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A worthy response
This reply from a less blinkered commenter on an article in The Guardian:|
The Chinese argument has been specious. The Chinese pretend that Tibet had been part of the Chinese empire from the time of the short-lived Yuan (Mongol) dynasty (1279-1368). The fact of history is that the Mongols overran and ruled both China and Tibet and brought both under subjection to Mongol authority, wielded from Beijing. That did not make Tibet part of a ‘Chinese empire because the empire at that time was Mongol and not Chinese. The present Chinese contention flies in the face of facts but the Chinese do not suffer history to come in their way.
Then, they remind the world that the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) established a protectorate over Tibet in the 1720s. During the period from 1728 to 1911 Chinese ‘authority in Tibet was personified by a Han commissioner, called an amban, which may be translated as some kind of undefined representative. The Chinese pretend that the amban was more or less ‘governor-general while the Tibetans largely ignored the Chinese resident and went about their lives in complete disregard of his presence in Lhasa. It is a fact of history, though, that there was an unbroken line of Chinese ambans in Lhasa from 1728 to 1911. (See Luciao Petech, China and Tibet in the early 18th century: history of the establishment of Chinese protectorate in Tibet, Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1972.) The actual power of the amban at a given time depended on the personality equations between the amban, the Dalai Lama, and the regent, especially during the minority of a Dalai Lama. There was nothing axiomatic about the status and powers of the amban. Over extended periods the presence of the amban was severely ignored by the Tibetans, who, however, never asked any amban to leave except the last one in 1912. On that occasion, after revolution in China (1911), the Chinese garrison in Lhasa (they had been sent across Yunnan and Szechwan and Eastern Tibet in the course of 1910-1912) and its commanders and the amban were in mortal danger of losing their lives at the hands of the resurgent Tibetans and, at British intercession, were allowed to be evacuated via British India and Calcutta and sent by ship to China, terminating Chinese presence in Tibet completely.
1912-1949 was a period of de facto independence for Tibet. (See Melvyn C. Goldstein, A history of modern Tibet, 1913-1951: the demise of the Lamaist state, University of California Press, 1989.) During that period China was hardly on its feet and witnessed disturbed conditions throughout, first under several contenders like Yuan Shi-kai (who even hoped to be emperor) and Sun Yat-sen and later on between the KMT and the CPC. In 1950 the CPC cut a long story short by ordering occupation of Tibet by the PLA, whom the Tibetans were in no position to resist in any case. Now, if this means that Tibet has ‘historically been a part of China since the Yuan dynasty, this is because the Chinese have a blinkered view of history.
V.C. Bhutani, Delhi, India, March 31 2009, 1050 IST
Seems logical and well-researched. I think his point is well-taken, because so many Chinese can do more than spout the Party's rhetoric on Tibet without investigating further. The issue is not a black and white matter, and absurdities like 'serf's emancipation day' don't aid China's cause when trying to prsuade the rest of the world that they are on the right side of this argument.