mandag 24. juni 2024

In Retrospect: The Seventeen Point Agreement: China’s Occupation of Tibet

In May 23rd 1951, the "Seventeen Point Agreement of the Central People’s Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet" was signed. This agreement legitimized claims of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over Tibet and retroactively justified the previous year’s military invasion of eastern Tibet by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The document is the only agreement signed between the PRC and a minority people and is part of communist China’s larger nation-building process in its so-called “peripheries.” The existence of a fully functional independent state in Tibet made signing of the Seventeen Point Agreement a legal necessity for China.

The three traditional provinces that historically constitute Tibet had ruled their own affairs since the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912. Central Tibet (Ü-Tsang) was administered by the Ganden Phodrang government and headed by the Dalai Lama in the city of Lhasa. It was based on Tibetan Buddhism and the principles of “cho-si sungdrel,” or religion and politics combined.