed. During that time, authorities reinforced the harsh campaign to gain assistance among Tibetans for the government and the Dalai Lama as well as for China’s independence. In November of that same year, Tibet Information Network reported that many authorities were seeking the homes of officials in Tibet particularly in Lhasa for religious objects and shrines, and had also changed the requirement for members of Tibet of the Communist Party in China to pull out their children from various exile schools located in India.
What really happened?
On the 1st of March 1959, the Dalai Lama received an invitation to see a theatrical performance outside Lhasa. At that time, the Dalai Lama was in the midst of his studies and initially cancelled a meeting; however, the date was ultimately set for March 10. On the 9th of March, the Dalai Lama’s head bodyguard received a visit from the army officers of China. The officers asserted that the Dalai Lama would not be escorted by his traditional armed bodyguard to the theatrical performance, and that there will be no public ceremony for the procession of the Dalai Lama from the palace going to the camp. According to Tsering Shakya, a historian, the government of China was coercing the Dalai Lama to be present during the National People’s Congress on April 1959 so as to restore the image of China relative to the ethnic minorities following the rebellion in Khampa. On February 1959, the Dalai Lama went to witness a religious dance, following which, Tan Guansan, Tibet’s acting representative at that time, provided the Dalai Lama the opportunity to witness a presentation from a dance troupe from Lhasa to commemorate the completion of Dalai Lama’s degree in lharampa geshe. According to the memoirs of Dalai Lama, the invitation was sent by Chiang Ching-wu, a Chinese General, who suggested that the presentation be conducted the military headquarters of the Chinese to which the Dalai Lama claims that the Chinese General agreed. The performance was set on March 10 but was only finalized five days before the event. No one from the bodyguards of Dalai Lama nor the Kashag had the idea of the plan until March 9 when they were told that only the Chinese officials would handle the security of Dalai Lama. The memoirs of Dalai Lama state that on the 9th of March, the Chinese instructed the chief bodyguard that they only want Dalai Lama alone at the presentation. This means that no Tibetan bodyguards would be allowed to come along. The request appeared to be strange and they were concerned over the possibility of abduction and remembered the prophecy that Dalai Lama must not go out of his palace.
Tsering Shakya states that some of the government officials of Tibet feared that the plans were geared towards the abduction of Dalai Lama and reported this to the people of Lhasa. The following day, thousands of Tibetans surrounded the palace of Dalai Lama to stop him from leaving. The big crowd gathered in answer to the report that the communists of China intend to abduct the Dalai Lama during the cultural performance. This started the revolt in Lhasa, despite Chinese forces previously clashing with the guerrillas. At the start, the violence was geared at officials in Tibet who were perceived to have failed to protect the Dalai Lama. Pagbaha Sonam Gyamco was among the first casualties. After he was killed, his body was dragged in front of the big crowd. Protesters continued to gather in Lhasa’s streets demanding for independence. Barricades were all over and the rebel forces started to strengthen positions in Lhasa to get ready for another skirmish. The Tibetans asked for assistance from the armed rebels and the Indian Consul. The Tibetan rebel forces were outnumbered and lacked the necessary weapons. In 1962, two American writers visited the palace in Norbulingka and saw that the contents were still preserved. Nonetheless, the writers did not state that there was no damage in the palace.
Violence brings about negative impacts in the community. Violent activities have taken the lives of many people including the innocent ones. Violence is something that must be abolished because of its devastating impacts to the community. Further, people must be taught to value the importance of giving respects to sacred scriptures and objects. Actions rendered by Mao which resulted in uprising should not be emulated. The need to control doubts and anger from evolving into violent actions must be strongly adopted. The essence of giving respect to one another must also be imbibed in order to create for a more harmonious and peaceful relation with people from other cultures.
Babayeva, Yuliya. 'The Khampa Uprising: Tibetan Resistance against the Chinese Invasion'. Honors College Theses (2006): 31. Print.
Hutheesing, Gunottam Purushottam. Tibet Fights for Freedom. 1st ed. Bombay: Published for Indian Committee for Cultural Freedom, by Orient Longmans, 1961. Print.
McBrewster, John, Frederic P Miller, and Agnes F Vandome. '1959 Tibetan Uprising: Communist Party of China, Invasion of Tibet (1950? 1951), 14Th Dalai Lama, Kham, Amdo, Tibetan Uprising Day, Camp Hale, 2008 Tibetan Unrest, Sinicization of Tibet'. Alphascript Publishing (2009): n. pag. Print.