The 17-Point Agreement – An inquiry into the Dalai Lama’s return to Lhasa from Tibet-India border in 1951

April 28, 2014

Abstract

In 1950 year-end the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) attacked Tibet and occupied Chamdo. In 1951 the Dalai Lama sent Ngabo and four other delegates to Beijing on a mission to convince the Chinese leadership to end hostilities. The fact of the matter is that the Dalai Lama hadn’t conferred on Ngabo and his assistants the power to conclude any agreement with the PRC. But to the surprise of the Dalai Lama, Ngabo and his associates concluded an agreement with the PRC that will be known as the 17-Point Agreement, without informing or discussing its content with the Dalai Lama. When the Dalai Lama came to know about it, via radio, he was left “transfixed”, because he found “some clauses of the agreement were blatantly untrue and some, completely false”. Yet he did not denounce the agreement outright. A week after some of the delegates returned to Dromo, where he was based at that time, the Dalai Lama returned to the very city of Lhasa from which he fled to Dromo about seven months ago in fear of the Chinese arrival there.

This paper examines some of these murky aspects of the 17-Point Agreement. For example, as soon as the Dalai Lama got wind of the signing of the 17-Point Agreement in 1951 he had the best opportunity to denounce it outright and escape into exile, but he chose to co-exist with the Chinese till 1959, only to escape under the cover of night and denounce the agreement from exile. Many observers find these details paradoxical. In this paper the writer delves into the intractable situation that was forced onto Tibet by the invading Chinese forces and the Dalai Lama’s assessment of the situation then. In the end it is logical to evaluate whether the Dalai Lama’s return to Lhasa had served the desired purpose or not. In the process of doing this, the writer hopes to present a balanced understanding of the circumstances leading up to signing of the 17-Point Agreement and the resulting “demise of the Lamaist state”.

 

 

Introduction

While deliberating on Tibet, particularly on its contemporary history, there is no way but to make references to the controversial 17-Point Agreement. A good number of international Tibetan historians and Tibetologists have done great deal of research on the matter to the extent that there seems no area left for further research. But curious minds wonder what made the Dalai Lama and his government chose to return to Lhasa from Dromo, after Ngabo signed the 17-Point Agreement without the consent of the Dalai Lama and the Kashag [the cabinet of the government of Tibet]. In fact the Dalai Lama and his government could have renounced it out right, and possibly escaped from Tibet. Why did not the Dalai Lama disown the agreement when America was determined to help Tibet? The US wanted the Dalai Lama to clearly reject the agreement and resist Chinese invasion (Marie & Buffetrille edited; Authenticating Tibet 2008; p. 68).

Overview

As soon as the PRC was founded on 1st October 1949, the government of China pronounced their intention of incorporating Tibet into China in no uncertain language. The Tibetan program of Peking radio and Siling (Ch.: Xining) radio repeatedly blared that the PLA would be dispatched to Tibet to “liberate” it from foreign imperialists (Shakapa 1976 Vol. II; [Tibetan] p. 408). At the same time Lhalu, the then Governor-General of Chamdo, telegrammed the Kashag that the Communist Chinese were camping to the east of Chamdo in large numbers and there was a possible danger of Chinese invasion (14th Dalai Lama; My Land and My People 1962; [Tibetan] p. 88).

To counter the imminent Communist Chinese onslaught the Kashag, led by Regent Takdrak, sought help from the few countries that had relations with Tibet. In November 1949 Tibet communicated with the US and Britain seeking their diplomatic and military support in the event of Chinese invasion. In addition, Tibet requested the US, Britain and India to help Tibet to obtain United Nations (UN) membership on the ground that these countries shared a history of close relations with Tibet. But Tibet did not receive any commitment from these countries (B R Deepak; INDIA AND CHINA 2005 p. 123-124).

The government of Tibet, in utmost urgency, convened the National Assembly. The assembly came to the conclusion that Tibet could not match the PRC if Tibet were to engage in a military confrontation with China. Still the National Assembly was under no delusion that the sovereignty of Tibet must be safeguarded at any cost, so it proposed to send missions to Britain, the US, India and Nepal to seek their help to resist the Chinese invasion. The Kashag appointed four delegates and sent messages of their coming visits to the countries. But these countries refused to receive the Tibetan delegates (14th Dalai Lama; My Land and My People 1962 [Tibetan] p. 89).

Thus with no foreign help forthcoming, the Kashag found no other viable option other than negotiating with the Chinese face to face. So a delegation consisted of Khenchung Thupten Gyalpo, Tsepon Shakabpa, Geshe Lodoe Gyatso, Serkya, English translator Taring Jigme Sumzen, Chinese translator Takla Phuntsok Tashi, and Tsering Wangdue was constituted to negotiate with the PRC. The delegation left for India, and from there they communicated with the PRC to send their own representatives with full authority to negotiate at a location outside of the PRC [Hong Kong was the preferred location of the Tibetan delegates].

In mid-1950 the Tibetan delegation received a communiqué from the Secretary-General of the Central People’s Government of the PRC, Lin Boqu, stating that place of negotiation should be Beijing, and that the Tibetan delegates should bear in mind that they represented the local Tibetan government. Thus they could not call themselves diplomats of Tibet (Peaceful Liberation of Tibet 1995; [Chinese] p. 79). The Tibetan delegation remained in India for over one year trying to obtain visas to travel to Hong Kong, and later to work out a preliminary negotiation with the Ambassador of the PRC to New Delhi. But they failed in their endeavors due to lack of favorable foreign support[2] and other reasons[3].

The Battle of Chamdo

With so many insurmountable hurdles coming on their way the Tibetan delegation was left to shuttle between the offices of the Indian foreign ministry and embassies of the PRC and other western countries. The PRC saw this as a tactic employed by the Tibetan delegates to drag their feet and take the PRC for a ride. So on 6 October 1950 the PLA waged a full-scale war on Chamdo, which lasted till 24 October, resulting in the complete defeat of the ill-equipped Tibetan army and capture of Ngabo, who had just recently replaced Lhalu as the Governor-General of Chamdo.

Chinese sources cite the death of Getak Trulku as the immediate cause of the Chamdo battleRobert Ford (B R Deepak INDIA AND CHINA 2005; p. 128-129). Getak Trulku was sent to Chamdo by the PRC central leadership in July 1950 to persuade the Tibetans not to resist the advancing PLA. These Chinese sources allege that Getak Trulku was poisoned to death by “English spy” Robert Ford and his associates on 13 October 1950 (Liao Zugui, Peaceful Liberation of Tibet 1991; [Chinese] p. 37).

But the fact of the matter is that as early as 23 August 1950 Mao Zedong had sanctioned the battle plan to take over Chamdo. And on 26 August the South-West military region issued the “Fundamental Orders of the Chamdo Battle” (Peaceful Liberation of Tibet 1995; [Chinese] p. 22).

Tibet Appeals to the United Nations

At that time the Korean War was a major global concern. And the UN was actively intervening in the Korean War. Tibet saw rays of hope that the UN might as well come to the rescue of Tibet in the face of Chinese invasion. So on 7 November 1950 Tibet appealed to the UN to help counter Chinese invading forces, though the government of India advised Tibet not to do so.

The United Nations General Committee debated the issue of whether to include the invasion of Tibet by foreign forces as an additional item in the UN General Assembly on 24 November 1950. Neither Britain who was largely responsible for the present Tibetan situation nor India who had inherited the British legacy in Tibet supported the Tibetan appeal. Tibet found an unexpected supporter in El Salvador, a small republic in Latin America (B R Deepak INDIA AND CHINA 2005; p. 136-137).

Hector David Castro, the El Salvador representative to the UN, made a case for a draft resolution to be passed on the Tibetan case in the UN General Committee, but representatives of Britain and India spoke vehemently against it and other representatives including that of the US did not support the resolution (ibid). Thus Tibet found itself left to its own fate, once again!

The Dalai Lama Assumes Power

After having lost Chamdo to the invading Chinese forces, with no international help forthcoming, the whole atmosphere in Lhasa was one of fear and anxiety. Regent Takdrak and other senior officials convened meetings to find a solution to the crisis. The Tibetan National Assembly requested Regent Takdrak to pass the rein of the country to the Dalai Lama. Even the state oracles, Nechung and Gadhong, seconded the proposal. At that time the Dalai Lama was only 16, two years short of the minimum age at which earlier Dalai Lamas had assumed both spiritual and temporal power of Tibet. Over and above, the Dalai Lama had much unfinished religious studies to pursue. So initially, citing his young age the Dalai Lama declined the offer (14th Dalai Lama; My Land and My People 1962; [Tibetan] p. 91). Because of the crisis in the country and people’s unanimous faith in his leadership, the Dalai Lama had to give in to repeated appeals from the members of the Kashag and the National Assembly.

On 17 November 1950 the Dalai Lama assumed both spiritual and political authority of Tibet. As soon as he assumed full power, the Dalai Lama sent a letter to the Chinese leadership through the commander of the Chinese army that invaded Chamdo. In the letter the Dalai Lama informed the Chinese leadership that he had assumed full power in Tibet and wished for better relations between Tibet and China. He asked the PRC to release all Tibetan prisoners of war captured in the Chamdo battle and return all territories occupied by Chinese forces (14th Dalai Lama; My Land and My People 1962; [Tibetan] p. 93-94).

At this point in time the atmosphere in Lhasa was tense with growing apprehension that the invading Chinese army might soon storm the holy city. So the Kashag yet again convened a National Assembly meeting, which vehemently proposed that the Tibetan administration be shifted to Dromo on the ground that the Dalai Lama’s safety was of utmost importance. Dromo was located a short distance away from the Tibet-India border, and the Dalai Lama and his government could easily escape to India in case the PLA invaded further into the heartland of Tibet.

So the Dalai Lama accompanied by his senior officials, left Lhasa on 19 December 1950 (Biography of the 14th Dalai Lama, Norbulingka, Vol. III 2009; [Tibetan]; p. 402) and on 7 January 1951[4] the Dalai Lama and major organs of the government of Tibet were relocated to Dromo (Warren W. Smith, Jr. Tibetan Nation 1997; p. 292).

Meanwhile at Chamdo, Ngabo was still a prisoner in the hands of the Chinese. There he was made to receive forced Communist Education[5].  At Dromo the Dalai Lama received a letter from Ngabo, which in fact was a creation of Wang Qimei, the commanding officer of the Chinese army that invaded Chamdo. Ngabo’s letter was not drafted by Ngabo himself. It was dictated by Wang Qimei (ibid p. 142-43). The letter advised the Dalai Lama that Tibet had no alternative but to engage in peaceful negotiation with the Chinese. On the part of the Chinese, they promised they would not move an inch forward from where they were stationed. Ngabo, a very decisive administrator, showed no hesitation in offering himself as the negotiator, if the Government of Tibet found it agreeable. As Ngabo volunteered to shoulder the responsibility of negotiating with the Chinese the Dalai Lama agreed to his proposal and appointed him as the chief negotiator (14th Dalai Lama, Freedom in Exile 1990; p. 67). At the same time a team of four other delegates and two translators was constituted to assist Ngabo[6]. After a lot of uncertainties over the venue of the negotiations, Tibetan negotiators left for Beijing in two teams. One left from Chamdo by road and the other, from Dromo, via India and Hong Kong.

The 17-Point Agreement

Before Tibetan delegates left from Dromo the government of Tibet explicitly instructed that Tibet should remain independent, not a word of Tibet becoming part of China should be said. But in case of utter helplessness they were authorized to accept China’s external rule over Tibet, provided Tibet enjoyed internal independence. The PRC may commission a consul and a few officials in Tibet, but they should not be more than a hundred in number. The PRC cannot deploy soldiers in Tibet. And the Chinese consul should preferably be a devout Buddhist. Most importantly Tibetan delegates should establish telegram link with Dromo as soon as they reached Beijing (Biography of the 14th Dalai Lama, Norbulingka Institute Vol. III 2009; [Tibetan] p. 468-469).

As soon as members of the two groups of Tibetan delegates met each other in Beijing they found themselves literally captives in the hands of the PRC. In Beijing Hotel, where Tibetan delegates were lodged during the negotiation, they had no liberty to receive guests other than Chinese officials. They were not even allowed to go outside the hotel on errands, on the pretext that their lives were at risk. Thus, they were literally confined in the hotel. When Tibetan delegates went outside the hotel under unavoidable circumstances, their movements were monitored closely by Chinese agents[7].

Before the actual rounds of negotiation began, Chinese representatives wanted the government of Tibet to recognize the Panchen Lama, whom the Chinese had recognized some time earlier. Tibetan delegates refused to entertain the request on the ground that they did not have the authority to do so. At that time there were two other prospective candidates of the Panchen Lama in Tibet. Thus, the Tibetan government decided to place the PRC’s candidate among the pool of prospective candidates of the Panchen Lama.

The real Panchen Lama had to be chosen through proper religious procedures, and the Dalai Lama had to bless the new reincarnation. During the negotiation the PRC’s candidate was in Beijing at the invitation of the PRC to assist in the negotiation (Peaceful Liberation of Tibet 1995; [Chinese] p. 31).

The Chinese representatives were adamant that the government of Tibet recognize their candidate as the 10th Panchen Lama. They reasoned that as Mao Zedong had recognized the candidate as the 10th Panchen Lama, the dignity of Mao Zedong as well as that of the government of the PRC would be undermined if the Tibetan government refused to do the same (Warren W. Smith, Jr. Tibetan Nation 1997). So Ngabo sent a telegram to the Kashag informing them that the negotiation could not begin if the Government of Tibet did not approve the child-candidate proposed by the Chinese as the real 10th Panchen Lama. Out of compulsion, rather than conviction, the Kashag approved the Chinese candidate as the real 10th Panchen Lama, though many people from the government and monastic communities demanded a thorough and standard examination to be carried out (14th Dalai Lama My Land and My People 1962; [Tibetan] p. 122).

The issue of the Panchen Lama’s recognition was one of the last about which the Tibetan delegation was able to consult with the Tibetan Government at Yatung. The Tibetans initially communicated with Yatung by means of a telegramic code, which, they believed, the Chinese were unable to decipher. This appears to have been the case, since the delegates reported that the Chinese asked them what was in their telegrams and, after the Tibetans refused to tell them, [they were] prohibited any further communication. The delegation members were closely guarded at their hotel and at the old Japanese Embassy, where the talks took place, and their contacts were restricted (Warren W. Smith, Jr. Tibetan Nation 1997; p. 295).

From then on the Tibetan delegates were literally on their own, with almost zero communication with their Government, and their movements closely monitored by their hosts. The ensuing negotiations resulted in the discussion of only issues the Chinese wanted to settle, in the way the Chinese wanted to[8]. In the process, the Chinese representatives employed tactics of deceit, coercion and threat. For example, in the cases of deployment of the PLA in Tibet[9], establishment of a military committee[10] in Tibet and inclusion of issues related to the Panchen Lama in the agreement, the Chinese delegates explicitly threatened to “liberate” Tibet with force and told the Tibetan delegates that they were free to go back to Tibet. During the negotiations, views of the two parties were so polarized that there seemed no common ground in sight. So on many occasions there occurred high pitched arguments, but most of the time the Tibetan delegates found themselves at the receiving end of Chinese threats. Thus, the Tibetan delegates ended up conceding to Chinese demands in fear of military occupation of the country.

The 17-Point Agreement had a lengthy preamble, on which no prior discussion whatsoever was held during the negotiation. Just a day or two before the actual signing of the agreement, a draft of the preamble was given to the Tibetan delegates. It was the first time the Tibetan delegates saw the preamble[11]. Because the preamble was a whimsical interpretation of Tibetan history by the Chinese to suit their interest, Tibetan delegates made a strong case for not including it in the document. But the Chinese authorities never heeded to the Tibetan appeal.

On 23 May 1951 a ceremony was held in Beijing under the patronage of Vice-Chairman of the People’s Government, Zhu De, and the Agreement of the Central People’s Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet and its appendixes[12] were signed by the members of the two parties. Before putting their names on the document, the Tibetan delegates made it clear that they were doing it merely in their individual capacity. They said they were not representing the government of Tibet (Micheal van Walt; The Status of Tibet 1987; p. 147-48). They even concealed their personal seals and denied having them on their persons. So the Chinese forged wooden seals bearing names of the Tibetan delegates in Tibetan.

The news of the Tibetan delegates signing the 17-Point Agreement came as a bombshell in Dromo. The Dalai Lama was “transfixed” by it because he had kept the seals of the state with himself at Dromo in order to prevent Ngapo and the other delegates from doing so (The 14th Dalai Lama, Freedom in Exile 1990; p. 69). Immediately the Dalai Lama telegrammed and instructed Ngabo and his company to send copies of the agreement to Dromo and remain in Beijing until further instructions. But they chose to return, saying that if the Tibetan government wanted to resume the talks, it would be better to send new negotiators (Marie & Buffetrille edited; Authenticating Tibet 2008; p. 67). Though the Tibetan delegates had signed the agreement, yet its legal ratification still depended upon the Tibetan government, because the Tibetan negotiators lacked plenipotentiary powers (Warren W. Smith, Jr. Tibetan Nation 1996; p. 301).

The Dalai Lama Returns to Lhasa

With the conclusion of the 17-Point Agreement the PRC hurriedly appointed Zhang Jinwu as the representative of the PRC to Tibet. He was assigned to leave for Dromo, along with the group of Tibetan delegates who were returning to Dromo via Hong Kong and India, to meet the Dalai Lama.

When things came to this pass the Government of India felt the Sino-Tibetan problem was a closed affair, so they refused to interfere. The British Government, accordingly, advised the Americans to align themselves with the Indian position. However, the Americans were determined to help Tibet as long as the Tibetans clearly rejected the agreement and resisted Chinese invasion. Therefore, they advised the Dalai Lama to denounce the agreement publicly before the arrival of the Chinese representative on Indian soil (Marie & Buffetrille edited, Authenticating Tibet 2008; p. 68).

At that time Shakapa, the intermediary between the Dalai Lama and the Americans, was living in India. The Dalai Lama telegrammed Shakapa that he had not empowered Ngabo to sign any agreement, so the agreement was not acceptable to Tibet. But until the Dalai Lama heard a thorough report from the Tibetan delegates and met with the Chinese representative to Tibet, he would not publicly reject the agreement (Michael van Walt; The Status of Tibet 1987; p. 148-49).

In this testing time the Dalai Lama was flooded with conflicting counsel, though most of them might have come from well meaning people. There were people who believed it would serve Tibet better if the Dalai Lama escaped into exile and spearheaded Tibet’s struggle with international help. This view was shared by the government of the US, the Dalai Lama’s elder brother Taktser Rinpoche and the Dalai Lama’s long time friend Heinrich Harrer. Among Tibetan officials who expressed similar views included Shakapa, Surkhang, Phalha, Namseling, etc.

But Tibetan monastic community was in favor of the Dalai Lama returning to Lhasa and negotiating with the Chinese for better terms. Ever since Buddhism flourished in Tibet views of the monastic community enjoyed unparalleled weight in national-decision-making processes. Even the two Prime Ministers, Lobsang Tashi and Lukhangwa, and the Dalai Lama’s personal tutor Ling Rinpoche opined that the Chinese would definitely massacre the Tibetan people in case the Dalai Lama escaped into exile. For the sole purpose of convincing the Dalai Lama to return to Lhasa, the abbots of the three monasteries of Drapong, Sera and Gaden travelled all the way from Lhasa to Dromo and made their case to the Dalai Lama (The 14th Dalai Lama, Freedom in Exile 1990; p. 70-71).

After hearing varied and divergent views the Dalai Lama did not have the luxury of time, but had to make a quick decision. He was worried about his people. Till then the Dalai Lama had not met a Chinese communist official, though he indeed had heard a lot about them. So the Dalai Lama felt that if he left for exile without even meeting a single Chinese communist official and getting a little acquainted with their mentality, he could not imagine what fate awaited the Tibetan masses under Chinese rule. Moreover, the Dalai Lama did not foresee guaranteed support from the US, because it was still involved in the Korean War and the people of the US might not favor their government taking up the cause of Tibet at the expense of their tax money[13].

Most importantly, the Dalai Lama abhorred bloodshed. He believed his denunciation of the agreement and accepting the US assistance would most probably mean war with the PRC, which inevitably would result in bloodshed (The 14th Dalai Lama, Freedom in Exile 1990; p. 70). Therefore, the Dalai Lama decided to wait to hear the reports of the Tibetan delegates and to examine the attitude of the Chinese representative. Over and above, the presence of large contingents of PLA at Chamdo in full battle preparedness might possibly have had the desired effect on the Dalai Lama’s mind.

Days later, after having heard reports from the Tibetan delegates and meeting with the Chinese representative, the Dalai Lama felt he could serve his people better if he returned to Lhasa. He intended to personally try to effect changes to some of the articles of the 17-Point Agreement, or to re-negotiate with them a brand new agreement, if possible (Michael van Walt; The Status of Tibet 1987; p. 149).

Conclusion

The Dalai Lama’s return to Lhasa, however maybe paradoxical and debatable, indeed calmed the political atmosphere in Tibet. But his return did not in any way stop the PLA marching into central Tibet, that too in large numbers and from different regions. This is partly because the PLA’s advancement into central Tibet was a decision that the central PRC leadership had taken much earlier. They intended to execute the plan whether or not the Dalai Lama returned to Lhasa. No sooner the 17-Point Agreement was concluded, even though the document still lacked ratification from the Kashag, the PRC ordered many PLA units to advance to central Tibet from different border regions[14]. Like a magician at work the PLA soldiers virtually flooded central Tibet in large numbers in a short period. But their demeanor was gentle and appeasing, at least for the initial period. Had the Dalai Lama chosen to escape into exile from Dromo, considering what would occur later starting from March 1959, the experienced and well-armed PLA would have shown no hesitation in massacring Tibetans while advancing into central Tibet.

The Dalai Lama’s return to Lhasa from Dromo is not an act of accepting the terms of the 17-Point Agreement. After the Dalai Lama returned to Lhasa the PRC’s military build-up in central Tibet increased exponentially with each passing day. Consequently the Chinese tone of speech and demeanor towards Tibetan people, and Tibetan leadership in particular turned aggressive and threatening. This was manifested in the fact that two prime ministers of Tibet, Silon Lobsang Tashi and Silon Lukhangwa, were forced to resign and the Chinese leaders started meeting the Dalai Lama directly, sidestepping established official protocol[15]. Therefore, over time the Dalai Lama’s desire to effect changes to some of the articles of the 17-Point Agreement, or to re-negotiate a brand new agreement with the Chinese evaporated into thin air. Under the gravity of the situation the National Assembly was hurriedly convened and it recommended the Kashag to agree to the terms of the 17-Point Agreement, provided the PRC clarified on some doubts that the people of Tibet felt concerned about[16].

Accordingly, the Kashag sought clarification on three issues from the Chinese representative. The three issues were: first, duties and authorities of the military committee and the military commanding headquarter. Second, as soon as Tibet witnessed development in the spheres of politics, economics and culture, all regions of Tibet should be consolidated or united under a single administration. Third, Amdo should be included under the administrative jurisdiction of Tibet[17].

After much delay, the so-called the Dalai Lama’s telegram to the PRC leadership, accepting the terms of the 17-Point Agreement, was sent on 24 October 1951[18]. This telegram was shrouded in much controversy. The telegram was worded in typical communist language and it exhibited least similarity with the Dalai Lama’s later works. Therefore, one cannot help but doubt that the government of Tibet had submitted a draft telegraph to the Chinese representative and he had edited the telegraph as it was done to Ngabo’s letter.

Had the Dalai Lama not returned to Lhasa from Dromo, the PRC might haveTibetan Uprising implemented land reforms and demographic reforms policies in central Tibet right from 1951, like they had done in Kham and Amdo. In that case, central Tibet would have witnessed similar upheaval of social turmoil and mass hunger that the people of Kham and Amdo had to endure. These extreme policies when implemented in Kham and Amdo compelled Tibetans there to escape to central Tibet en masse. Though catastrophic tragedies did befall on the heads of the people of the central Tibet eventually, starting from 1959, the Dalai Lama’s return evidently delayed them and brought about eight years of relative peace and comfort.

END

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Jampa Tenzin is a research fellow at the Tibet Policy Institute. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the Tibet Policy Institute.

[1] The place is Dromo in Tibetan. Chinese refer to it as Yatung.

[2] Tibetan delegates were refused visas to Hong Kong by Calculta British consulate for over a month. Sometime later the British consulate issued visas to the Tibetan delegates to travel to Hong Kong, on the condition that they required to transit through Burma. Surprisingly, those visas were revoked within no time. According to B R Deepak, the flip-flop stand taken by the British consulate was on the advice of the government of India. The government of India believed “no good would be achieved by any Tibetan attempt to contact the Chinese and the journey should be postponed” (B R Deepak, INDIA & CHINA; MANAK Publication Pvt. Ltd 2005; 125-126).

[3] Shakapa was blamed for delaying departure of the delegates to Hong Kong while the visas were still valid (Shankhawa Gyurme Sonam Topgyal, Rang gi lo rGyud Lhad med rang byung zang; LTWA 1990; (Tibetan) p. 290- 293).

[4] Chinese sources, however, believe that the Dalai Lama and his entourage arrived at Dromo on 2 January 1951 (Peaceful Liberation of Tibet; 1995; [Chinese] p. 30).

[5]Melvyn C. Goldstein, etc. A Tibetan Revolutionary; University of California Press; 2004; p. 140-42

[6] They were Khemei Sonam Wangdue, Lhawu Tara Thupten Tendar, Khenchung Thubten Lekmon, Sampho Tenzin Dondhup, English translator Sadhu Rinchen and Chinese translator Takla Phuntsok Tashi.

[7] Khemei Sonam Wangdue; rGau po’I lo rGyud ‘bel gTam; [Tibetan] LTWA 1982; p. 134-35

[8] Takla, Chinese translator for Tibetan delegates, in his memoir had written that before the agreement was signed Tibetan delegates expressed desire to let the government of Tibet know its content. But the Chinese authorities, sidestepping international conventions, employed delay-tactic, and forced them to sign the agreement under pressure (Takla Phuntsok Tashi, Mi Tshe’i byung ba brJod pa Vol. II, LTWA; [Tibetan] 1995; p. 67-68).

[9] Tibetan delegates managed to send a telegram to Dromo while negotiating on this particular article. But the reply they received from the Kashag was no different from the direction given to them earlier: deployment of the PLA in Tibet should never be accepted, not even for border security (Peaceful Liberation of Tibet 1995; 216). But in the face of possible break down of the negotiation and threat of military invasion of Tibet by the PLA, Tibetan delegates had to concede to the Chinese demand. After much bargaining, Tibetan delegates managed to add an appendix clause to the article. The appendix clause stated that in view of Tibet’s special status, only a minimum possible number of the PLA soldiers would be deployed in Tibet (Melvyn C. Goldstein, etc. A Tibetan Revolutionary; University of California Press; 2004; p. 146).

[10] While negotiating on this article Tibetan delegates managed to add an appendix clause that if the Dalai Lama and the Kashag found it unacceptable, the Dalai Lama would surely go into exile. In that case the Chinese government should allow the Dalai Lama to go into exile and observe the development and growth that the government of China promised to bring to Tibet for some years from afar. Then, as and when the Dalai Lama decides to return he would be welcomed, and he should be entitled to his previous titles and authorities (Khemei Sonam Wangdue; rGau po’I lo rGyud ‘bel gTam; [Tibetan] LTWA 1982; p. 124).

[11]DIIR Bod Du Lag bLtar Byas Pa’I Srid Byus dang Bya Thabs 2002; [Tibetan] p. 25

[12] In one of Lhawu Tara Thupten Tendhar’s articles he had stated that apart from the 17-Point Agreement, there were two other secret appendix documents (Select Cultural and Historical Documents of Tibet, First Edition 1982; [Tibetan] p. 109). Even in Dalai Lama’s autobiography he had recounted having received a copy of the 17-Point Agreement and two other documents from General Chiang Chin-wu (Zhang Jinwu) when the latter arrived at Dromo (The 14the Dalai Lama. Freedom in Exile; Hodder & Stoughton; 1990; p. 72). But, according to Goldstein on top of the publicized agreement, there were three secret appendixes. “The first dealt with the incorporation of the Tibetan army into the PLA; the second, with what would happen if the Dalai Lama decided to take refuge in India: the agreement would remain in force, and the Dalai Lama could return when he wanted to; the third, not disclosed, probably related to the gradual suppression of the Tibetan currency” (As quoted in Marie & Buffetrille edited, Authenticating Tibet; 2008; p. 66).

[13] US expression of support to Tibet might have been a welcome support Tibet much needed then, but their communication with the Dalai Lama and the government of Tibet was rather secretive. The messages were unsigned and written on papers purchased in India that bore no indication of their origin. Over and above, when Tibetan officials and US Embassy officers discussed the details of US support to Tibet, their messages were vague and not credible. Actually the US support was contingent upon Indian cooperation, which seemed not forthcoming. So probably the Dalai Lama did not see much substance in the US expression of support to Tibet and felt that “the US was not interested in Tibetan independence, only in Tibetan resistance to Communism” (see Warren W. Smith, Jr. Tibetan Nation 1997; p. 304-321).

[14]The fact is that just five days after the 17-Point Agreement was concluded, ie. 28 May 1951, a PLA unit headed by commander An Zhiming arrived in western Tibet, Ngari. They joined another PLA unit that had arrived there earlier. On 29 July they entered Phuhring County. On 3 August they were found marching in Gharthok, the main regional headquarters of Ngari. Another PLA unit entered Central Tibet from Yunnan Province of China and arrived at Kongpo Drowa monastery on 30 August 1951. This PLA unit later reached Zayul County (Peaceful Liberation of Tibet; 1995; [Chinese] p. 41). On 22 August 1951 another unit of the PLA set off from the traditional Tibetan Amdo province to advance into Central Tibet and they reached Nagchu County on 4 November 1951 (Annals of Liberation of Tibet; 1991; [Chinese] p. 65). On 9 September 1951 the unit of the PLA that occupied Chamdo arrived in Lhasa under the leadership of General Wang Qimei. This contingent of the PLA had around 600 soldiers, and Tibetan communist Bawa Phuntsok Wangyal was a member of the PLA unit (Melvyn C. Goldstein, etc. A Tibetan Revolutionary; University of California Press; 2004; p. 160-65; Liao Zugui; Peaceful Liberation of Tibet; 1991; [Chinese] p. 97). Later in the year another large contingent of the PLA consisted of soldiers between 8000 to 10000 in number arrived in Lhasa (The 14th Dalai Lama; My Land and My People; 1962; [Tibetan] p. 104). On 26 October 1951 a unit of the PLA headed by Zhang Guohua and Tan Guansan arrived in Lhasa. This PLA unit had around 3000 soldiers (Liao Zugui; Peaceful Liberation of Tibet; 1991; [Chinese] p. 97-98; The 14th Dalai Lama; Freedom in Exile; Hodder and Stoughton; 1990; p. 78). During the latter half of 1951 the PLA was able to station many units at many localities in Tibet, like Palbar, Lhari, Jomdha, Gyaltse, Shegatse, etc (Liao Zugui; Peaceful Liberation of Tibet; 1991; [Chinese] p. 98-00).

[15] The 14th Dalai Lama My Land and My People 1962 (Tibetan) p. 105-115

[16] The main concerns of the government of Tibet were:

1. The number of the PLA soldiers to be deployed in Tibet should be bare minimum. They should not be concentrated in Lhasa alone; instead they should be directly dispatched to border regions.

2. While implementing the agreement, grievances of the Tibetans people should be heard on those policies which are impractical for them.

3. The responsibility of the military committee should be to oversee no PLA soldier breaches the laws of the army.

4. Development and border security of Tibet should be carried out in concurrence with the ground situation of Tibet.

5. The Government of Tibet should have the power and authority to intervene when       the stipulations of the agreement are violated.

6. Visible improvement should be brought to the living condition of the people (Takla Phuntsok Tashi; Mi Tshe’I byung ba brJod pa; [Tibetan] LTWA 1995; p. 80-81).

[17] Select Cultural and Historical Documents of Tibet, Sixth Edition 1985; Liu Yuhong’s Tibet Travel Dairy, [Tibetan] p. 279

[18] Read the telegram in Peaceful Liberation of Tibet; Tibetan people’s publishing house, 1995; [Chinese] p. 206

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