History of Tibet

From Academic Kids

fr:Histoire du Tibet es:Historia del Tíbet

Tibet is situated between the two ancient cultural centers of India and China but its location on the remote Tibetan plateau served to isolate it from both. It is not known if the Tibetans originated in Central Asia or East Asia, but they do share a linguistic heritage with the Chinese and the Burmese, suggesting a common source for all three groups (discussions of the relative closeness or distance between Tibetans and Han Chinese are tied up in the politics of Tibetan independence). Certainly an independent Tibetan language and Tibetan culture existed prior to any historical accounting.



It is not known if the Tibetans originated in Central Asia or East Asia, but they do share a lingusitic affiliation with Burmese and the other Tibeto-Burman languages, suggesting a common origin. Certainly an independent Tibetan language and Tibetan culture existed prior the advent of Tibet in History.

Prehistoric Iron Age hill forts and burial complexes have recently been found on the Chang Tang plateau but the remoteness of the location is hampering archaeological research. The initial identification of this culture is as the Zhang Zhung culture which is described in ancient Tibetan texts and is known as the original culture of the Bön religion.

Mythological Origins

The first Tibetan king Gnya'-khri-btsan-po is supposed to have descended from the sky, or immigrated to Tibet from India. Because of his strange physical features such as having webbed hands, and eyes which close from below, he is supposed to have been greeted by the locals as a god. The king remained connected to the heavens with a rope and rather than dying ascended the same rope again.

The legendary King Dri-gum-brtsan-po provoked his groom Lo-ngam to fight with him, and during the fight the King's heaven-cord was cut, he was also killed. Dri-gum-brtsan-po and subsequent kings left corpses and were buried. (cf. Haarh, The Yarluṅ Dynasty. Copenhagen: 1969).

In a latter myth, first attested in the Maṇi bka' 'bum the Tibetan people are the progeny of the union of a monkey and rock ogress. The Monkey in fact a manifestation of the god Avalokiteśvara (Tib. Spyan-ras-gzigs) and the ogress in fact the goddess Tara (Tib. 'Grol-ma).

The Tibetan Empire

A series of emperors ruled Tibet from the 7th to the 11th century. At times Tibetan rule extended as far south as Bengal and as far north as Mongolia. In general the Tibetans faced and posed a greater military threat against China than India due to the protection of the Himalaya; thus China was called Rgya-nag meaning the Black Empire, whereas India was called Rgya-gar, meaning the White Empire.

First appearance in history

Tibet first enters history in the Geography of Ptolemy under the name βαται, a Greek transcription of the indigenous name Bod. Tibet next appears in history in a Chinese text where it is refered to as fa. The first reliable fact recorded in Tibetan history is the embassy of the emperor Gnam-ri-slong-rtsan, sent to China in the early 7th century. (Beckwith, C. Uni. of Indiana Diss. 1977).

When Tibet entered history it was already surrounded by Buddhist countries; it is now thought that Buddhism was introduced largely by missionaries from India by way of Gandhara, but familiarity with Chinese Buddhism was also prevalent.

Founding of the Dynasty

Tibet began at the castle named Stag-rtse in the Phying-ba district of 'Phyongs-rgyas. There, According to the Old Tibetan Chronicle

"A group of conspirators convinced Stag-bu snya-gzigs to rebel against Dgu-gri Zing-po-rje. Zing po rje was in turn a vassal of the Zhang-zhung empire under the Lig myi dynasty. Zing-po-rje died before the conspiracy could get underway, and his son Gnam ri slon mtshan instead led the conspiracy after extracting an oath of fielty from the conspirators." (Beckwith 1987: 14).

The group prevailed against Zing-po-rje. At this point Gnam-ri-slon-rtsan was the leader of a fledgling state that would become the Tibetan Empire. In 608 and 609 the government of Gnam ri slon mtshan sent an embassy to China, marking the appearance of Tibet on the international scene.

The reign of Songtsen Gampo (circa. 620-650)

When Namri Songsten (Gnam-ri-slon-mtshan) died by poisoning, his son Songtsen Gampo (Wylie transliteration: Srong-brtsan sgam-po) (born circa. 609-613 died 650) took control after putting down a brief rebellion probably at the age of 13. Although the date of his birth and some of the dates earlier in his reign are still in question, by about the middle of his reigns the dates become more certain.

Missing image
A statue of Emperor Songtsen Gampo in a cave at Yerpa

Songtsen Gampo was adept at diplomacy as well as on the field.

The emperor's minister Myang Mang-po-rje Zhang-shang defeated Sum pa circa. 627 (Old Tibetan Annals, hereafter OTA l. 2). Six years latter (c. 632-3) Myang Mang-po-rje Zhang-shang was accused of treason and executed (OTA l. 4-5, Richardson 1965). He was succeeded by minister Mgar-srong-rtsan.

The Chinese records record an envoy in 634. On that Occasion the Emperor requested marriage to a Chinese princess and was refused. In 635-6 the Emperor attacked and defeats ‘A zha (Ch. Tüyühün) people, who lived around Lake Koko Nur in the northeast corner of Tibet, and who controlled important trade routes into China. After a successful campaign against China in 635-6 (OTA l. 607). The Chinese emperor agreed to marry Songtsen Gampo to a Chinese princess.

Circa 639, after Songtsen Gampo had a dispute with his younger brother Brtsan srong, the younger brother was burnt to death by his own minister Mkha’s sregs (presumably at the behest of his older brother the emperor cf. Richardson 1965, OTA l. 8-10).

The Chinese princess Wencheng (Tib. Mung-chang Kungco) departed China in 640 to marry Songtsen Gampo, she arrived a year latter. Peace between China and Tibet prevailed for the remainder of Songtsen Gampo's reign.

Songtsen Gampo’s sister Sad-mar-kar was sent to marry Lig-myi-rhya the king of Zhang-zhung. However, when the king refused to consumate the marriage, she then helped her brother to defeat Lig myi-rhya and incorporate Zhang Zhung into the Tibetan Empire.

In 645 CE, Songtsen Gampo overran the kingdom of Zhang-zhung in what is now Western Tibet. Zhang-zhung is thought to have a written script, although no samples of it have been found, and was a major centre for the Bon religion, which has survived, although much reduced in numbers, until today.

In 648, A Chinese envoy who had been attacked in India by Arjuna, who had taken control of Kanouj on the Ganges, and most of northern Bihar. The Chinese envoy had to flee to Nepal for safety. Srongsten Gampo sent troops who, with the Nepalese, defeated and captured Arjuna, who was sent back to China.

According to the Old Tibetan Annals, discovered by Paul Pelliot at Dunhuang, 'the text of the Laws" were written in 655.

Songtsen Gampo died in 650, he was succeeded by his infant grandson Khri-mang-slon. Real power was left in the hands of the minister Mgar-srong-rtsan.

The reign of Khri-mang-slon-rtsan (650-677)

The minister Mgar srong rtsan died in 667, after having incorporated ‘A-zha into Tibetan territory. Between 665-670 Kotan is defeated by the Tibetans. Emperor Khri-mang-slon-rtsan married Khri-ma-lod, a woman who would be of great importance in Tibetan history. The emperor died in the winter of 676-677, and Zhang Zhung revolts thereafter. In the same year the emperor's son Khri-'dus-srong-rtsan was born. (Beckwith 1987: 48).

The reign of Khri-‘dus-srong-rtsan (677-704)

Emperor Khri-'dus-srong-rtsan ruled in the shadow of his powerful mother Khri-ma-lod on the one hand and the influential Mgar clan on the other hand. In 685 the minister, Mgar Bstan snyas ldom bu died and his brother, Mgar Khri ‘bring btsan brod was appointed to replace him. (Beckwith 1987: 50). In 692 the Tibetans loose the Tarim Basin to the Chinese. Mgar Khri ‘bring defeats the Chinese in battle in 696, and sues for peace. Two years latter in 698 emperor Khri ‘dus srong invites the Mgar clan (over 2000 people) to a hunting party and has them executed. Mgar Khri ‘bring commits suicide, and his troops loyal to him join the Chinese. This brought to end the power of the Mgar family. (Beckwith 1987: 61).

From 700 until his death the emperor remained on campaign in the north-east, abscent from Central Tibet, while his mother Khri-ma-lod administrated in his name (Petech 1988: 1081). In 702 China and Tibet concluded peace.

“At the end of the same year [702] the ministers were able to proceed to the administrative organization (mkhos chen po) of the Sum-ru (l. 88), the Sum-pa country to the Northeast, which was formed into an additional ‘horn’ of the kingdom. In the summer of 703 the king stayed at ‘Ol-byag in Gling (l. 90) on the upper reaches of the; Bri-chu (Yangtse-kian); it was probably from there that he left in the following winter for his expedition to ‘Jang. After a quick deplacement [sic.] in the summer of 704 to Yo-ti Chu-bzangs in rMa-sgrom (II. 93-94) on the great bend of the rMa-chu (Huang-ho), in the following winter the king returned South for his campaign in Mywa, were he met his death.” (Petech 1988: 1081-82).

The reign of Khri-lde-gtsug-brtsan (704-754)

Rgyal-gtsug-ru (latter to become Khri-lde-gtsug-brtsan) was born in 704. Upon the death of Khri-‘du-srong-brtsan his wife Khri-ma-lod ruled as regent for the infant Rgyal-gtsug-ru (Petech 1988: 1087-89). The following year the elder son of Khri-'dus-srong-brtsan, by the name of Lha Bal-pho contested the succession of his one year old brother but at Pong Lag-rang Lha Bal-pho was “deposed from the throne” (rgyal sa nas phab Petech 1988: 1085, OTA l. 152).

Khri-ma-lod had arranged for a royal marriage to a Chinese Princess. The Princess Jincheng 金成 arrived in 710, but it is somewhat unclear whether she married the seven year old Rgyal-gtsug-ru (as argued byYamaguchi 1996: 232) or the deposed Lha Bal-pho (as argued by Beckwith 1983: 276), Rgyal-gtsug-ru was officially enthroned with the royal name Khri-lde-gtsug-brtsan in 712 (Petech 1988: 1087-89), the same year that dowager emperess Khri ma lod died.

The Arabs and Turgis became increasingly prominent in the period 710-720. The Tibetans were allied with the Arabs and eastern Turks. Tibet and China fought on and off in the late 720s at first Tibet (with Turgis allies) had the upper hand, but then Tibet starts loosing battles. After a rebellion in southern China, and a major Tibetan victory n 730 Tibet, the Tibetans and Turgis sue for peace.

In 734 the Tibetans marry their princess ‘Dron ma lon to the Turgis Qaghan. The Chinese ally with the Arabs to attack the Turgis. After victory and peace with the Turgis, the Chinese attack Tibet by surprise. The Tibetans suffer several defeats in the east, despite strength in the west. The Turgis empire collapses from internal strife. By 750 the Tibetans had lost almost all of their central Asian colonial possessions to the Chinese. (Beckwith 1987: 187). Despite going through a transition of dynasties the Arabs managed to fair fairly well. In 751 the Arab-Chinese alliance breaks down, and the two countries fight. The Chinese lost to the Arabs, but did well against the Tibetans.

In 755 Khri-lde-gtsug-brtsan was killed by the ministers Lang and ‘Bal. Then Stag sgra Klu khong presented evidence to prince Srong lde brtsan that “they were disloyal, were causing dissension in the country, and were about to injure him also. … Subsequently, Lang and ‘Bal really did revolt, they were killed by the army, their property was confiscated, and Klu khong was, one assumes, richly rewarded. In 756, Prince Srong lde brtsan was named Emperor Khri srong lde brtsan, and took the reigns of the government into his hands. There was therefore a hiatus of one year without a formally installed emperor.” (Beckwith 1983: 273). In 755 a rebellion in China greatly weakened that country. By 763 Tibet had regained all of its lost possessions, and in 764, Tibetan troops occupied Chang'an for fifteen days and installed a minor emperor.

The Mongols and the Sakya (Sa-skya) school

After the Mongol Prince Köden took control of the Kokonor region in 1239, in order to investigate the possibility of attacking Song China from the West, he sent his general Doorda Darqan on a reconissance mission into Tibet in 1240. During this expedition the Bka'-gdams monasteries of Rwa-sgreng and Rgyal-lha-khang were burned, and 500 people killed. The death of Ögödei the Mongol Qaɣan in 1241 brought Mongol millitary activity around the world temporarily to a hault. Mongol interests in Tibet resumed in 1244 when Prince Köden sent an invitation to Sa-skya Paṇḍita (1182-1251) to come to his capital and formally surrender Tibet to the Mongols. Sa-skya Paṇḍita arrived in Kokonor with his two nephews 'Phags-pa (1235-80) and Phyag-na Rdo-rje (1239-67) in 1246.

Missing image
Kublai Khan

After an internecine fued among the Mongol princes Quibilai was appointed by Möngke Qaɣan to take charge over the Chinese campaigns in 1253. Since Sa-skya Paṇḍita had already died Qubilai took 'Phags-pa into his camp as a symbol of Tibet's surrender. Qubilai was elected Qaɣan in 1260 following the death of his brother Möngke, although his ascendance was not uncontested. At that point he named 'Phags-pa as 'state preceptor' Kuo-shih. In 1265 'Phags-pa returned to Tibet and for the first time made an attempt to impose Sa-skya hegemony with the appointment of Shakya Bzang-po (a long time servant and ally of the Sa-skyas) as the Dpon-chen 'great administrator' over Tibet in 1267. A census was conducted in 1268 and Tibet was divided into 13 myriarchies.

In 1269 'Phags-pa returned to Qubilai's side at his new capital Qanbaliq (modern day Beijing). He presented the Qaɣan with a new script designed to represent all of the languages of the empire. The next year he was named Ti-shih 'imperial preceptor', and his position as titular ruler of Tibet (now in the form of its 13 myriarchies) was reconfirmed. The Sa-skya hegemony over Tibet continued into the middle of the 14th century, although it was challenged by a revolt of the 'Bri-khung sect with the assitance of Hülegü of the Ilkhanate in 1285. The revolt was supressed in 1290 when the Sa-skyas and eastern Mongols burned 'Bri-khung and killed 10,000 people (cf. Wylie 1977).

Rise of the Geluk (Dge-lugs) school

Lozang Gyatso (Wylie transliteration: Blo-bzang Rgya-mtsho), the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, (1617-1682) was the first Dalai Lama to yield effective political power over central Tibet.

The 5th Dalai Lama is known for unifying Tibet under the control of the Gelugpa (Dge-lugs) school of Tibetan Buddhism, after defeating the rival Kagyupa (Bka'-brgyud) and Jonang sects and the secular ruler, the prince of Shang, during a prolonged civil war. His efforts were succesful in part because of aid from Gushi Khan, a powerful Mongol military leader. The Jonang monasteries were either closed or forciblly converted, and that school remained in hiding until the latter part of the 20th century.

In 1652 the Fifth Dalai Lama visited the Manchu emperor Shunzhi. He was not required to kowtow. At this meeting he received a seal, the meaning of which has become controversial in the modern question of Tibet's sovreignty.

The fifth Dalai lama initiated the construction of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, and moved the certer of government their from Drepung.

Missing image
The Potala Palace in Lhasa

The death of the fifth Dalai Lama in 1680 was kept hidden for 15 years, by his assistant, confidant, and possibly son De-srid Sangs-rgyas Rgya-'mtsho. Future Dalai Lama's were to have relatively unquestioned authority as the temporal head of Tibet until 1950.

During the rule of the Great Fifth, the first Europeans visited Tibet. Two Jesuit missionaries, Johannes Gruber and Albert D'Orville, reached Lhasa in 1661. They described the Dalai Lama as a "devilish God-the-father who puts to death such as refuse to adore him." They failed completely to win any Tibetan converts to Christianity. Other Christian missionaries spent time in Tibet, with equal lack of success, until all were expelled in 1745.

The sixth Dalai Lama resigned his position because of a preferance for the secular life.

By the early 18th century China established the right to have resident commissioners, called Ambans, in Lhasa. When the Tibetans rebelled against the Chinese in 1750 and killed the Ambans, a Chinese army entered the country in an effort to restore Chinese authority. As a result, the Tibetans, in the view of the Chinese, once again acknowledged themselves as subjects of the Empire of China and new Ambans were installed. However, China did not make any attempt to impose direct rule on Tibet and the Tibetan government around the Dalai Lama continued to manage day to day affairs and in their own view remained independent.

Chinese rule

In 1788 the Gurkha King Prithvi Narayan Shah, in the process of carving out the modern boundaries of Nepal, invaded Tibet. Unable to defeat the Gurkhas alone the Tibetans called upon Qing reinforcements. The Qing-Tibetan army defeated the Gurkhas and invaded Nepal. Thereafter Nepal was officially a tributary state to the Qing Empire.

This brought the attention of the British, which regarded Nepal as being within its sphere of influence. The Tibetans withdrew from Nepal, but they closed the Tibetan border and refused to allow any foreigners to enter the country. Tibet's reputation as "the hermit kingdom" dates from this time. During the whole of the 19th century no foreigner saw Lhasa, and a number were killed while making the attempt.

Meanwhile the people of Tibet lived under a feudal system run by the lamas. The great monasteries owned most of the land, controlled all education and most economic activity. There was almost no trade between Tibet and the outside world, except a limited amount with India, Turkestan and China. The Dalai Lama was acknowledged as the most important of the lamas, but his power waxed and waned according to his personal abilities. The system of succession through reincarnation meant that there were long periods when the Dalai Lama was a child. During these periods the Panchen Lama was recognised as effective ruler, under overall Chinese suzerainty.

In the 19th century, as the power of China declined, the authorities in British India renewed their interest in Tibet, and a number of Indians (who could travel less conspicuously than Europeans) entered the country, first as explorers and then as traders. During the period of "The Great Game", the British feared that Tibet might come under the control of Russia, which was expanding its influence in Turkestan to the north and west of Tibet. Demands that the Chinese and Tibetan authorities agree to a treaty with Britain were rejected. In 1904 the British sent an Indian military force under Lt-Col Francis Younghusband, which after some fighting against the weakly armed Tibetan forces seized Lhasa.

British influence

Missing image
The 13th Dalai Lama

The 13th Dalai Lama fled to Mongolia, so the British imposed a treaty on whatever Tibetan authority they could find in Lhasa. This required Tibet to open its border with British India, to allow British and Indian traders to travel freely, not to impose customs duties on trade with India, and not to enter into relations with any foreign power without British approval. A 1906 treaty with China repeated these conditions, making Tibet a de facto British protectorate, although there was no interference with Tibet's internal affairs.

In 1907 a treaty between Britain, China, and Russia recognised Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, and in 1910 the Chinese sent a military expedition of their own to establish direct Chinese rule for the first time. The Dalai Lama once again fled, this time to India. But when revolution broke out in China in 1911, the Chinese troops withdrew, and the Dalai Lama was able to return to Lhasa and re-establish his power. In 1913, Tibet and Mongolia signed a treaty proclaiming their independence from China, and their mutual recognition. In 1914 a treaty was negotiated in India by representatives of China, Tibet and Britain: the Simla Convention. Chinese "suzerainty" over Tibet and Tibetan autonomy were both recognized and a boundary negotiated between British India and Tibet which was very generous to Britain. The treaty was never signed by the Chinese and thus never came into force. However the boundary established, the McMahon Line, was considered by the British and later the independent Indian government to be the boundary, until challenged by the Chinese in 1962 during the Sino-Indian War. While it is still the actual line of control separating China and India, it is not recognized by the People's Republic of China.

By 1918, the government at Lhasa had regained Chamdo, in western Kham. Subsequent fighting between Tibetan and Chinese troops resulted in a truce that made the Yangtze River the border between the two sides. At this time, the government of Tibet controlled all of U-Tsang as well as Kham west of the Yangtze River, roughly coincident with the borders of Tibet Autonomous Region today. Eastern Kham, separated by the Yangtze River, was under the control of Han Chinese warlord Liu Wenhui. In Amdo (Qinghai), ethnic Hui and pro-Kuomintang warlord Ma Bufang controlled the Xining area, and strove constantly to control the ethnic Tibetan, Mongol, and Kazakh peoples of the rest of Amdo (Qinghai), who remained autonomous and in a state of general chaos. [1] (http://www.tibetinfo.net/news-updates/nu281099.htm)

The subsequent outbreak of World War I caused the powers to lose interest in Tibet, and the 13th Dalai Lama ruled more or less undisturbed until his death in 1934.

During the 1920s and 1930s China was divided by civil war and then distracted by the anti-Japanese war, but never renounced its claim to sovereignty over Tibet, and made occasional attempts to assert it. The fact that the 14th Dalai Lama was a child made the assertion of Tibetan independence more difficult. He was enthroned in Lhasa in 1940, age four, but was unable to travel to Chengde because of the Japanese occupation. In 1947 a Tibetan delegation went to Nanjing to take part in drafting of a new Chinese constitution.

Renewed Chinese rule

Missing image
Mao Zedong (center) with the 14th Dalai Lama (right), and the 10th Panchen Lama on the left, early 1950s

The Chinese Communist regime led by Mao Zedong which came to power in October 1949 lost little time in enforcing its claim to Tibet. In 1950 a Chinese army entered western Kham and U-Tsang with little resistance, since there was no professional Tibetan army. In May 1951 a treaty secretly signed by representatives of the Dalai Lama and local government, provided for Chinese military occupation and rule by a joint Chinese-Tibetan authority. The Chinese at this time did not try to reform Tibet's social or religious system, at least not within the zone of control of the government of Tibet: U-Tsang and western Kham. Eastern Kham and Amdo, outside the control of the government of Tibet, were treated like any other Chinese province, and land reform began immediately, sparking discontent among landowners.

The Chinese built highways that reached first Lhasa then later to the Indian, Nepalese and Pakistani borders. The traditional Tibetan aristocracy and government remained in place and was subsidized by the Chinese, some Tibetan aristocrats going shopping in Nepal in their jeeps.

The ninth Panchen Lama got the power granted by the Emperor when the 13th Dalai fled to India. When the Dalai came back Panchen had to go to Qinghai. After the Chinese army went into Tibet, he asked and got approval of the government to come back to Tibet but died en route. The tenth Panchen was reincarnated then.

During the 1950s, however, Chinese rule grew more oppressive, at least to the lamas, who rightly saw that their social power must eventually be broken by continued Communist rule. Prior to 1959, Tibet's land was worked by serfs most of whom were owned by the lamas and were sometimes subjected to cruel conditions, particularly if they tried to escape. Prior to Chinese rule, over 700,000 of Tibet's population of 1.2 million were in serfdom.

By the mid-1950s there was unrest in eastern Kham and Amdo, where land reform had been implemented in full. These rebellions eventually spread into western Kham and U-Tsang. In 1959 (at the time of the Great Leap Forward in China), the Chinese authorities overstepped the mark, treating the Dalai Lama, by now an adult, with open disrespect. In some parts of the country zealous Chinese Communists tried to establish rural communes, as was happening in China. These events triggered riots in Lhasa, and then a full-scale rebellion.

The Tibetan resistance movement began with isolated resistance to Chinese occupation in the late 1950s. Initially there was considerable success and with CIA aid much of southern Tibet fell into rebel hands, but in 1959 with the occupation of Lhasa resistance forces withdrew into Nepal. Operations continued from the semi-independent Kingdom of Mustang with a force of 2000 rebels, many of them trained at Camp Hale near Leadville, Colorado. In 1969, on the eve of Kissinger's overtures to China, support was withdrawn and the Nepalese government dismantled the operation. See [2] (http://www.naatanet.org/shadowcircus/map.html).

The rebellion in Lhasa was soon crushed, and the Dalai Lama fled to India, although resistance continued in other parts of the country for several years. The Panchen Lama was set up as a figurehead in Lhasa and China took direct control of the Tibetan government. In 1965 the western part of historical Tibet became an Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. The monastic estates were broken up, the monasteries closed and secular education introduced. During the Cultural Revolution there was a campaign of organised vandalism against Tibet's Buddhist heritage, and tens of thousands of Tibetans escaped to India.

Since 1979 Chinese policy in Tibet has veered between moderation and repression. Most religious freedoms have been officially restored, provided the lamas do not challenge Chinese rule. Foreigners can visit most parts of the country and the evidence of foreign rule is kept hidden from visitors. As in China, there has been economic reform, but no political reform. The PRC has systematically settled ethnic Han Chinese in parts of historic Tibet, especially Amdo.

In 1989 the Panchen Lama died, and the Dalai Lama and Chinese authorities recognised different reincarnations. The Dalai Lama named Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama but without confirmation by the vase lot, while the Communist authorities named another child, Gyancain Norbu by the vase lot. Gyancain Norbu is being raised in Beijing and has appeared occasionally on state media. Gedhun Choekyi Nyima and his family have reportedly "gone missing." [3] (http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGASA170071996)

The Dalai Lama is now nearly 70, and when he dies a new child Dalai Lama will have to be found. In 1997, the 14th Dalai Lama indicated that his reincarnation "will definitely not come under Chinese control; it will be outside, in the free world." [4] (http://www.tibet.ca/wtnarchive/1997/6/3-2_1.html) Under the lamaist tradition, however, the Panchen Lama has the duty of verifying the Dalai Lama's reincarnation and the reincarnation must be confirmed by the Vase lot, so the choice of a new Dalai Lama within Tibet will be verified by the PRC's choice of the Panchen Lama.

Foreign governments continue to make occasional protests about aspects of Chinese rule in Tibet. All governments, however, recognise Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, and none has recognised the Dalai Lama's government in exile in India. The Dalai Lama is widely respected as a religious leader, and is received by foreign governments as such, but few observers of Tibetan affairs believe that he will ever rule again in Lhasa.

Related topics


  • Beckwith, Christopher I (1983). “The Revolt of 755 in Tibet” Contributions on Tibetan Language, History, and Culture. Ernst Steinkellner and Helmut Tauscher eds. Wiener Studien zur Tibetologie und Buddhismuskunde; Heft 10. Wien: Arbeitskreis für Tibetische und Buddhistische Studien, Universität Wien, pp. 1-16. reprinted in: The History of Tibet. ed. Alex Mckay. London: Routledge Curzon, 2003: 273-285.
  • Beckwith, Christopher I (1987). The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Petech, Luciano (1988). "The Succession to the Tibetan Throne in 704-5." Orientalia Iosephi Tucci Memoriae Dicata, Serie Orientale Roma 41.3. pp. 1080-1087.
  • Richardson, Hugh E. (1965). "How Old was Srong Brtsan Sgampo" Bulletin of Tibetology 2.1. pp. 5-8.
  • Richardson, Hugh E. (1988) "The Succession to Lang Darma". Orientalia Iosephi Tucci Memoriae Dicata, Serie Orientale Roma 41.3. pp. 1221-1229
  • Zuiho Yamaguchi (1996) “The Fiction of King Dar-ma’s persecution of Buddhism” De Dunhuang au Japon: Etudes chinoises et bouddhiques offertes ŕ Michel Soymié. Genčve : Librarie Droz S.A.
  • Wylie, Turnell V. (1977) "The First Mongol Conquest of Tibet Reinterpreted" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 37.1: 103-133,

Further reading

  • Melvyn C. Goldstein with the help of Gelek Rimpche, A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers (1993), hardcover, 898 pages, ISBN 8121505828; University of California edition (1991), trade paperback, ISBN 0520075900.
  • Norbu, Thubten Jigme and Turnbull, Colin. 1968. Tibet: Its History, Religion and People. Reprint: Penguin Books, 1987.
  • Stein, R. A. 1962. Tibetan Civilization. First published in French. English translation by J. E. Stapelton Driver. Reprint: Stanford University Press (with minor revisions from 1977 Faber & Faber edition), 1995. ISBN 0-8047-0806-1 (hbk); ISBN 0-8047-0901-7 (sbk).
  • Yeshe De Project. 1986. ANCIENT TIBET: Research Materials from The Yeshe De Project. Dharma Publishing. Berkeley. ISBN 0-89800-146-3

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