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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tibet in the last century

1903: British India sends Younghusband Expedition to Tibet and defeats the Tibetan Army. The 13th Dalai Lama flees to Mongolia and China.

1904: The British army leaves Tibet after signing the Lhasa Convention, according to which Tibet is to refrain from entering into treaties with foreign powers and sanction the opening of British trade marts at Gyangtse and Gartok.

1907: British and Russia render recognition to China's nominal suzerainty over Tibet. The agreement violates the British government's erstwhile recognition of Tibet as an independent country.

1910: Manchu General Chao Erfang attacks Tibet, bringing down the final curtain on the centuries-old priest-patron relationship shared between the Manchu dynasty and the Dalai Lama escapes to India.

1912: An independence campaign led by the Dalai Lama results in the withdrawal of Chinese troops from Tibet's central province.

1913: The Dalai Lama issues proclamation of Tibet's independence after the last Chinese has been driven out from Amdo and Kham. He sets in motion the process of modernisation in order to make Tibet stronger.

1914: British India, China and Tibet enter into Shimla Agreement as independent powers. Chinese refusal to ratify the treaty results in the invalidation of China's nominal suzerainty over Tibet.

1933: the 13th Dalai Lama, Thupten Gyatso, passes away at the age of 54. Reting Thupten Jampel Yeshe appointed to Regency.

1935: The future 14th Dalai Lama is born in Amdo, Tibet's north-eastern province, to Choekyong Tsering and Dekyi Tsering.

1939: The boy, Lhamo Dhondup, is officially recognised as the 14th Dalai Lama in a hair-cutting ceremony presided over by Reting Rinpoche.

1940: The Dalai Lama is enthroned in the Potala Palace.

1947: Tibetan government felicitates India on its newly gained independence. Tibet is represented by its own delegation in the Asian Relations Conference held in Delhi.

1948: Tibetan government dispatches a high-level trade delegation abroad, led by Shakabpa, in order to demonstrate Tibetan independence. The United Kingdom and United States issue visas on Tibetan passports in recognition of Tibet's independence status.

1949: Alarmed by the Communists' declaration to "liberate" Tibet, the Tibetan Foreign Bureau writes to the British Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, seeking support. The Foreign Bureau encloses the copy of a letter that has been sent to Chairman Mao, which declares that Tibet is an independent country and that the new government should observe the established boundary. In December, the Kashag sends a telegram to the British Government requesting support for admission of Tibet into the U.N.

1950: 40,000 PLA troops attack Chamdo, eastern Tibet's provincial capital. Two days later, the 8000-strong Tibetan army is defeated and Chamdo Governor Ngaboe Ngawang Jigme held hostage. Indian Foreign Ministry sends a protest letter to the Chinese government. Britain and United States express support to the Indian position.

1951: Tibetan delegation is forced to sign the infamous "17-point Agreement in Beijing, despite the delegation not having the authority to enter into any agreement. Communist China affixes a forged Tibetan seal to the agreement. Lhasa becomes a marching ground to tens of thousands of Chinese soldiers.

1952: The 10th Panchen Lama arrives in Lhasa and meets with the Dalai Lama. The forced agreement sees its implementation with the formation of a Tibet Work Committee.

1954: With the signing of Panchsheel Agreement with China, India forsakes its recognition of Tibetan sovereignty. The Dalai Lama visits Beijing with an entourage of officials and dignitaries. Increasing number of refugees start arriving in Lhasa from Kham and Amdo with stories of Communist attacks on religion and religious institutions.

1956: The Dalai Lama journeys to India for the Buddha Jayanti celebration. He discusses possible asylum with Prime Minister Nehru, but is persuaded to return home by Premier Zhou Enlai of China on the promise that Beijing will rectify the deteriorating situation in Tibet. China sets up the Preparatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet (PCART) to replace the Tibetan government.

1958: The inaugural meeting of Chushi-Gangdrukis held in June with Andruk Gompo Tashi as its leader. A new yellow flag with two crossed swords is unveiled as the standard of the Tibetan guerrilla resistance movement. The CIA's first arms drop into Tibet is made in July. Tibetan guerrilla resistance movement. The CIA's first arms drop into Tibet is made in July. Tibetan guerrilla resistance has by now spread to central Tibet.

1959: Tibetan national uprising breaks out in Lhasa. China crushes the uprising killing 87,000 Tibetans. Tibetan Women's Association formed in Lhasa to challenge the Chinese occupation of Tibet. The Dalai Lama leaves for India, some 80,000 Tibetans following him into exile. Chinese Premeire Zhou Enlai announces the dissolution of the Tibetan Government. The Dalai Lama repudiates the "17th - point Agreement" on reaching Tezpur in Assam, northeast state of India. He says this "agreement" was thrust upon the "Tibetan Government in the exiles of Mussorie, north India hill station, the Dalai Lama declares, "Wherever I am, accompanied by my government, the Tibetan people recognise us as the Government of Tibet." The UN General Assembly passes its first resolution on Tibet, calling for "respect for the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people and for their distinctive cultural and religious life".

1960: Unofficial Tibetan guerrilla base established in Mustang, Nepal, to continue covert armed resistance against Chinese occupation of Tibet. The Tibetan Government-in-Exile moves to Dharamsala, north-west India. The International Commission of Jurists publishes its first report on Tibet, criticising China of "wanton killing of Tibetans" and systematic disregard for the obligations under the "17-point Agreement of 1951". The Tibetan Parliament in exile is established.

1961: The UN General Assembly passes its second resolution on Tibet, recognising the right of the Tibetan people to self-determination.

1962: 97 percent of monasteries and nunneries in the "Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)" and 99 percent of monasteries and nunneries outside the "TAR" are by now either depopulated or in ruins. Of 6,259 monasteries and nunneries in the whole of Tibet, only eight remains undestroyed. Panchen Rinpoche's "70,000 character petition" to the Chinese leadership testifies to this destruction.

1963: The Dalai Lama promulgates the democratic constitution for future Tibet.

1964: The Panchen Lama arrested in Lhasa after publicly supporting the Dalai Lama. 10,000 Tibetan students demonstrate in Lhasa against Chinese policy.

1965: The UN General Assembly passes its third resolution on Tibet, renewing its "call for the cessation of all practices which deprive the Tibetan people of the human rights and fundamental freedoms which they have always enjoyed".

1966: Mao's Cultural Revolution unleashes a further wave of death and destruction in Tibet. Panchen Rinpoche is arrested and sentenced to almost ten years of imprisonment.

1970: Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the largest non-governmental political organisation of the Tibetans in exile, established with its headquarters in Dharamsala.

1971: China stations the first nuclear weapons in Tsaidam Basin in Tibet's Amdo province.

1979: Following his announcement of a policy of liberation in Tibet, Deng Xioping meets Gyalo Thondup, elder brother of the Dalai Lama, in Beijing and tells him that China is willing to discuss and resolve with Tibetans all issues other than the complete independence of Tibet. The Dalai Lama sends the first fact-finding delegation to Tibet.

1980: The second fact-finding delegation visits Tibet. The third fact-finding delegation visits Tibet in the same year in July, while the fourth fact-finding delegation visits northeastern Tibet five years later.

1981: The Dalai Lama writes to Deng Xiaoping,stating that the three delegations have found the conditions in Tibet sad and that "genuine efforts must be made to resolve the problem of Tibet"" CCP General Secretary Hu Yaobang replies with "China's Five-point Policy towards the Dalai Lama" which practically seeks to reduce the Tibet issue to the question of the Dalai Lama's personal status.

1984: The three-member exploratory delegation visits Beijing for another round of talks, but without success in achieving substantive negotiations. Tibetan Government-in-exile announces the death of 1.2 million Tibetans as a direct result of Chinese invasion and occupation.

1987: The Dalai Lama addresses the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus and puts forward his Five-Point-Peace-Plan for resolving the Tibet issue through negotiations with the Chinese government. Two major independence demonstrations erupts in Lhasa a month later.

1988: Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Dalai Lama elaborates on the Five-Point-Peace-Plan and proposes talks leading to a "self- governing democratic political entity" for all the three provinces of Tibet. This entity, the Dalai Lama says, will be "in association with the People's Republic of China" and that Chinese government can continue to "remain responsible for Tibet's foreign policy and defence".

1989: The 10th Panchen Lama passes away while on a visit to Shigatse. A few days before his mysterious death, he publicly states that Chinese rule in Tibet has brought more harm than benefit. In answer to three years of protest demonstrations in Lhasa, all brutally cracked down, China finally imposes Martial Law in Tibet. The Dalai Lama wins the Nobel Peace Prize in October.

1990: The Dalai Lama introduces sweeping democratic reforms in the exile administration, empowering the popularly-elected Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies (ATPD) to elect the Cabinet Ministers of the exile government.

1991: The ATPD adopts a new democratic constitution for the Tibetan Government-in-exile. US President George Bush signs into law, a congressional resolution declaring Tibet an occupied country.

1992: In the "Guidelines for Future Tibet's Polity and Basic Features of its Constitution", the Dalai Lama states that in a future, free Tibet, he will relinquish his powers in favour of a popularity elected government.

1995: The Dalai Lama announces Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, a six-year-old child in Tibet, as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. China spirits away Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and enthrones an alternative candidate, Gyaltsen Norbu, as the 11th Panchen Lama. The whereabouts of the Dalai Lama recognised boy and his parents remain unknown to this day.

1996: China begins Strike Hard, Patriotic Re-education and Spiritual Civilisation campaigns, all aimed at coercing the Tibetan people, especially the monks and nuns, to renounce their faith in the Dalai Lama.

1997: The Dalai Lama visits Taiwan to a tumultuous welcome and a high-profile meeting with President Lee Tang-hui. The US Administration creates a new post in the State Department to oversee and report on Tibetan Affairs. Greg Craig is appointed the first Co-ordinator for Tibet.

1998: Six members of Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) undertake an unto-death hunger strike in New Delhi to pressure the UN to implement the recommendations of the International Commission of Jurist' 1997 report on Tibet. One TYC supporter, Thupten Ngodup, dies from self-immolation.

1999: Three members of TYC undertake an unto-death fast in Geneva to pressure the 55th session of the UNHRD into censuring China on its human rights practices in Tibet.

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