Libmonster ID: U.S.-1245
Author(s) of the publication: Yu. M. GALENOVICH


Doctor of Historical Sciences

Developments in Tibet remain the of many politicians and observers in the West. The anti-Chinese riot that broke in Lhasa in March 2008 showed that the indigenous population of this autonomous region of the PRC not accept the order established by the . The following article explains the history and current state of relations between Tibetans and the Government.

Tibet is sometimes called the " roof of the world." It really is a unique place on Earth. In a sense, we can say that Tibet belongs to all of humanity. It can also be said that Tibetans are zealous guardians of the Buddha's teachings.

Tibet seems to be elevated above the Ground. The history, geography, culture, and way of life of Tibet is something unique and special.

The Tibetan Plateau is located in Central Asia, in China. It is one of the largest (about 2 million square kilometers) and highest on the globe.

We are talking about an area where natural conditions themselves have created an environment in which such a national community as Tibetans has formed with its own independent and separate history, culture, and way of life.

Until very recently, the population of the Tibetan Plateau was traditionally almost mono-national, i.e., it consisted of Tibetans. For example, the Great Qihai Chinese Encyclopedia states that in 1956 Tibetans made up 90% of the population of Tibet. Their total number in China in 2000 was 5 million 416 thousand people.

At the same time, in the part of the Tibetan Plateau and traditional Tibet that was declared the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) or Tibet Autonomous Region in China on September 9, 1965, today less than half of all Tibetans live - 2.8 million people. This means that before 1951, the territory traditionally inhabited by Tibetans was geographically separated from the other provinces of China adjacent to it, a region with a mono-national population.

Tibetans were originally an independent ethnic group, not being an integral part of any other people, including the Han (actually Chinese).

Tibetans are used to living in the Tibetan Plateau on their own, on their own. They created their own state in the seventh century AD. It has existed for more than five centuries. Only under the rule of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1280 - 1368) did the Chinese Empire forcibly turn Tibet into an administrative part of its state. This happened in the 13th century. It remained in this position for about two centuries. Then, as China's military pressure eased, Tibet gained independence. And it lasted for almost four centuries. In the 17th century. The Dalai Lama became the spiritual and secular head of Tibet.


It was only in the middle of the 18th century that the Manchu - founded Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) again forcibly incorporated Tibet into China. But at the same time, the Dalai Lama's power remained. This was a compromise that reflected both the real balance of military power in favor of the Qing emperors and the indomitable desire of the Tibetans to maintain their traditional secular and spiritual power in their own ancestral territory.

During the Republic of China and the rule of the Kuomintang Party, the situation essentially did not change. Tibet actually continued to live its own life, separate from China.

In 1949, when the People's Republic of China was established, Tibet remained outside its administrative zone.

In 1951, an agreement was concluded between the Chinese authorities and the Dalai Lama's government, which in Beijing was called "measures for the peaceful liberation of Tibet"1.

This agreement was ambivalent.

On the one hand, it was an intergovernmental agreement, i.e. an agreement between the central and local authorities of the PRC. Thus, to some extent, Beijing had to reckon with the mood of the Tibetans.

On the other hand, it was tinged with Chinese-style Marxism - Leninism-the ideas of Mao Zedong. Beijing claimed that before the arrival of the People's Liberation Army, Tibet had a slave-owning and feudal system, with exploitation and oppression of the feudal elite, in other words, monasteries and lamas, from which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intended to "liberate" Tibetans. In Beijing, the "feudal oppressors" from which Tibetans were "liberated" were largely understood to refer to the same administrative authorities in Tibet that were responsible for the liberation of Tibetans.

The snow mountains are Tibet in Tibetan mythology.

page 46

by which Beijing signed the 1951 Agreement.

During the Cultural Revolution, the first secretary of the CCP's Tibet Autonomous Region Committee, Ren Rong, clearly reflected Mao Zedong's mood and intentions, and pursued a "two-point" policy in the spirit of Mao Zedong's ideas.2

The first point called for "seizing on the class struggle" in order to divide Tibetans along class lines. In real life, this meant opposing the Lamas and other Tibetans, and creating a split in society along religious lines.

This policy was bound to fail: it was contrary to the Tibetan mentality. Internal protest, that is, the protest that lives in the souls of people, is what the Chinese authorities have faced in Tibet, and this is what they have not been able to overcome for almost 60 years. The question involuntarily arises: is it even possible to overcome the inner spiritual resistance? It seems that such people can be destroyed, but they cannot be conquered. But a compromise acceptable to both sides is also possible.

The second point proclaimed the need to " get a grip on grain production." In fact, it was an attempt to change the way of life, the traditional way of life of Tibetans who were engaged in cattle breeding. Mao Zedong wanted to "put them on the ground", to force them to engage in grain farming. This policy has brought many troubles to Tibet, and one of them is a large loss of livestock, and the indigenous population lived mainly at its expense. Ultimately, Mao Zedong seems to have cherished the dream of assimilating Tibetans, turning Tibetans into Han farmers engaged in grain cultivation.

Mao Zedong considered the "great proletarian cultural revolution" to be one of his main achievements. Attacking the way people think and live is the essence of Mao Zedong's policy. He set out to change their way of thinking, their minds. Hence, in particular, his desire to transform Tibetans into people who would think like proletarians, deprived of both property and possessions.

Mao Zedong's policy brought the situation to the uprising in Tibet in 1959 precisely because he did not want to take into account the traditions and customs, the culture of Tibetans, and the fact that religion and its main cleric, the Dalai Lama, were traditionally the highest spiritual value for them.


After Mao Zedong's death, there was a period when both sides showed a desire to find ways to align their mutual interests. It was then that a path was outlined that could lead to a solution to the Tibetan problem in the current conditions.

In the 1980s, the then General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Hu Yaobang, attached great importance to resolving the national question in China. He was concerned about the situation in Tibet. The Chinese leader has found ways to partly uproot and partly mitigate the effects of the cultural revolution.

Hu Yaobang presented his policy towards Tibet as a "new Great Campaign", i.e. an event comparable in historical significance to the relocation of the main forces of the Chinese Red Army in the late 1930s from Eastern to Northwestern China. The "Great Campaign of twenty-five thousand li" was probably also remembered because the CCP's experience at that time could be useful. Her troops were advancing through territory traditionally held by non-Han Chinese. Therefore, it was necessary to show respect to the "owners" of certain lands, and these were representatives of national minorities. It was also necessary to take into account their customs and traditions, and above all, it was necessary not to touch in any way the foundations of their traditional way of life, including their religion, and their own administrative and spiritual administration. It turned out that you can cohabit in the same territory, but if you live your own life for both Han and non-Han people.

In an effort to improve relations with Tibetans, Hu Yaobang showed respect for their ideas of autonomy, their traditional way of life, and their attitude towards the Dalai Lama.

May 22, 1980 Hu Yaobang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) Wang and Li flew to Lhasa at the head of a group to study the situation in Tibet, where none of the former leaders of the PRC had ever visited before.3

page 47

Hu Yaobang promoted the message: "cadres should serve Tibet" (90% of officials in Tibet are Han Chinese). It was a turn in politics. The Secretary General called for respect for the realities, for the search for a common language with Tibetans. This was a sign of respect for a certain independence of Tibetans. This softened the internal protest of Tibetans against the actions of the central authorities of the PRC.

The Chinese leader understood that the main problem for Tibet was poverty: the standard of living there was much lower than in other parts of China, even in other areas where ethnic minorities live. Hu Yaobang also realized that many of the vices of society in Tibet are the product of history and that it is impossible to change the situation in a short time.

The first secretary of the CPC TAR Committee, Ren Rong, was removed from his post. Yin Fatang was appointed instead. He had great respect for the language and customs of Tibetans, worked to ensure that Tibetans held positions of officials at various levels in their homeland, and advocated for the development of the economy and culture.

The Chinese Government has announced that no taxes will be levied on either agricultural products or livestock in Tibet for the next two years, i.e. 1981 - 1982. Mandatory purchases for distribution, trade tax on collective enterprises, in the sphere of trade and in other industries were abolished. It was also promised to raise government procurement prices for barley. This gave real results. The mood of the people changed.

In 1981. Hu Yaobang received the Dalai Lama's older brother and offered to "look to the future" and start negotiations. He also said that he would welcome the return of the Dalai Lama (who emigrated from China in 1959), who could take the post of Vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.4

The Dalai Lama knew the Chinese leader's opinion. In September 1982, when Hu Yaobang was again elected General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, the Dalai Lama sent a telegram on this occasion saying :" When Hu Yaobang visited Lhasa in 1980, I began to trust him, because he showed the courage to admit that in his work to govern Tibet there are serious problems. This is a frank position that deserves approval." The Dalai Lama also said, " At present, I still have confidence in Hu Yaobang and look forward to meeting him in the future."5

In short, it can be stated that under Hu Yaobang, steps were taken that could lead to a solution to the issue of relations between Beijing and Tibet. Unfortunately, all this took time. But Hu Yaobang did not have it: in 1978, he was removed from power.


There is a situation that still does not suit the bulk of the indigenous population of Tibet. It expresses its discontent in various forms that are more like civil disobedience, first of all, avoiding cooperation with the Chinese authorities as much as possible. Indigenous people are actually guided by the principle of: we Tibetans live on our own, and the authorities live on their own. Tibetans continue to live, first of all - spiritually, their traditional life, without perceiving either the ideology or the rule of the central authorities of the PRC.

Currently, there are disagreements between Beijing and the Dalai Lama, who retains unquestionable authority among Tibetans, on the issue of the " middle way "(by" middle way " Tibetans mean the need to take into account the peculiarities inherent only in Tibet and Tibetans), on the issue of the existing political system in Tibet (Tibetans would like to restore the Dalai Lama's status), on the issue of" Greater Tibet "(Tibetans would like to return to the TAR those areas that were" cut off " from Tibet in 1965). Tibetans also want Han Chinese and Chinese Muslims to move from their homeland to other parts of China, and the army to withdraw.

There are forces in Beijing that absolutize the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of the PRC, the fundamental interests of the Zhonghua nation( the Chinese nation), in fact denying the rights of religious and national minorities. This approach is fraught with undesirable consequences.

In March-April 2008, Tibetans clashed with the authorities. There were human casualties. Arrests were made. In other words, the situation has escalated. It seemed that both the Tibetans and the central government were not yet ready to make concessions.

Nevertheless, it was precisely after this escalation of the situation that negotiations were held in May 2008 between representatives of Beijing and the Dalai Lama in Shenzhen, on the territory of the People's Republic of China. A few months later, in the same year, these negotiations were continued. Judging by the public statements of the parties, no progress was made on them. At the same time, no termination of contacts was reported.

It seems that sooner or later the parties will have to find a compromise that would suit both Tibetans and the Beijing authorities.

1 The newest history of China 1917-1970, Moscow, 1972, p. 250.

Yang Zhumei. 2 Hu Yaobang zhuan liue (Short biography of Hu Yaobang). Beijing, Xinhua Chubanshe Publishing House, 1989, p. 126.

Yang Zhumei. 3 Edict. op. p. 126-127.

Yang Zhumei. 4 Edict. op. p. 128.

5 Ibid.


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