|dc.description.abstract||Tibet is a region that lies in the southwestern of China. With its rapid-changing climate, elevated terrain and other characteristics, Tibet is a region different from other parts of Han-dominated China. These unique characteristics also made the administration of Tibet very difficult. Since the Tang dynasty, contact between the Tibetan regions and China became increasingly frequent. The Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties came afterwards all adopted the “jimi” methods, an administrative policy that made use of local elites to govern Tibet. However, due to the unceasing foreign and internal upheavals after the ascension of the Republic of China and the influences of foreign powers, Tibet was able to free itself from Chinese ruling.
When the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949, Mao Zedong ordered a solution for the Tibetan issue on the basis of “Tibet being an inseparable part of China”. In 1950, Communist China attempted to force military unification after a series of ineffective negotiations with the Tibetan Kashag. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded and occupied Qamdo in eastern Tibet, forcing the Tibetan Kashag to name Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme as a representative to negotiate with Communist China, signing the 17 Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet. The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, who had retreated to Chomo Zong, was advised by Zhang Jingwu, the Chinese Communist Party Representative in Tibet, to return to Lhasa, initiating an era of “one nation, two systems”.
However, the rule of Communist China was not as smooth as they had expected. They first encountered insubordination from members of the Tibetan upper-class, leading to great difficulties. At the same time, the presence of the PLA required large amounts of food, driving up prices in the Lhasa area. In 1952, the People’s Committee event erupted. As a result, the Tibetans wrote a letter to Zhang Jingwu protesting against the presence of the PLA and Chinese officials in Lhasa.
Due to the People’s Committee Incident, Communist China slowed down its process of reforming Tibet, turning the focus to politics. They attempted to bring about a stable political environment, and combined educational measures for propaganda and indoctrination, inviting the Tibetans to send representatives and visit Beijing. At the same time, road construction projects running from Kangdin and Qinghai to Tibet were completed. Besides providing easier access, the political and military values of the highways were also extremely important.
In 1956, the Provisional Committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Region was established. The Tibetans expected to have autonomous rights, but were afraid that the designation was a means by which Communist China could prepare and pursue reforms. Although Mao Zedong had repeatedly expressed that “democratic reforms” in the Tibet would be delayed indefinitely, the statement was restricted only to Tibet proper. Tibetans living in the Kangdin region in Sichuan province was not amongst them. In 1957, members of the armed resistance against the “democratic reforms” in Tibetan regions of Sichuan formed the “Chushi Gangdruk” organization in Lhasa, and started joining forces with Tibetans in Tibet proper.
In 1959, mutual distrust between Communist China and the Tibetan elites had reached its limits. On March 17, the Dalai Lama decided to escape to India when the artillery bombardment began. Communist China also started attacking Lhasa on March 20. After the battle of Lhasa, the Communists initiated the so called “suppression of rebels”. Since the Dalai Lama had escaped, the Central Government of China was able to pursue “democratic reforms” without rebellion. It was only by this time that Communist China truly controlled Tibet.