A Quest For Independence History Essay

1. There is a general misconception that Tibetans ne’er truly ‘fought ‘ for their independency. This misnomer is farther reinforced by the cosmopolitan penchant of non-violence by the Tibetans. It seems to the unschooled head that Tibetans merely allowed the Chinese to rampage through their independent state and one time it fell, they all ran off largely to India. However, in world the Chinese forces met with stiff opposition during their March to Lhasa. The appropriation of Tibet took much more clip and attempt than ab initio imagined by Mao and his contrivers. In fact, a full blown armed opposition motion was in topographic point even before the Dalai Lama ‘s flight to safety. Yet, things did non work out the manner the guerillas had hoped they would. This was chiefly due to the involuntariness of any foreign power to impart a assisting manus to the cause. The other grounds were the absence of a strong ground forces, the Tibetan preference for peaceableness and the overpowering Numberss of the PLA.

Backdrop to the Chinese Invasion

2. It is pertinent to briefly analyze the state of affairs predominating prior to 1949 in Tibet. The societal and political order in the state did non portray a perfect being. There were internecine struggles within the assorted sub-sects and cloistered hierarchies. The pious bureaucratism oversaw a aboriginal condemnable codification and implemented economic monopolies that made for a broad societal spread. The religious leaders had invariably shunned the debut of Western inventions due to the fright that modernization would gnaw their cardinal standing in Tibet ‘s civil order. Tibet, as a effect, was the ultimate duality: a state forcing the envelope in footings of philosophical and religious edification, however staying mired in the technological Middle Ages[ 1 ]. To further weaken the province, for coevalss, Lhasa had seen no necessisity for a standing ground forces. It merely retained 3,000 work forces as a canonized boundary line force. Their arms and equipment were disused to state the least.

3. The two Eastern and North Eastern states of Kham & A ; Amdo were comparatively distant in their political dealingss with Lhasa and due to their non-nationalist character were more conformable to the Communists ab initio. These two states were rather easy secured by the PLA and the de-facto boundary between China and Tibet lay along the Yangtse Kiang or Drichu River by early 1950. It should besides be remembered that American or European support was non blatant or easy extroverted because of the Korean Crisis looming big on the international sphere in 1950. On the other manus, Indian leading had miscalculated grossly and impart their full support to the PRC, going the first state to harmonize her acknowledgment. One other really of import issue was the comparative rawness of the adolescent Dalai Lama at that clip sing issues of diplomatic negotiations and international dealingss. There was besides the stiff resistance to his place from the Tashilhunpo Monastery headed by the Panchen Rinpoche.[ 2 ]

The Armed Struggle for Tibetan Independence

4. Initial Old ages. The twosome of old ages following 1950 were characterised by indecisiveness and dithering on portion of the Tibetan leading and furtive efforts at consolidation by the Chinese. The Chinese divided Kham and Amdo into different independent territories and subsequently dissolved the full part into their ain states. These steps were met by indifference from the Tibetans who continued to owe commitment to their local captains. In fact, the general public merely refused to utilize the Chinese currency issued by their swayers and continued trade in the Tibetan Ag coins[ 3 ]. The Chinese besides recognised the demand of traveling slow with their Communist reforms. The revival of Tibetan patriotism was eventually caused due to the puting up of the PCART ( Preparatory Committee for the eventual constitution of the Autonomous Region of Tibet ) . Though the Chinese appointed the Dalai Lama as the Chairman of the PCART, the Tibetan people at big despised it.

5. Revolt in Kham and Amdo. The Communists launched their so called ‘democratic reforms ‘ which included redistribution of land towards their end of collectivization and subsiding of the traditionally mobile communities in 1955. This led to the ‘Kanding Rebellion ‘[ 4 ]which began in Kham and Amdo parts and shortly spread to other parts of Tibet. This rebellion was characterised by self-generated and localized onslaughts on Chinese cells and work topographic points. But its most noteworthy characteristic was that neither was it organised and nor did it hold any cohesive leading. This rebellion led the PLA to take strong action against the Rebels in peculiar and the people in general. It eventually ended with the complete devastation of Changthreng Sampheling and the Lithang monasteries due to air foraies by PLA bomber aircraft. Most of the dwellers of these parts fled to Central Tibet and when they did non acquire any aid from the hapless Tibetan authorities, some fled to India and gave the universe a firsthand history of the Chinese atrociousnesss. The Chinese had more or less contained the rebellion by center of 1956 due to their good military substructure and completion of roads to Tibet.

6. Mimang Tsongdu. Another self-generated reaction to the Chinese reforms and puting up of PCART was the outgrowth of Mimang Tsongdu. It was an administration started in 1954 by the little clip bargainers and lower Tibetan functionaries. What prompted its formation was the realization that the traditional opinion elite had abandoned the immature Dalai Lama and some were even conniving with the Chinese. Mimang Tsongdu began its protests in the signifier of postings and requests to the Kashag ( the Tibetan Parliament ) . It had the silent support of a few high ranking monastic functionaries and spiritual leaders who saw the demand of call uping the multitudes to oppose the Chinese business. The group easy expanded its activities by assisting the hapless of Lhasa and the refugees of Kham and Amdo. Though it was able to unify the Tibetan people in common sentiment to some extent but it finally failed in doing a mass rebellion because of the ambivalent attitude adopted by the Kashag and the Tibetan authorities towards it. This was merely due to the authorities ‘s stated fright of Chinese reverberations on them. The leaders of this group were arrested in Mar 1956 by none other than the Tibetan Police and subsequently released by the Chinese on the status that they would non resuscitate the administration. These leaders were so sent on expatriate to India.

7. American Assistance Begins. By the latter half of 1956, the Korean crisis was more or less under control and the US, prompted by the Chiang Kai Shek disposal of Taiwan, started looking at the larger Chinese inquiry. They were already in changeless touch with the Dalai Lama ‘s brothers Thubten Norbu and Gyalo Thondup since the early 1950s. In February 1957, the CIA cell at Calcutta was assigned by Washington to straight away place an eight member for a Tibetan pilot squad for external preparation that would pervade their native dirt and measure the province of opposition. The showing was done by Gyalo and these eight Tibetans were covertly flown to the US trust district island of Saipan sited on the southern terminal of the Northern Mariana Islands concatenation in the Pacific Ocean. After an backbreaking preparation agenda of about six months, these ‘agents ‘ , equipped with hardy wireless senders and a few arms, were covertly airdropped to assorted topographic points in Kham and around Lhasa[ 5 ]. Though a few got captured by the Chinese, a twosome of these agents performed really good and were instrumental in go throughing on of import info about the opposition to the CIA. Two of these agents, Athar and Lhotse, managed on two occasions to run into Thupten Woyden Phala, the Godhead Chamberlain – an merger of both a personal secretary and head of the domestic staff – to the Dalai Lama. The Americans wanted the Dalai Lama to personally inquire for aid from them to give some kind of legitimacy to their clandestine activities. However, due to the fright of Chinese reverberations there was no such petition forthcoming. During this clip there was a new armed opposition administration being formed called the ‘Chushi Gangdrung ‘ ( Four Rivers, Six Ranges ) around a topographic point called Lhokha which was South East of Lhasa. When Athar and Lhotse could non earn any support from the Tibetan authorities they moved to Lhokha to fall in this group[ 6 ]. Their going marked the terminal of the Americans ‘ efforts to obtain Dalai Lama ‘s blessing.

8. Four Rivers, Six Ranges. Due to constant hesitating on portion of the political leading and their apathetic attitude towards the predicament of the Khampas in peculiar, bitterness was turning. Though the ‘Kanding Rebellion ‘ had been suppressed, the Khampa battle had taken the signifier of a countrywide rebellion. During this disruptive stage, a magnetic and affluent merchandiser from Lithang by the name of Andrug Gompo Tashi began unifying the Khampas and called for a assemblage at Lhokha. This assemblage marked the beginning of a pan-Khampa opposition motion which was named ‘Chushi Gangdrung ‘ ( Four Rivers, Six Ranges ) after the ancient name of Kham[ 7 ]. There were good over 15,000 work forces who formed portion of this assemblage which alarmed the Chinese. Andrug Gompo Tashi was recognised as the leader of this group and it was a great accomplishment on his portion to unify the different cabals of the Khampa community. However, the Khampas were severely equipped and there was no manner they could prolong a battle against the PLA who had been able to relocate 150,000 soldiers to eastern Tibet by the last portion of 1957. The pillar of the operations of this administration was to transport out onslaughts on stray PLA columns and seek to plunder whatever arms and equipment they could. With such a numerical disparity the destiny of ‘Chushi Gangdrung ‘ was a bygone decision. On 16 June 1958, Gompo Tashi officially changed the name of ‘Chushi Gangdrung ‘ to National Volunteer Defence Army ( NVDA ) . This was done in order to interrupt away from regional overtones and offer a name whose representation would appeal to all Tibetans[ 8 ]. The NVDA continued with the same tactics of stray ambuscades or foraies. Their success was nevertheless limited due to the undermentioned grounds: –

( a ) Most of their arms and equipment was disused when compared to the the PLA.

( B ) The NVDA cells were non really good trained in guerilla tactics.

( degree Celsius ) They operated in big Numberss.

( vitamin D ) Last, but most significantly, there was non an shred of support forthcoming from the Tibetan authorities. On the contrary the Tibetan leading thought that if they were seen to be back uping the Rebels so they would hold to digest enduring attributable to the Chinese.

9. American Assistance Continues. When their two most successful agents, Athar and Lhotse joined the ‘Chushi Gangdrung ‘ the CIA secret agents in India asked Athar to go to India to debrief them in individual. Through Athar the secret agents learnt that the rebellion was up and running and they realised that the Tibetan Rebels were one of the greatest ownerships that they had behind the Communist lines. It was so decided to supply material support to the Rebels. In October 1958 and by November covert air beads were organised to present the Rebels about 18,000 lbs of arms, ammunition and communications gear.[ 9 ]They besides began enrolling more Tibetans for specialized preparation and subsequent interpolation into Tibet to move as a nucleus group for developing the newcomer guerilla. The most noteworthy characteristic of this determination was to transport out this preparation on the US mainland in Colorado.[ 10 ]given

10. NVDA Resurgence. By January 1959, the NVDA renewed its attempts with energy as Gompo Tashi was able to instil more subject and order within the ranks. He was able to earn even more support from the local Khampa captains and 7,000 new recruits joined his administration. By the terminal of February 1959 the NVDA had inflicted rather a big figure of casualties on the PLA. But the defects under his bid remained and the sparse air beads by the Americans did non truly bolster Gompo Tashi ‘s stock.

11. The NVDA ‘s Capitulation. By March 1959 the state of affairs in Lhasa had deteriorated and the Dalai Lama decided to fly to India. The NVDA ‘s immediate precedence turned to guaranting his safe transition which they achieved successfully. In one of his last Acts of the Apostless on Tibetan dirt, The Dalai Lama issued a decree confabulating the rank of General on Gompo Tashi.[ 11 ]However, instantly after the sovereign ‘s hegira, there was a sudden push by the PLA across Southern Tibet and the chief casualty of this push was the NVDA. Gompo Tashi crossed the Indian boundary line on 29 April 1959 and with this the organized activities of the NVDA came to an terminal.

12. The CIA ‘s War. The CIA continued preparation and infiltrating squads of Tibetans into the Tibetan mainland, largely to go through information about PLA activities or at times on specific sabotage missions. However, success was limited. On the other manus the PLA was fast pass overing out whatever leftovers of resistance remained in Tibet. Though resupplies for the guerilla was planned but the Downing of the U2 undercover agent plane in Russia in May 1960 all of a sudden put a impermanent arrest to such activities. Tibet was revived once more as a combustion issue after the startup of JFK as President in 1961. A new undertaking to enroll, train and infiltrate a big guerilla force was conceived with nudging from the now exiled Gompo Tashi. The better trained cells of the former NVDA would organize the nucleus of this ground forces. Mustang or Monthang, a little Tibetan land which was portion of inhospitable Northern Nepal was chosen as the base for this Army. Recruits were taken to US and trained and subsequently infiltrated by pes up to Mustang. These guerillas undertook many little actions into PLA held district but major success ne’er came their manner.[ 12 ]After the 1962 Sino-Indian Conflict, India cooperated more readily with the US governments and per force Mustang became a side show. In 1970, because of force per unit area from China, the Nepali Army undertook a monolithic operation to unclutter out Mustang. Simultaneously, there was an unprecedented move by Henry Kissinger to advance Sino – United states dealingss. Therefore came to stop the saga of CIA ‘s aid to Tibet.

13. Post Mustang. After 1970, the Tibetans have non shown organized opposition activities though a listless and disorganized motion for independency continues. There are sporadic public violences in and around Lhasa the likes of which were seen near to the Beijing Olympics in 2008 but none have the power to destabilize the Chinese hold allow alone accomplish independency for Tibet.

Causes of Failure of the Armed Struggle

14. There were several causes for the failure of the Tibetan armed battle and these can be summarised as follows: –

( a ) Lack of Chauvinistic Cohesion. The Tibetan state has been traditionally divided approximately along the lines of the three parts of U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo. Central Tibetans ne’er trusted the Khampas and remained distant from the Amdowas. This reflected even in the mode in which these parts were governed prior to the Chinese invasion. And these divisions were all the more apparent during the armed battle when cabals refused to back up each other in critical state of affairss.

( B ) Poor Leadership. The XIVth Dalai Lama was merely a adolescent at the clip of the Chinese invasion and the Panchen Lama was younger than him. The remainder of the nobility and the authorities including the Kashag could ne’er make up one’s mind on the right class of action, even after the Chinese had shown their true purposes by 1959.

( degree Celsius ) Cloudy Vision. The Tibetan leading has ne’er had a clear vision of their state ‘s hereafter. This has been more than evident in the switching base of the Dalai Lama himself. In the Strasbourg Proposals of 1988, he all but gave up the thought of seeking entire independency. The battle was no longer characterized as the Tibetan freedom battle. The motto of “ Save Tibet ” replaced the original motto of “ Free Thibet ” . However by 1997, he gave out a new set of options viz. , echt liberty, complete independency, self-government or Satyagraha ( peaceable agitation ) .[ 13 ]Since so the Tibetan leading has waxed and waned between these options due to miss of a clear end.

( vitamin D ) Peaceful Tenets of Buddhism. Buddhism teaches non-violence and due to this the politico-religious leading of Tibet could ne’er throw its full fledged support behind the armed battle. If they would hold supported administrations such as the ‘Mimang Tsongdu ‘ or the ‘Chushi Gangdrung ‘ the armed battle for independency could hold achieved some consequence.

( vitamin E ) Lack of External Support. There was near apathy towards the Tibetan cause in the international sphere particularly during the critical old ages between 1949 and 1959. This was due to: –

( I ) Prominence of Korean crisis on the universe phase.

( two ) Lack of active electioneering by the Tibetan Leadership peculiarly with the British and the Indians.

( three ) Poor response by the Tibetan leaders to overtures of support from unexpected quarters like Ecuador[ 14 ]and the US.

( degree Fahrenheit ) The Strasbourg Proposal 1988. The Dalai Lama ‘s sudden alteration of head to give up independency as an option and ask for liberty caused a batch of confusion and bitterness in the heads of the Tibetans. Many International critics argued that the ‘Middle Way Approach ‘ had non merely failed to accomplish Tibet ‘s ends but furthered the Chinese cause.[ 15 ]

Analyzing Independence as an Option

15. There are Tibetans who dream of a “ Free Thibet ” one twenty-four hours. But what would this independency mean to a people who have remained either off from or captive within their fatherland for so long. The advantages and disadvantages of Tibetans can be summarised as follows: –

( a ) Advantages of Tibetan Independence:

( I ) The Tibetans would achieve the typical national pride of being an independent province and the satisfaction of winning a long difficult battle.

( two ) They would hold complete bid over their ain independent national authorities and be the Masterss of their ain fate.

( three ) The most of import accomplishment would be that the Tibetans would be able to continue their imperilled cultural and spiritual individuality.

( B ) Disadvantages of Tibetan Independence:

( I ) The independent state of Tibet would ever hold acrimonious dealingss with China.

( two ) The Tibetan leading would hold to shoulder the burdensome undertaking of state constructing right from abrasion to forestall the new state from falling into pandemonium.

( three ) Defence and Economy would be rather weak.

( four ) Tibet would be susceptible to foreign influence/control.

( V ) Growth and development would be really slow.

( six ) There would be troubles in making substructure.

( seven ) There would be great troubles in making national coherence.

( eight ) Trade and commercialism would be dependent on India, Nepal and China due to miss of coastal entree.


16. Notwithstanding the disadvantages listed supra, an mean Tibetan would prefer independency to Chinese subjection no affair what the sum of development and prosperity they offer. This option is besides moneymaking as it guarantees the endurance of Tibetan civilization. However, this option can merely be realised if the Tibetan leading comes out with all guns blazing in its support and correspondingly a sustainable motion is started by the Tibetan Diaspora. Though the present economic and political clout of the Chinese authorities precludes this, but if there were to be an implosion of the PRC similar to the ruin of the USSR in 1990, this option may merely work out for the Tibetans.