1959 Tibetan uprising

The 1959 Tibetan uprising or the 1959 Tibetan rebellion began on 10 March 1959, when a revolt erupted in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, which had been under the effective control of the People's Republic of China since the Seventeen Point Agreement was reached in 1951.[10] Armed conflict between Tibetan guerillas and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had started in 1956 in the Kham and Amdo regions, which had been subjected to socialist reform. The guerrilla warfare later spread to other areas of Tibet and lasted through 1962.

The anniversary of the uprising is observed by Tibetan exiles as the ''Tibetan Uprising Day'' and Women's Uprising Day.[11] The anniversary of its end is officially celebrated in the Tibetan Autonomous Region as Serfs Emancipation Day.

1959 Tibetan uprising
Part of Cold War
Tsarong in captivity

Tsarong Dazang Dramdul and several Tibetan monks captured by the PLA during the uprising.
Date10–23 March 1959[6]
Result Chinese victory

Tibetan and Khampa protestors and militants[1]

Simultaneous rebellion in eastern Tibet:
Chushi Gangdruk
Supported by:
 United States[2]
 People's Republic of China
Commanders and leaders
Several resistance leaders[7] Gen. Tan Guansen[8]
(highest-ranking PLA commander in Tibet)
Casualties and losses
85,000–87,000 killed (disputed; see below) 2,000 killed[9]

Armed resistance in east Tibet

In 1951, an agreement between the People's Republic of China and representatives of the Dalai Lama was put into effect. Socialist reforms such as redistribution of land were delayed in Tibet proper. However, eastern Kham and Amdo (western Sichuan and Qinghai provinces in the Chinese administrative hierarchy) were outside the administration of the Tibetan government in Lhasa, and were thus treated more like other Chinese provinces, with land redistribution implemented in full. The Khampas and nomads of Amdo traditionally owned their own land.[12] Armed resistance broke out in Amdo and eastern Kham in June 1956.

Prior to the PLA invasion, relations between Lhasa and the Khampa chieftains had deteriorated, although the Khampa remained spiritually loyal to the Dalai Lama throughout. Because of these strained relations, the Khampa had actually assisted the Chinese in their initial invasion, before becoming the guerrilla resistance they are now known for.[13] Pandatsang Rapga, a pro Kuomintang and pro Republic of China revolutionary Khampa leader, offered the governor of Chamdo, Ngabo Ngawang Jigme, some Khampa fighters in exchange for the Tibetan government recognizing the independence of Kham. Ngabo refused the offer. After the defeat of the Tibetan Army in Chamdo, Rapga started mediating in negotiations between the PLA and Tibetan rebels.

Rapga and Topgay engaged in negotiations with the Chinese during their assault on Chamdo. Khampas either defected to the Chinese PLA forces or did not fight at all. The PLA succeeded in the task.[14]

By 1957, Kham was in chaos. Resistance fighters' attack and People's Liberation Army reprisals against Khampa resistance fighters such as the Chushi Gangdruk became increasingly brutal.[15] Kham's monastic networks came to be used by guerilla forces to relay messages and hide rebels.[16] Punitive strikes were carried out by the Chinese government against Tibetan villages and monasteries. Tibetan exiles assert that threats to bomb the Potala Palace and the Dalai Lama were made by Chinese military commanders in an attempt to intimidate the guerrilla forces into submission.[17]

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.[18] Kham leaders contacted the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), but the CIA under President Dwight D. Eisenhower insisted it required an official request from Lhasa to support the rebels. Lhasa did not act.[18] Eventually the CIA began to provide covert support for the rebellion without word from Lhasa. By then the rebellion had spread to Lhasa which had filled with refugees from Amdo and Kham.[19] Opposition to the Chinese presence in Tibet grew within the city of Lhasa.

In mid-February 1959 the CCP Central Committee’s Administrative Office circulated the Xinhua News Agency internal report on how "the revolts in the Tibetan region have gathered pace and developed into a nearly full-scale rebellion." in a "situation report" for top CCP leaders.[20]

"The more chaotic [the situation] in Tibet becomes the better; for it will help train our troops and toughen the masses. Furthermore, [the chaos] will provide a sufficient reason to crush the rebellion and carry out reforms in the future, Mao Zedong."[21]

The next day, the Chinese leader saw a report from the PLA General Staff’s Operations Department describing rebellions by Tibetans in Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu, and Qinghai. He again stressed that "rebellions like these are extremely favorable for us because they will benefit us in helping to train our troops, train the people, and provide a sufficient reason to crush the rebellion and carry out comprehensive reforms in the future."[21]

The PLA used Hui soldiers, who formerly had served under Ma Bufang to crush the Tibetan revolt in Amdo.[22] In Southern Kham, Hui cavalry were stationed.[23]

Lhasa Rebellion

Dalai Lama in 1956 in New Delhi
The 14th Dalai Lama in 1956

On 1 March 1959, as a traditional event, a theatrical performance at the Chinese military headquarters outside Lhasa invited officials to attend. According to a Communist source contradicting the 14th Dalai Lama's account, the Dalai Lama suggested proactively that he would like to attend.[24] The Dalai Lama—at the time studying for his lharampa geshe degree—initially postponed the meeting, but he eventually set for 10 March.[25] On 9 March 3pm, Chinese army officer told Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme that the Dalai Lama decided to attend the performance and other Tibetan officials could go directly as instructed by the Dalai Lama. Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme found this was counter the tradition, but confirmed this from Tibetan official at 6pm-7pm and was involved to arrange the matter and talked to the chief officer.[26]

According to historian Tsering Shakya, the Chinese government was pressuring the Dalai Lama to attend the National People's Congress in April 1959, in order to repair China's image in relation to ethnic minorities after the Khampa rebellion. On 7 February 1959, a significant day on the Tibetan calendar, the Dalai Lama attended a religious dance, after which the acting representative in Tibet, Tan Guansan, offered the Dalai Lama a chance to see a performance from a dance troupe native to Lhasa at the Norbulingka to celebrate the Dalai Lama's completion of his lharampa geshe degree. According to Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme, the Dalai Lama proactively asked to attend the performance.[24] According to the Dalai Lama's memoirs, the invitation came from Chinese General Chiang Chin-wu, who proposed that the performance be held at the Chinese military headquarters; the Dalai Lama states that he agreed.[27]:130[28] The planned performance date of 10 March was only finalized 5 days beforehand, on 5 March.[29] Neither the Kashag nor the Dalai Lama's bodyguards were informed of the Dalai Lama's plans[30] until Chinese officials briefed them on 9 March, one day before the performance was scheduled, and insisted that they would handle the Dalai Lama's security.[17] The Dalai Lama's memoirs state that on 9 March the Chinese told his chief bodyguard that they wanted the Dalai Lama's excursion to watch the production conducted "in absolute secrecy"[27]:132 and without any armed Tibetan bodyguards, which "all seemed strange requests and there was much discussion" amongst the Dalai Lama's advisors.[27]:132 Some members of the Kashag were alarmed and concerned that the Dalai Lama might be abducted, recalling a prophecy that told that the Dalai Lama should not exit his palace.[29]

According to historian Tsering Shakya, some Tibetan government officials feared that plans were being laid for a Chinese abduction of the Dalai Lama, and spread word to that effect amongst the inhabitants of Lhasa.[31] On 10 March, several thousand[32][33][34] Tibetans surrounded the Dalai Lama's palace to prevent him from leaving or being removed. The huge crowd had gathered in response to a rumor that the Chinese were planning to arrest the Dalai Lama when he went to a cultural performance at the PLA's headquarters.[35] This marked the beginning of the uprising in Lhasa, though Chinese forces had skirmished with guerrillas outside the city in December of the previous year.[17] Although CCP officials insisted that the "reactionary upper stratum" in Lhasa was responsible for the rumor, there is no way to identify the precise source.[36] At first, the violence was directed at Tibetan officials perceived not to have protected the Dalai Lama or to be pro-Chinese; attacks on Chinese started later.[29] One of the first casualties of mob was a senior lama, Pagbalha Soinam Gyamco, who worked with the PRC as a member of the Preparatory Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, who was killed and his body dragged by a horse in front of the crowd for 2 kilometres (1.2 mi).[37]

On 12 March, protesters appeared in the streets of Lhasa declaring Tibet's independence. Barricades went up on the streets of Lhasa, and Chinese and Tibetan rebel forces began to fortify positions within and around Lhasa in preparation for conflict. A petition of support for the armed rebels outside the city was taken up, and an appeal for assistance was made to the Indian consul. Chinese and Tibetan troops continued moving into position over the next several days, with Chinese artillery pieces being deployed within range of the Dalai Lama's summer palace, the Norbulingka.

Women's uprising protest in front of Potala March 1959
17 March 1959: Thousands of Tibetan women surround the Potala Palace, the main residence of the Dalai Lama, to protest against Chinese rule and repression in Lhasa, Tibet. Hours later, fighting broke out and the Dalai Lama was forced to flee to safety in India. Photograph: AP

On March 12 thousands of women gathered in front of the Potala Palace in Lhasa on the ground called Dri-bu-Yul-Khai Thang.[11][38] The leader of this nonviolent demonstration was Pamo Kusang.[39] This demonstration, now known as Women’s Uprising Day, started the Tibetan women’s movement for independence.[11] On March 14 at the same location thousands of women assembled in a protest led by "Gurteng Kunsang, a member of the aristocratic Kundeling family and mother of six who was later arrested by the Chinese and executed by firing squad."[40]

On 15 March, preparations for the Dalai Lama's evacuation from the city were set in motion, with Tibetan troops being employed to secure an escape route from Lhasa. On 17 March, two artillery shells landed near the Dalai Lama's palace,[29][41][42] triggering his flight into exile. The Dalai Lama secretly left the palace the following night and slipped out of Lhasa with his family and a small number of officials. The Chinese had not strongly guarded the Potala, as they did not believe it likely that the Dalai Lama would try to flee.[43]

Bundesarchiv Bild 135-S-12-47-14, Tibetexpedition, Lhasa, Blick auf den Stadttempel
The Jokhang, on whose roof the last Tibetan rebels had placed machine guns to defend themselves against the PLA[44]

Rumours about the Dalai Lama's disappearance began to spread rapidly on the next day, though most still believed that he was in the palace. Meanwhile, the situation in the city became increasingly tense, as protestors had seized a number of machine guns. On 20 March, the Chinese army responded by shelling the Norbulingka to disperse the crowd, and placed its troops at a barricade that divided the city into a northern and southern part in the following night. The battle began early on the following day,[44] and even though the Tibetan rebels were outnumbered and poorly armed,[17][19][45] the street fighting proved to be "bloody". The last Tibetan resistance was centered on the Jokhang, where Khampa refugees had set up machine guns, while a large number of Tibetans circumambulated the temple in reverence. The PLA started to attack the Jokhang on 23 March, and a hard-fought, three hours-long battle with many casualties on both sides ensued. The Chinese eventually managed to break through using a tank, whereupon they raised the flag of China on the temple, ending the uprising.[44]

Two British writers, Stuart and Roma Gelder, visited the Chensel Phodrang palace in the Norbulingka in 1962 and "found its contents meticulously preserved".[46]

Republic of China's involvement and its position on Tibetan independence

Pandatsang Rapga, a pro-Kuomintang and pro-Republic of China revolutionary Khampa leader, was instrumental in the revolt against the Communists. The Kuomintang had a history of using Khampa fighters to oppose both the Dalai Lama's Tibetan government, and battle the Communist Red Army.

Rapga continued to cooperate with the ROC Kuomintang government after it fled to Taiwan; they provided training to Khampa rebels against the Communist PLA forces.[47][48]

The Republic of China on Taiwan disputed with America whether Tibet would be independent, since the ROC claimed Tibet as part of its territory. Rapga agreed to a plan in which the revolt against the Communists would include anti feudalism, land reform, a modern government, and to give power to the people.[49]

The Republic of China continued to claim Tibet as an integral part of its territory in accordance with its constitution, contrary to the claims of the Dalai Lama's Central Tibetan Administration which claimed Tibetan independence.

After the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion, Chiang Kai-shek announced in his Letter to Tibetan Friends (Chinese: 告西藏同胞書; pinyin: Gào Xīzàng Tóngbāo Shū) that the ROC's policy would be to help the Tibetan diaspora overthrow the People's Republic of China's rule in Tibet. The Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission sent secret agents to India to disseminate pro-Kuomintang (KMT) and anti-Communist propaganda among Tibetan exiles. From 1971 to 1978, the MTAC also recruited ethnic Tibetan children from India and Nepal to study in Taiwan, with the expectation that they would work for a ROC government that returned to the mainland. In 1994, the veterans' association for the Tibetan guerrilla group Chushi Gangdruk met with the MTAC and agreed to the KMT's One China Principle. In response, the Dalai Lama's Central Tibetan Administration forbade all exiled Tibetans from contact with the MTAC. Tibetans in Taiwan, who are mostly of Kham origin, support the Republic of China's position that Tibet is part of the ROC, and are against both the Tibetan exile community in India who live under the Tibetan Government in Exile (TGE) and the Communists in mainland China. The Taiwanese Tibetans are considered traitors by the TGE for their position.[50]


Professor Colin Mackerras states, "There was a major rebellion against Chinese rule in Tibet in March 1959, which was put down with the cost of much bloodshed and lasting bitterness on the part of the Tibetans."[51] The Tibetan government-in-exile reports variously, 85,000, 86,000, and 87,000 deaths for Tibetans during the rebellion, attributed to "secret Chinese documents captured by guerrillas".[17][19] Tibetologist Tom Grunfeld said "the veracity of such a claim is difficult to verify."[52] Warren W. Smith, a writer with Radio Free Asia, writes that the "secret documents" came from a 1960 PLA report captured by guerrillas in 1966, with the figures first published by the TGIE in India in 1990. Smith states that the documents said that 87,000 "enemies were eliminated", but he does not take "eliminated" to mean "killed", as the TGIE does.[53] A Tibetan Government in Exile (TGIE) official surnamed Samdup released a report for Asia Watch after three fact-finding missions from 1979 to 1981, stating that a speech by premier Zhou Enlai, published in Beijing Review in 1980, confirmed the 87,000 figure. Demographer Yan Hao could find no reference to any such figure in the published speech, and concluded, "If these TGIE sources are not reluctant to fabricate Chinese sources in open publications, how can they expect people to believe in their citations of so-called Chinese secret internal documents and speeches that are never available in originals to independent researchers?"[53]


Lhasa's three major monasteries—Sera, Ganden, and Drepung—were seriously damaged by shelling, with Sera and Drepung being damaged nearly beyond repair. According to the TGIE, Members of the Dalai Lama's bodyguard remaining in Lhasa were disarmed and publicly executed, along with Tibetans found to be harbouring weapons in their homes. Thousands of Tibetan monks were executed or arrested, and monasteries and temples around the city were looted or destroyed.[17]

After the March 12 Womans's Uprising demonstration, many of the women involved were imprisoned, including the leader of the demonstration, Pamo Kusang. "Some of them were tortured, died in prison, or were executed."[39] Known as Women’s Uprising Day, this demonstration started the Tibetan women’s movement for independence.[11]

The CIA officer, Bruce Walker, who oversaw the operations of CIA-trained Tibetan agents, was troubled by the hostility from the Tibetans towards his agents: "the radio teams were experiencing major resistance from the population inside Tibet."[54] The CIA trained Tibetans from 1957 to 1972, in the United States, and parachuted them back into Tibet to organise rebellions against the PLA. In one incident, one agent was immediately reported by his own brother and all three agents in the team were arrested. They were not mistreated. After less than a month of propaganda sessions, they were escorted to the Indian border and released.[55]

In April 1959, the 19-year-old Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama, the second ranking spiritual leader in Tibet, residing in Shigatse, called on Tibetans to support the Chinese government.[56] However, after a tour through Tibet, he wrote a document in May 1962 known as the 70,000 Character Petition addressed to Zhou Enlai criticizing Chinese abuses in Tibet, and met with Zhou to discuss it. The outlined petition dealt with the brutal suppression of the Tibetan people both during and after the PRC's invasion of Tibet[57] and the sufferings of the people in The Great Leap Forward. In this document, he criticized the suppression that the Chinese authorities had conducted in retaliation for the 1959 Tibetan uprising.[58] But in October 1962, the PRC authorities dealing with the population criticized the petition. Chairman Mao called the petition "... a poisoned arrow shot at the Party by reactionary feudal overlords." In 1967 the Panchen Lama was formally arrested and imprisoned until his release in 1977.[59]

Buddhist monk Palden Gyatso was arrested in June, 1959 by Chinese officials for demonstrating during the March uprising.[60] He spent the following 33 years in Chinese prisons and laogai[61] or "reform through labor" camps, the longest term of any Tibetan political prisoner.[62][63] "He was forced to participate in barbarous re-education classes and He was tortured by various methods, which included being beaten with a club ridden with nails, shocked by an electric probe, which scarred his tongue and caused his teeth to fall out, whipped while being forced to pull an iron plow, and starved."[64] leading to irreversible physical damage.[65][66][67] Released in 1992, he escaped to Dharamsala in India, home of the Tibetan government in exile and became an internationally acclaimed activist for the Tibetan cause.

Chinese authorities have interpreted the uprising as a revolt of the Tibetan elite against Communist reforms that were improving the lot of Tibetan serfs. Tibetan and third party sources, on the other hand, have usually interpreted it as a popular uprising against the alien Chinese presence. Historian Tsering Shakya has argued that it was a popular revolt against both the Chinese and the Lhasa government, which was perceived as failing to protect the authority and safety of the Dalai Lama from the Chinese.[68]

See also



  1. ^ Van Schaik (2013), pp. 234–236.
  2. ^ "Status Report on Tibetan Operations". Office of the Historian. January 26, 1968.
  3. ^ Salopek, Paul (January 26, 1997). "THE CIA'S SECRET WAR IN TIBET". Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  4. ^ Conboy, Kenneth J.; Morrison, James; Morrison, James (2002). The CIA's Secret War in Tibet. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  5. ^ "China/Tibet (1950-Present)". University of Central Arkansas .
  6. ^ Van Schaik (2013), pp. 233, 236.
  7. ^ a b Van Schaik (2013), p. 234.
  8. ^ Van Schaik (2013), pp. 232, 235.
  9. ^ "China/Tibet (1950-Present)". University of Central Arkansas .
  10. ^ Chen Jian, The Tibetan Rebellion of 1959 and China’s Changing Relations with India and the Soviet Union, Journal of Cold War Studies, Volume 8 Issue 3 Summer 2006, Cold War Studies at Harvard University.
  11. ^ a b c d Gyatso, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin. "The Genesis Of The Tibetan Women's Struggle For Independence". tibetanwomen.org. Tibetan Women’s Association. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  12. ^ Grunfeld 1996, p. 9.
  13. ^ Norbu, Dorwa (September 1978). "When the Chinese Came to Tibet | Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs". www.carnegiecouncil.org. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  14. ^ Knaus 1999, p. 71.
  15. ^ Knaus 1999, p. 134.
  16. ^ Knaus 1999, p. 86.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Official Website of the Tibetan Government in Exile. History Leading up to March 10th 1959. 7 September 1998. Retrieved March 16, 2008.
  18. ^ a b "Chushi Gangdruk". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  19. ^ a b c "Inside Story of CIA's Black Hands in Tibet. The American Spectator, December 1997". Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  20. ^ page 69
  21. ^ a b http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hpcws/jcws.2006.8.3.pdf page 69
  22. ^ Smith 1997, p. 443.
  23. ^ Smith 1997, p. 444.
  24. ^ a b Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme (1988). 1959年西藏叛乱真相 [The True Facts of the 10 March 1959 Event] (in Chinese). Retrieved 2018-11-27. 达赖喇嘛在他的卧室会见他们时主动提出:"听说西藏军区文工团在内地学习回来后演出的新节目很好,我想看一次,请你们给安排一下。"谭政委和邓副司令员当即欣然应允,并告诉达赖喇嘛,这事很好办,只要达赖喇嘛确定时间,军区可以随时派出文工团去罗布林卡为他演出专场。达赖喇嘛说,去罗布林卡不方便,那里没有舞台和设备,就在军区礼堂演出,他去看。 [While meeting with them (Tan Guansan and Deng Shaodong) in his room, the Dalai Lama initiated a request: "I have heard that after the Tibet Military District Cultural Workgroup completed their studies in China proper, their performance of their new program turned out very well, I would like to attend one such performance; please arrange for this."]
  25. ^ Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme (1988). 1959年西藏叛乱真相 [The True Facts of the 10 March 1959 Event] (in Chinese). Retrieved 2018-11-27. 1959年3月9日下午3点钟左右,西藏工委统战部李佐民同志到我家告诉我,达赖喇嘛决定3月10日去军区看文工团演出,并转告达赖喇嘛的意思说:"噶厦官员明天不用到罗布林卡了,可直接去军区礼堂等他。"
  26. ^ Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme (1988). 1959年西藏叛乱真相 [The True Facts of the 10 March 1959 Event] (in Chinese). Retrieved 2018-11-27. 当天下午六七点钟,我接到代理噶伦柳霞·土登塔巴的电话说,3月10日上午10点达赖喇嘛到军区看演出,要全体噶伦于9时到罗布林卡集合,研究好达赖喇嘛去的办法后随同达赖喇嘛一起去。因为首席噶伦索康·旺钦格列家没有电话,要我转告索康·旺钦格列."
  27. ^ a b c Lama, Dalai (1990). Freedom in exile: the autobiography of the Dalai Lama (1st ed.). New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 0060391162. OCLC 21949769.
  28. ^ Dalai Lama's (1990) Freedom in Exile states that "General Chiang Chin-wu... announced... a new dance troupe... Might I be interested to see them? I replied that I would be. He then said that they could perform anywhere, but since there was a proper stage with footlights at the Chinese military headquarters, it might be better if I could go there. This made sense as there were no such facilities at the Norbulingka, so I indicated that I would be happy to do so" (p. 130)
  29. ^ a b c d Shakya 1999, p. 186-191.
  30. ^ Van Schaik (2013), p. 233.
  31. ^ Shakya 1999, p. 188-189.
  32. ^ Avedon 1997, p. 50 says 30,000
  33. ^ 1959 Tibetan Uprising | Free Tibet goes as high as 300,000
  34. ^ Tell you a True Tibet - How Does the 1959 Armed Rebellion Occur?, People's Daily Online, April 17, 2008 (Excerpts from Tibet - Its Ownership And Human Rights Situation, published by the Information Office of the State Council of The People's Republic of China) : "The next morning, the rebels coerced more than 2,000 people to mass at Norbu Lingka, spreading the rumor that 'the Military Area Command is planning to poison the Dalai Lama' and shouting slogans such as 'Tibetan Independence' and 'Away with the Hans'."
  35. ^ page 71
  36. ^ page 72
  37. ^ Dalai clique's masterminding of Lhasa violence exposed. 30 March 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2008. Archived 2009-05-04.
  38. ^ "The Tibetan uprising: 50 years of protest". The Guardian. March 10, 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  39. ^ a b Vandenbrink, Rachel (March 5, 2012). "Women Energize Tibetan Struggle". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  40. ^ Li, Jianglin (October 10, 2016). Tibet in Agony: Lhasa 1959. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 157. ISBN 9780674088894. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  41. ^ Smith 1997, p. 446.
  42. ^ Richardson 1984, pp. 209-10.
  43. ^ Van Schaik (2013), pp. 235, 236.
  44. ^ a b c Van Schaik (2013), p. 236.
  45. ^ Chushi Gangdruk Archived 2008-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^ Stuart and Roma Gelder, Timely Rain: Travels in New Tibet, in Monthly Review Press, New York, 1964, facing p. 160 : "He [the dalai-lama] was told this building with other palaces in the Jewel Park was reduced to ruin by Chinese gunfire soon after he left. We found its contents meticulously preserved."
  47. ^ Garver 1997, p. 172.
  48. ^ Garver 1997, p. 170.
  49. ^ Garver 1997, p. 171.
  50. ^ Okawa, Kensaku (2007). "Lessons from Tibetans in Taiwan: Their history, current situation, and relationship with Taiwanese nationalism" (PDF). The memoirs of the Institute of Oriental Culture. University of Tokyo. 152: 588–589, 596, 599, 602–603, 607. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-24.
  51. ^ Mackerras, Colin (1988). ""Drama in the Tibetan Autonomous Region."". Asian Theatre Journal. 5 (2): 198–219. JSTOR 25161492.
  52. ^ Grunfeld 1996, p. 247.
  53. ^ a b Hao, Yan (March 2000). "Tibetan Population in China: Myths and Facts Re-examined" (PDF). Asian Ethnicity. 1 (1): 20. doi:10.1080/146313600115054.
  54. ^ Conboy & Morrison 2002, p. 220.
  55. ^ Conboy & Morrison 2002, p. 213.
  56. ^ Feigon 1996, pg. 163
  57. ^ The 10th Panchen Lama Archived 2008-11-23 at the Wayback Machine
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  62. ^ Rosenthal, A. M. On My Mind; You Are Palden Gyatso, The New York Times, April 11, 1995
  63. ^ Huckenpahter, Victoria (October 1, 1996). "A Bodhisattva's Ordeal/". Snow Lion. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  64. ^ Pittman, Congressman Michael. "TRIBUTE TO PALDEN GYATSO". congress.gov. 109th Congress, 2nd Session Issue: Vol. 152, No. 84, June 26, 2006. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  65. ^ Waller, Douglas (June 24, 2001). "Weapons Of Torture". Time. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
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  • Shakya, Tsering (1999). The Dragon In The Land Of Snows. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-11814-9.
  • Smith, Warren W., Jr (1997). Tibetan Nation: A History Of Tibetan Nationalism And Sino-tibetan Relations. Westview press. ISBN 978-0-8133-3280-2.
  • Van Schaik, Sam (2013). Tibet: A History. London; New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300194104.
  • Watry, David M (2014). Diplomacy at the Brink: Eisenhower, Churchill, and Eden in the Cold War Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

External links

11th Motorized Infantry Division (People's Republic of China)

The 11th Division (Chinese: 第11师) was created in February 1949 under the Regulation of the Redesignations of All Organizations and Units of the Army, issued by Central Military Commission on November 1, 1948, basing on the 3rd Security Brigade, 4th Column of the PLA Northwest Field Army. Its composition can be traced to 84th Division of 27th Corps, Military Division of Shaanxi-Gansu, 29th Corps, Independent Division of Shanganning, 2nd Regiment of Shanganning, 1st Independent Division of Northern Shaanxi and Headquarters, 4th Corps, all parts of Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army.

The division was composed of 31st, 32nd and 33rd Regiments. Under the command of 4th Corps it took part in the Chinese Civil War. including the Battle of Yan'an and Lanzhou Campaign. After the foundation of the People's Republic of China, the division took part in the Campaign to Suppress Bandits in Northwestern China and the suppression on 1959 Tibetan uprising.

In June 1952 the division was renamed as 11th Infantry Division. 33rd Infantry Regiment was disbanded and absorbed into 31st and 32nd Regiments, while 30th Infantry Regiment, 10th Division was attached to the division as 30th Infantry Regiment, 11th Infantry Division. Artillery Training Regiment, 4th Corps was attached to the division as Artillery Regiment, 11th Infantry Division.

In April-June 1953, all regiments of the division was renamed as:

31st Infantry Regiment (former 30th);

32nd Infantry Regiment (former 31st);

33rd Infantry Regiment (former 32nd);

305th Artillery Regiment (former Artillery).From October 1960 the division was renamed as 11th Army Division (Chinese: 陆军第11师). The division was then stationed in Shigatse, Tibet.

In October 1962 the division took part in Sino-Indian War. During the campaign the division allegedly neutralized 2,000 Indian soldiers, captured 9 tanks and over 300 trucks. From 1962 the division maintained as a catalogue A unit.

In 1965, in order to distract the Indian Army and support Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the division conducted two camouflage maneveurs alongside the border.

In 1967 the division took part in Nathu La and Cho La clashes.

In June 1969, 305th Artillery Regiment was renamed as Artillery Regiment, 11th Army Division.

From April 1979, the division moved to Urumqi, Xinjiang.

From 1983 the division was reduced to a catalogue B unit.

In 1985 the division was renamed as 11th Motorized Infantry Division (Chinese: 摩托化步兵第11师), as a northern motorized infantry division, catalogue A unit. By then the division was composed of:

31st Infantry Regiment;

32nd Infantry Regiment;

33rd Infantry Regiment;

Tank Regiment (former Independent Tank Regiment of Urumqi Military Region);

Artillery Regiment;

Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment (former 662nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment of 73rd Artillery Division).In 1988, 11th Motorized Infantry Division was decorated as a Red Army Division, with its all three infantry regiments as Red Army Regiments.

In 1998, 33rd Infantry Regiment was disbanded. Tank Regiment, 11th Motorized Infantry Division was renamed as Armored Regiment, 11th Motorized Infantry Division. Since then the division was composed of:

31st Infantry Regiment;

32nd Infantry Regiment;

Armored Regiment;

Artillery Regiment;

Anti-Aircraft Regiment.The division is now a maneuver unit of Xinjiang Military Region and one of few divisions left in the Ground Force of People's Liberation Army.

1959 in China

Events in the year 1959 in China. The country had an estimated population of 665 million people.

1987–89 Tibetan unrest

The 1987–1989 Tibetan unrest were a series of pro-independence protests that took place between September 1987 and March 1989 in the Tibetan areas in the People's Republic of China: Sichuan, Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai, and the Tibetan prefectures in Yunnan and Gansu. The largest demonstrations began on March 5, 1989 in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, when a group of monks, nuns, and laypeople took to the streets as the 30th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising approached. Police and security officers attempted to put down the protests, but as tensions escalated an even greater crowd of protesters amassed. After three days of violence, martial law was declared on March 8, 1989, and foreign journalists and tourists were expelled from Tibet on March 10. Reports of deaths and military force being used against protesters were prominent. Numbers of the dead are unknown.

314 Taipei protest

The 314 Taipei protest (Chinese: 314台北大遊行; pinyin: 314 Táiběi Dà Yóuxíng) was a protest that took place in Taipei, Taiwan on 14 March 2010 for the 51st anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising on 10 March 1959. The date also coincides with the 2008 Tibetan unrest, which took place on 14 March 2008. The event was organized by the Taiwan Friends of Tibet (TFOT).

6521 Project

The 6521 Project, sometimes called the "6521 Group," was the moniker given to a nationwide operation initiated by the Communist Party of China in 2009 to ensure “social stability” by cracking down on potential dissidents during anniversaries of political significance. The digits in the campaign’s name are a reference to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, and the 10th anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong.The 6521 Project was initiated as a top-level committee by the Communist Party, and was reportedly headed by Xi Jinping, current General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.Under the campaign, all provinces and municipalities were required to establish temporary 6521 taskforces under the local Communist Party and Public Security leadership. Authorities at the township and county levels were also required to implement the 6521 project, reporting on their progress to municipal or provincial taskforces above them.In parallel to the 6521 Project, a top-level coordinating body was created under the direction of Zhou Yongkang, called the "Central Committee for Comprehensive Management of Social Order." The committee identified a series of potential threats to social order, and prescribed measures to suppress them. The threats named included ethnic separatism in Tibet, Falun Gong, protests triggered by unemployment, land grabs, tainted products and labor disputes, crime, and the illicit installation of satellite receivers and illegal publishing. The Committee set out 33 measures to ensure social stability. It also revived a network of volunteer informants in schools and neighborhoods, and established a joint responsibility system that holds heads of households, work units, and local governments accountable in the event of protests or other destabilizing events.


Chagpori, Chakpori, Chokpori, Chagpo Ri (Wylie: lcags po ri, literally "Iron Mountain"; is a spirit-mountain of Vajrapani within the city of Lhasa in Tibet. It south of the Potala and just to the left when one is facing the Potala. It is considered to be one of the four holy mountains of central Tibet.

Chagpori was the site of the monastic medical college of the same name founded there by Sangye Gyatso in 1696. This medical college, which incorporated a recently restored temple made by Thang Tong Gyalpo, was supplied with revenue generating lands and with a constant stream of students by a "monk tax". It remained an important medical institution in Tibet and Central Asia up until the mid-Twentieth century. Peter Aufschnaiter was photographed by Heinrich Harrer on top of the College of Medicine (Men-Tsee-Khang) using a theodolite for surveying the city of Lhasa. Aufschnaiter wrote, "Since 23 December 1947 I have been staying in Lhasa for some months to make a town plan, and have now been appointed to the government service by a decree of the Regent."

During the March 1959 Lhasa uprising, the medical school established by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama named Men-Tsee-Khang and a temple housing statutes of coral (Tsepame), mother-of-pearl (of Tujechempo) and turquoise (of Drolma) were demolished by the People's Liberation Army artillery as the Tibetans had placed a few cannons up there. Jianglin Li's book Tibet in Agony: Lhasa 1959 says,"On March 20 (...) That was the morning of the shelling of Chakpori Hill. While the Tibetan Medical Institute crumbled..."The monk Jampa Phuntsok of the Namgyal Monastery recalled, "when the bombardment of Chakpori Hill began (...) the Tibetans at the Potala could only watch as their beloved landmark went up in smoke." It is now crowned by radio antennas. A road has been constructed through the spur that used to connect Chagpori with the Marpori ('Red Hill') on which the Potala is built. At this spur connecting these two hills was the famous chorten Pargo Kaling, a spired reliquary with a tunnel that was destroyed by the Chinese People's Liberation Army after the March 10, 1959 Tibetan uprising..Some rebuilding has since taken place a number of old rock carvings have survived through damage. Some of them are thought to have been carved during the reign of king Songtsen Gampo (605 or 617? - 649 CE) and painted by Nepalese artists. Some buildings have been rebuilt near the base of the hill and there is now again a small temple with prayer wheels.Tradition has it that the three main hills of Lhasa represent the "Three Protectors of Tibet." Chagpori is the soul-mountain (bla-ri) of Vajrapani, Pongwari that of Manjushri, and Marpori, the hill on which the Potala stands, represents Chenresig or Avalokiteshvara.

Chushi Gangdruk

Chushi Gangdruk (Tibetan: ཆུ་བཞི་སྒང་དྲུག་, Wylie: Chu bzhi sgang drug, literally "Four Rivers, Six Ranges", full name: Tibetan: མདོ་སྟོད་ཆུ་བཞི་སྒང་དྲུག་བོད་ཀྱི་བསྟན་སྲུང་དང་བླངས་དམག་, Wylie: mdo stod chu bzhi sgang drug bod kyi bstan srung dang blangs dmag, "the Kham Four Rivers, Six Ranges Tibetan Defenders of the Faith Volunteer Army") was an organization of Tibetan guerrilla fighters who attempted to stop the invasion of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Tibet. The Dokham Chushi Gangdruk organization, a charity set up in New York City and India with chapters in other countries, now supports survivors of the Chushi Gangdruk resistance currently living in India. Chushi Gangdruk also led The 14th Dalai Lama out of Lhasa, where he had lived, soon after the start of the Chinese invasion. During that time, a group of Chushi Gangdruk guerillas was led by Kunga Samten, who is now deceased. Because the United States was prepared to recognize People's Republic of China in the early 1970s, CIA Tibetan Program, which funded the Chushi Gangdruk army, has to be ceased.

Daniel Herman

Daniel Herman (born 28 April 1963) is a Czech politician who served as 14th Minister of Culture of the Czech Republic in Bohuslav Sobotka's Cabinet from 2014 to 2017.

He was born in České Budějovice. His mother was a cousin of Hana Brady. He began studying theology in Litoměřice in 1984. In 1989, he was ordained as a priest. He then became secretary to Miloslav Vlk. He was spokesman of the Czech Bishops' Conference 1996–2005. In 2007, he applied for laicization. He has since worked as a civil servant for the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Culture. From 12 August 2010 to 10 April 2013, he was the Director of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. Since January, 2014, he is Czech Minister of Culture in Bohuslav Sobotka's Cabinet.In March 2016 preceding state visit of the President of PRC Xi Jinping, he initiated a minute of silence for 1959 Tibetan uprising in Chamber of Deputies followed by the diplomatic note from the Chinese Ambassador.

In May 2016 he caused turmoil due to his visit of congress of the Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft as first minister in history of the Government of the Czech Republic.In October 2016, he caused an international incident by officially welcoming the 14th Dalai Lama after the signing of Czech-Chinese business contracts which do not allow that.

Drapchi Prison

Drapchi Prison, or Lhasa Prison No. 1 (Tibetan: གྲྭ་བཞི་, Wylie: grwa bzhi, lit. "four corners"; simplified Chinese: 拉萨第一监狱; traditional Chinese: 拉薩第一監獄), is the largest prison in Tibet, China, located in Lhasa.

Originally built as a Tibetan military garrison, Drapchi was transformed into a prison after the 1959 Tibetan uprising.It officially opened as a prison in 1965 and consists of a series of nine units and has recently been expanded and restructured. It has an estimated population of 1000 of which some 600 are thought to be political prisoners ranging in age from 18 to 85 many of which are captured monks and nuns.

According to Central Tibetan Administration, the prison has gained a notorious reputation and is feared by the Tibetans due to its strong management. Reports of brutality have been alleged by Tibetan exile groups.In November 1994, 13 nuns were sent to Drapchi to serve a 5-year sentence for endangering state security by protests against the Chinese rule in Lhasa. In April 1996, all the inmates of Unit 3 of Drapchi prison, consisting of nearly 100 female political prisoners, went on a hunger strike in protest of their treatment. The week-long strike caused the prison officers some concern that it might damage the reputation of the prison further if the inmates died as a result and promised an end to the brutality.

Ganden Phodrang

The Ganden Phodrang or Ganden Podrang (Tibetan: དགའ་ལྡན་ཕོ་བྲང, Wylie: dGa' ldan pho brang, Lhasa dialect: [kɑ̃̀tɛ̃̀ pʰóʈɑ̀ŋ]; Chinese: 甘丹頗章; pinyin: Gāndān Pōzhāng) was the Tibetan government that was established by the 5th Dalai Lama with the help of the Güshi Khan of the Khoshut in 1642. Lhasa became the capital of Tibet in the beginning of this period, with all temporal power being conferred to the 5th Dalai Lama by Güshi Khan in Shigatse. After the expulsion of the Dzungars, Tibet was under administrative rule of the Qing dynasty between 1720 and 1912, but the Ganden Phodrang government lasted until the 1950s, when Tibet was incorporated into the People's Republic of China. Kashag became the governing council of the Ganden Phodrang regime during the early Qing rule.

Incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China

The incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China, (called the "Chinese invasion of Tibet" by the Tibetan Government in Exile; called "Peaceful liberation of Tibet" in China), was the process by which the People's Republic of China (PRC) gained control of Tibet. These regions came under the control of China after attempts by the Government of Tibet to gain international recognition, efforts to modernize its military, negotiations between the Government of Tibet and the PRC, a military conflict in the Qamdo area of Western Kham in October 1950, and the eventual acceptance of the Seventeen Point Agreement by the Government of Tibet under Chinese pressure in October 1951. In the West, it is generally believed that China annexed Tibet. The Government of Tibet and Tibetan social structure remained in place in the Tibetan Autonomous Region under the authority of China until the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when the Dalai Lama fled into exile and after which the Government of Tibet and Tibetan social structures were dissolved.

Kunga Rinpoche

Lama Kunga Rinpoche was born into a noble family in Lhasa, Tibet in 1935, the son of Tsipon Shuguba, The last treasurer in the Dalai Lama's government in Lhasa.

At the age of 7, he was recognized as a reincarnation of Sevan Repa, a heart disciple of Milarepa, Tibet’s great 11th-century poet-saint. Rinpoche entered Ngor Monastery at eight and was ordained as a monk at sixteen. In 1959, he was Vice-Abbot of Ngor Monastery, in the Sakya Tradition, but fled Western Tibet following the Dalai Lama during the 1959 Tibetan uprising.


Leh is a town in the Leh district of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, the seat of which was in the Leh Palace, the former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace in Tibet, the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamshala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Leh is at an altitude of 3,524 metres (11,562 ft), and is connected via National Highway 1 to Srinagar in the southwest and to Manali in the south via the Leh-Manali Highway.

In 2010, Leh was heavily damaged by the sudden floods caused by a cloud burst.

Shangri Lhagyal

Chamdowa Tsawabomei Shangri Lhagyal (1921–1984) (also known as Chamdowa Shangri Lhagyal or Shangri Lhagyal) was a Tibetan resistance fighter against Chinese occupying forces in 1958–59. He was one of the commanders of the Chushi Gangdruk guerrillas, and fled to India in April 1959 shortly after the arrival there of the 14th Dalai Lama.

Tenga Rinpoche

Tenga Rinpoche (1932–2012) was a Tibetan teacher (lama) in the Karma Kagyu tradition.Born in Kham in 1932, Tenga Rinpoche was recognized as a reincarnation of Lama Samten at the age of seven.As he grew older, he studied at Benchen Monastery and was eventually given the name Karma Tenzin Thinle Namgyal from Situ Rinpoche. Soon after, he was given ordination by Situ Rinpoche and entered a three-year retreat.He was an expert in mandala painting and sculpture.In 1959, Tenga Rinpoche left Benchen for Lhasa. After the 14th Dalai Lama left Tibet in relation with the 1959 Tibetan uprising, he escaped with Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and the brother of Dilgo Khyentse, the 9th Sangye Nyenpa Rinpoche. He then eventually traveled to northern India. In India, he settled at Rumtek Monastery, the main seat of the 16th Karmapa. Tenga Rinpoche served the 16th Karmapa for seventeen years, nine of those years in the position of Dorje Lopön.In 1976 Tenga Rinpoche settled in Swayambhunath, Nepal, where he founded a second Benchen Monastery and a retreat center in Pharping.In 1986, Tenga Rinpoche established the new Benchen Monastery in Kathmandu.He visited France regularly, giving teachings at Kagyu-Dzong in Paris and Vajradhara-Ling in Normandy. On September 21, 2003, he laid the cornerstone of the Temple for Peace in Normandy.On 30 March 2012, at 3:24 in the morning Nepali time, Tenga Rinpoche died.Nyima Döndrup, the yangsi (reincarnation) of the previous Tenga Rinpoche was born December 14, 2014 in Nepal. He was discovered in 2017 following the indications of the 17th Karmapa who met him on March 21, 2017 in Bodhgaya for a ceremony at Tergar Monastery.

The Magician of Lhasa

The Magician of Lhasa is a novel by David Michie. The novel follows dual plot lines. The first is set in 1959 and follows a teenage Buddhist monk as he is tasked with transporting an ancient, long-hidden secret of his faith to neighboring India.

The second plot line is set in 2007 and follows a nano-technologist whose research project has been mysteriously taken over by an American corporation.

The novel received stellar reviews, although it was banned in China for its portrayal of the 1959 Tibetan uprising. The Magician of Lhasa has won accolades for illustrating the connection between basic principles of modern physics and ancient Buddhist practices.The novel is published by Trapdoor Books, an imprint of Trapdoor Publishing.

Tibetan Army

The Tibetan Army (Tibetan: དམག་དཔུང་བོད་, Wylie: dmag dpung bod) was the military force of Tibet after its de facto independence in 1912 until the 1950s. As a ground army modernised with the assistance of British training and equipment, it served as the de facto armed forces of the Tibetan government.

Tibetan Uprising Day

Tibetan Uprising Day, observed on March 10, commemorates the 1959 Tibetan uprising against the presence of the People's Republic of China in Tibet. The failure of the armed rebellion ultimately resulted in a violent crackdown on Tibetan independence movements, and the flight of the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso into exile.

Tibetan Uprising Day is observed primarily by organizations and individuals who support Tibet such as Students for a Free Tibet, and is often accompanied by the release of a statement by the Dalai Lama. Tibetan independence groups often organize protests or campaigns on March 10 to draw attention to the situation in Tibet.

In 2008, a series of riots and violent clashes broke out in the Tibetan city of Lhasa when monks were arrested during peaceful demonstrations.

The events in Lhasa triggered a nationwide uprising with protests occurring in every region. The Central Tibetan Administration estimates the number of Protests to have occurred in 2008 to be 336.

Mainland China
Cross-Taiwan Strait
(vs Taiwan)
(after 1 Oct 1949)
See also
Frozen conflicts
Foreign policy
See also

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