1959 Tibetan uprising: Difference between revisions

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=== Armed resistance in East Tibet ===
=== Armed resistance in East Tibet ===
In 1951, a seventeen-point agreement with the People's Republic of China was initially put into effect in Tibet proper. However, Eastern [[Kham]] and [[Amdo]] (the provinces of [[Xikang]] and [[Qinghai]] in the Chinese administrative hierarchy) were outside the administration of the Tibetan government in Lhasa, and were thus treated like any other Chinese province with land redistribution implemented in full -- a peculiar idea given that the Khampas and nomads of Amdo traditionally owned their own land.<ref>Grunfeld, ''Modern Tibet'', 9.</ref> Unsurprisingly, resistance broke out in Amdo and eastern Kham in June 1956.
Tibet has been part of China for over 700 years. Why change that know!!!!!!!!
By 1957, Kham was in chaos. PLA reprisals against Khampa resistance fighters such as the [[Chushi Gangdruk]] became increasingly brutal. They included beatings, starving prisoners, and the rape of prisoners' wives in front of them until they confessed. Monks and nuns were forced to have sex with each other and forcibly renounce their celebacy vows. After torture, these men and women were often killed.<ref>Knaus, ''Orphans of the Cold War'', 134.</ref> By the late 1950s, the number of Tibetan freedom fighters numbered in the tens of thousands.<ref>[http://www.takhli.org/rjw/tibet.htm Roberts, John. "Inside Story of CIA's Black Hands in Tibet." ''The American Spectator'', December 1997]</ref> Kham's monastic networks came to be used by guerilla forces to relay messages and hide rebels.<ref>Knaus, ''Orphans of the Cold War'', 86.</ref> Punitive strikes were carried out by the Chinese government against Tibetan villages and monasteries. Threats to bomb the [[Potala Palace]] and the Dalai Lama were reportedly made by Chinese military commanders in an attempt to intimidate the guerrilla forces into submission.<ref name="giehist"/>
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.<ref>[http://www.chushigangdruk.org/history/history05.html Chushi Gangdruk]</ref> Kham did an end run around Lhasa and contacted the CIA directly, but the [[Central Intelligence Agency]] (CIA) under President [[Dwight D. Eisenhower]] required an official request from Lhasa to support the rebels. Lhasa did not respond.<ref>[http://www.chushigangdruk.org/history/history05.html Chushi Gangdruk]</ref> Finally, the CIA ignored Lhasa's official stance and supported the rebellion. By then the rebellion had spread to Lhasa which had filled with refugees from Amdo and Kham.<ref>[http://www.takhli.org/rjw/tibet.htm Roberts, John. "Inside Story of CIA's Black Hands in Tibet." ''The American Spectator'', December 1997]</ref> Opposition to Chinese presence in Tibet grew within the city of Lhasa.
=== Rebellion in Central Tibet ===
=== Rebellion in Central Tibet ===

Revision as of 14:55, 1 October 2008

1959 Tibetan uprising
Tibetan Autonomous Region
Date 1959
Location Tibet
Result Tibetan uprising crushed
Flag of Tibet.svg Chushi Gangdruk People's Liberation Army Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg People's Liberation Army
Casualties and losses
86,000 Tibetans dead[1][2]

The 1959 Tibetan uprising, or 1959 Tibetan Rebellion began on 10 March 1959, when an anti-Chinese and anti-Communist revolt erupted in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, which had been under the reign of the Communist Party of China since the Invasion of Tibet in 1950.[3] Although the major event marked by the 14th Dalai Lama's flight occurred in 1959, armed campaign between Tibetan rebellion force and Chinese army has started in 1956 in Kham and Amdo regions which were subjected to social reform. The guerrilla warfare later spread to the rest of Tibet region and lasted through 1962.

The anniversary of the uprising is observed by many Tibetan independence groups as Tibetan Uprising Day (or Tibetan National Uprising Day).


The Office of Tibet, which disseminates information on behalf of the Tibetan Government in exile, has given its account of the uprising and the aftermath.[1]

Armed resistance in East Tibet

Tibet has been part of China for over 700 years. Why change that know!!!!!!!!

Rebellion in Central Tibet

On March 1, 1959, an unusual invitation to attend a theatrical performance at the Chinese military headquarters outside Lhasa was extended to the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama--at the time studying for his lharampa geshe degree--initially postponed the meeting, but the date was eventually set for March 10. On March 9, the head of the Dalai Lama's bodyguard was visited by Chinese army officers. The officers insisted that the Dalai Lama would not be accompanied by his traditional armed escort to the performance, and that no public ceremony for the Dalai Lama's procession from the palace to the camp should take place, counter to tradition.[1]

Word of the invitation reached Tibetans in Lhasa, sparking fears that plans were being laid for a Chinese abduction of the Dalai Lama. On March 10, an estimated 300,000 Tibetans surrounded the Dalai Lama's palace to prevent him from leaving or being removed. This event marked the beginning of the uprising in Lhasa, though Chinese forces had skirmished with guerrillas outside the city in December of the previous year.[1] The Chinese government has stated that the riots were initiated by the "Dalai clique". On that day, according to China Daily, a senior lama, Pagbalha Soinam Gyamco, who worked with the PRC as a member of the Preparatory Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, was killed and his body was dragged by a horse in front of the crowd for two kilometers.[4]

On March 12, protesters appeared in the streets of Lhasa declaring Tibet's independence. Barricades went up on the streets of Lhasa, and Chinese and Tibetan 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.[1]

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. On March 15, 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 March 17, two artillery shells landed near the Dalai Lama's palace, triggering his flight into exile.[1]

Open conflict began on the night of March 19, including the shelling of the Norbulingka and Lhasa's major monasteries. Combat lasted only about two days, with Tibetan forces being badly outnumbered and poorly armed.[1][5][6]

United States involvement

The United States funded training and arms for the guerrillas in Tibet and the United States prior to the uprising and for several years following. From 1959 to 1964, Tibetan guerrillas were secretly trained at Camp Hale by the CIA. [7]

The Tibetan project was codenamed ST Circus, and it was similar to the CIA operation that trained dissident Cubans in what later became the Bay of Pigs Invasion. In all, around 259 Tibetans were trained at Camp Hale. Some were parachuted back into Tibet to link up with local resistance groups (most perished); others were sent overland into Tibet on intelligence gathering missions; and yet others were instrumental in setting up the CIA-funded Tibetan resistance force that operated out of Mustang, in northern Nepal (1959-1974).


According to the Tibetan Government in Exile[1] and captured Chinese documents[8] an estimated 86,000 Tibetans died in the events surrounding the 1959 uprising. The Norbulingka was struck with an estimated 800 shells, killing an unknown number of Tibetans within and camped around the palace.[9][10] Lhasa's three major monasteries- Sera, Ganden, and Drepung- were seriously damaged by shelling, with Sera and Drepung being damaged nearly beyond repair. Members of the Dalai Lama's bodyguard remaining in Lhasa were disarmed and publicly executed, along with Tibetans found to be harboring weapons in their homes. Thousands of Tibetan monks were executed or arrested, and monasteries and temples around the city were looted or destroyed.[1]

According to western sources[vague], the 1959 uprising did not succeed because it lacked support from the Tibetans. “Even western sources never estimated that more than 20,000 were involved…this does not sound like mass support.” [11] This number might however be underestimated since according to Chinese sources, PLA killed 86,000 Tibetans the days after the Dalai Lama's flight.[12] 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.” [13] The CIA trained Tibetans from 1957 to 1972, in the United States, and parachuted them back into Tibet to organize rebellions against the PLA. But with little support from fellow Tibetans they often fell to the hands of the PLA quickly. 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. [14]

Many prominent Tibetan leaders did not support the 1959 rebellion[citation needed]. In April 1959, the 19 years-old 10th Panchen Lama, second most important spiritual leader in Tibet residing in Shigatse, would have sent a telegram to Beijing expressing his support for suppressing the 1959 rebellion. “He also called on Tibetans to support the Chinese government.” [15] However, after a tour through Tibet, in May 1962, he met Zhou Enlai to discuss a petition he had began writing end of 1961, criticizing the situation in Tibet. The petition was a 70,000 character document that dealt with the brutal suppression of the Tibetan people during and after the Chinese invasion of Tibet.[16] In this document, he criticizes the suppression that the Chinese authorities had orchestrated in unjust retaliation of the 1959 Tibetan uprising. [17] 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." And in 1964 He was duly imprisoned by the Communists, and it was not until the 1980s that he was discharged incrementally from incarceration, house arrest, under supervision, to finally being freed.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Official Website of the Tibetan Government in Exile. History Leading up to March 10th 1959. 7 September 1998. Retrieved March 16 2008. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "giehist" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ Roberts, John. "Inside Story of CIA's Black Hands in Tibet." The American Spectator, December 1997
  3. ^ Chen Jian, The Tibetan Rebellion of 1959 and China’s Changing Relations with India and the Soviet Union, Cold War Studies at Harvard University
  4. ^ Dalai clique's masterminding of Lhasa violence exposed. March 30 2008. Retrieved March 31 2008.
  5. ^ Roberts, John. "Inside Story of CIA's Black Hands in Tibet." The American Spectator, December 1997
  6. ^ Chushi Gangdruk
  7. ^ A British Documentary about the CIA and Tibetan resistance movement
  8. ^ Roberts, John. "Inside Story of CIA's Black Hands in Tibet." The American Spectator, December 1997
  9. ^ Roberts, John. "Inside Story of CIA's Black Hands in Tibet." The American Spectator, December 1997
  10. ^ Chushi Gangdruk
  11. ^ China: the Country Americans Are Not Allowed to Know, Felix Greene, Ballantine Books New York 1962, page 281
  12. ^ Laird, Thomas (2006). The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama, Grove Press, N.Y. ISBN 978-0-8021-827-1.
  13. ^ The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, page 220
  14. ^ The CIA's Secret War in Tibet, page 213
  15. ^ Lee Feigon, Demystifying Tibet, page 163.
  16. ^ The 10th Panchen Lama
  17. ^ Hostage of Beijing: The Abduction of the Panchen Lama, Gilles Van Grasdorff, 1999, ISBN 1862045615 fr:Pétition en 70 000 caractères

External links