Thubten Kunphel (Tibetan : ཐུབ་བསྟན་ཀུན་འཕེལ, Wylie : thub bstan kun vphel, 1905 – 1963), commonly known as Kunphela, was a Tibetan politician and one of the most powerful political figures in Tibet during the later years of the 13th Dalai Lama's rule, known as the "strong man of Tibet". Kunphela was arrested and exiled after the death of the Dalai Lama in 1933. He later escaped to India and became a co-founder of the India-based Tibet Improvement Party with the aim of establishing a secular government in Tibet. He worked in Nanking after the attempt to start a revolution in Tibet failed, and returned to Tibet in 1948.
The Tibetan alphabet is an abugida used to write the Tibetic languages such as Tibetan, as well as Dzongkha, Sikkimese, Ladakhi, and sometimes Balti. The printed form of the alphabet is called uchen script while the hand-written cursive form used in everyday writing is called umê script.
The Wylie transliteration system is a method for transliterating Tibetan script using only the letters available on a typical English language typewriter. It bears the name of Turrell V. Wylie, who described the scheme in an article, A Standard System of Tibetan Transcription, published in 1959. It has subsequently become a standard transliteration scheme in Tibetan studies, especially in the United States.
Thubten Gyatso was the 13th Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Kunphela was born as Dechen Chödrön in a "taxpayer" serf family in Nyemo in 1905. At the age of 12, he was sent to Lhasa as a servant in the palace of the 13th Dalai Lama. His intelligence gained the Dalai Lama's attention, and subsequently he became a household servant, and then the favorite personal attendant, known as jensey.In the 1920s, he oversaw a series of construction tasks including the renovation of the Potala Palace and the expansion of Norbulingka. In 1931, he became the head of Trapchi Electrical Machine Office, in charge of several mints and munition factories that were considered the most modern ones of Tibet at the time.
Nyêmo is a county in the Lhasa west of the main center of Chengguan, Tibet. It lies on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, the northern part of the Brahmaputra. The county has an area of 3,276 square kilometres (1,265 sq mi), and as of 2011 had a population of 30,844 people, mostly engaged in agriculture or herding.
Lhasa or Chengguan is a district and administrative capital of Lhasa City in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The inner urban area of Lhasa City is equivalent to the administrative borders of Chengguan District, which is part of the wider prefectural Lhasa City.
The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China was the residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Chinese invasion. It is now a museum and World Heritage Site.
In 1932, he successfully persuaded the Dalai Lama to allow him to establish a Trongdra Regiment under his control. The soldiers were recruited from middle-class families, and the equipment and training far exceeded other Tibetan troops.
The Tibetan Army was the military force of Tibet after its de facto independence in 1912 until the 1950s. As a ground army modernised with the assistance of British training and equipment, it served as the de facto armed forces of the Tibetan government.
By 1933, Kunphela had gained the authority of appointing and dismissing government officials. He also controlled the importation and distribution of arms and ammunition.Kunphela issued orders without the need of confirmation of the Kashag or the Dalai Lama, and his orders were obeyed as much as those from the Dalai Lama himself. He was known as the "strong man of Tibet".
The Kashag was the governing council of Tibet during the rule of the Qing dynasty and post-Qing period until the 1950s. It was created in 1721, and set by Qianlong Emperor in 1751 for the Ganden Phodrang. In that year the Tibetan government was reorganized after the riots in Lhasa of the previous year. The civil administration was represented by Council (Kashag) after the 7th Dalai Lama abolished the post of Desi, in whom too much power had been placed.
After the death of the 13th Dalai Lama in December 1933, Kunphela's status became unclear. Initially, Kunphela was confident of his position because of his control of the Trongdra Regiment. He held the power to organize the construction of the Dalai Lama's tomb, and a large part of lay officials present in the National Assembly, composing of government officials and abbots of key monasteries, supported him to become regent even though the position was traditionally for an incarnate lama.
In the meanwhile, Lungshar, one of the parties vying for control after the 13th Dalai Lama's death, conspired to accuse Kunphela of playing a role in the sudden death of the Dalai Lama, and gathered the support of a large number of abbots and monks. The charge was also given support by several Lungshar's friends in the Kashag, who confirmed that only Kunphela accompanied the Dalai Lama all the time. In the meanwhile, Lungshar took advantage of the Trongdra soldiers' dissatisfaction and successfully persuaded them to mutiny. On the third day after death of the Dalai Lama, the entire regiment demonstrated before the Norbulingka and demanded its own disbandment. The regiment was then disbanded on the Kashag's order.
Tsipön Lungshar born Dorje Tsegyal (1880–1938) was a noted Tibetan politician who was accused by conservative political opponents of attempting to become the paramount figure of the Tibetan government in the 1930s, by planning a communist coup following the death of the 13th Dalai Lama.
After the desertion of the Trongdra Regiment, Kunphela was arrested and confined in the Sharcenchog prison. Lungshar sought to inflict death or mutilation on Kunphela, but the suggestion was opposed by the Assembly.Eventually, Kunphela was only convicted of failing to deliver prompt notification about the Dalai Lama's illness, and sentenced to exile for life to Kongpo. He was banished in public on the second day before the Tibetan New Year, the most inauspicious day of the year. All his property and that of his relatives was confiscated. Kunphela's father was sent back to serve as a serf in Nyemo.
Kunphela fled to India in 1937 together with Canglocen, a well-known poet and ex-official who was exiled because of supporting Lungshar. In Kalimpong, they met Pandatsang Rapga, a Khamba nationalist and intellectual, and started the Tibet Improvement Party in 1939.According to Pandatsang, the primary goals of the party were "liberation of Tibet from the existing tyrannical government," and a political and societal revolution in Tibet for a secular government under the Republic of China.
In 1946, the activities of Gendün Chöphel, a leading figure in the party, were discovered in Tibet.Under pressure from the Tibetan Government, the Government of India placed Kunphela under surveillance after 1946 and deported him to China one year later. At the time, Varanasi University offered him a position as a lecturer which would have allowed him to legally remain in India. Kunphela refused the offer and left for Shanghai in 1947.
After the deportation, Kunphela lived in poverty in Shanghai and Nanking for a while, but was eventually able to work for the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission following an invitation.
In 1947, Kunphela discovered that the ex-regent of Tibet, Reting Rinpoche Jamphel Yeshe Gyaltsen was appealing to the Kuomintang government to overthrow the Taktra Government in Tibet. Thubten Sangbo, the Tibetan Government's representative in Nanking, was informed. The news soon reached Lhasa, and led to Reting's arrest. Kunphela was allowed back to Lhasa in 1948, obviously because of his role in the Reting affair. According to Sampho Tenzin Dhondup, Kunphela's motive was a conflict from the time Kunphela worked for Reting's trade company in India: Kunphela made several purchases in Bombay, but was not reimbursed for his loss even though Reting's company was far from short of funds.
In 1952, Kunphela was one of the staff members of the Grain Procurement Bureau, an newly established institution under the Kashag for resolving the problem of grain shortage.In 1956, Kunphela became the deputy director of the Bureau of Geology under the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region (PCTAR). He attended the 8th anniversary celebrations of China in Beijing, and was received, along with other Tibetan visitors, by Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. Kunphela became vice-director of the Executive Office under the General Office of the Preparatory Committee. He died in Lhasa in December 22, 1963, aged 58.
Dalai Lama is a title given by the Tibetan people for the foremost spiritual leader of the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest of the classical schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.
Thubten Choekyi Nyima (1883–1937), often referred to as Choekyi Nyima, was the ninth Panchen Lama of Tibet.
Kelzang Gyatso (1708–1757), also spelled Kalzang Gyatso, Kelsang Gyatso and Kezang Gyatso, was the 7th Dalai Lama of Tibet.
Norbulingka is a palace and surrounding park in Lhasa, Tibet, China, built from 1755. It served as the traditional summer residence of the successive Dalai Lamas from the 1780s up until the 14th Dalai Lama's exile in 1959. Part of the "Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace", Norbulingka is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was added as an extension of this Historic Ensemble in 2001. It was built by the 7th Dalai Lama and served both as administrative centre and religious centre. It is a unique representation of Tibetan palace architecture.
Reting Rinpoche was a title held by abbots of Reting Monastery, a Buddhist monastery in central Tibet.
Lhalu Tsewang Dorje (January 1914- September 15, 2011, commonly known as Lhalu, Lhalu Se, or Lhalu Shape, was a Tibetan aristocrat and politician who has held a variety of positions in various Tibetan governments before and after 1951.
The 1959 Tibetan uprising or the 1959 Tibetan rebellion began on 10 March 1959, when a revolt erupted in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Area, which had been under the effective control of the People's Republic of China since the Seventeen Point Agreement was reached in 1951. Armed conflict between Tibetan guerillas and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had started in 1956 in the Kham and Amdo regions, which had been subjected to socialist reform. The guerrilla warfare later spread to other areas of Tibet and lasted through 1962.
Trimön Shap-pe born Norbu Wangyal was a noted Tibetan conservative politician and governor and a financial secretary of Tibet. He was one of the eminent officials involved in the search and recognition of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama in 1935.
Tsepon Wangchuk Deden Shakabpa was a Tibetan nobleman, scholar and former Finance Minister of the government of Tibet.
(Thubten) Jamphel Yeshe Gyaltsen or Thupten Jampel Yishey Gyantsen, Tibetan: ཐུབ་བསྟན་འཇམ་དཔལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་རྒྱལ་མཚན་, Wylie: thub-bstan 'jam-dpal ye-shes rgyal-mtshan was a Tibetan tulku and the fifth Reting Rinpoche.
The Battle of Chamdo occurred from 6 through 19 October 1950. It was a military campaign by the People's Republic of China (PRC) to retake the Chamdo Region from a de facto independent Tibetan government after months of failed negotiations on the status of Tibet. At the time, most countries of the world, as well as the United Nations, recognized Tibet as a part of the preceding Republic of China (ROC). The campaign aimed not to invade Tibet per se but to capture the Lhasa army occupying Chamdo, demoralize the Lhasa government, and to exert pressure to get Tibetan representatives to agree to negotiations in Beijing and sign terms recognizing China's sovereignty over Tibet. The campaign resulted in the capture of Chamdo and further negotiations between the PRC and Tibetan representatives that eventually resulted in the incorporation of Tibet into the People's Republic of China.
The Tibet Improvement Party was a nationalist, revolutionary, anti-feudal and pro-Republic of China political party in Tibet. It was affiliated with the Kuomintang and was supported by mostly Khampas, with the Pandatsang family playing a key role.
Pandatsang Rapga was a Khamba revolutionary during the first half of the 20th century in Tibet. He was pro-Kuomintang and pro-Republic of China, anti-feudal, anti-communist. He believed in overthrowing the Dalai Lama's feudal regime and driving British imperialism out of Tibet, and acted on behalf of Chiang Kai-shek in countering the Dalai Lama. He was later involved in rebelling against communist rule.
The 1934 Khamba rebellion was a rebellion in the western regions of Kham in Xikang against the Tibetan Government and the Sichuan Warlord Liu Wenhui. It consisted of Khamba tribesmen led by the Pandatsang family; two brothers of the family, Pandatsang Togbye and Pandatsang Rapga, led the revolt.
The Ganden Phodrang or Ganden Podrang was the Tibetan government that was established by the 5th Dalai Lama with the help of the Güshi Khan of the Khoshut in 1642. Lhasa became the capital of Tibet in the beginning of this period, with all temporal power being conferred to the 5th Dalai Lama by Güshi Khan in Shigatse. After the expulsion of the Dzungars, Tibet was under administrative rule of the Qing dynasty between 1720 and 1912, but the Ganden Phodrang government lasted until the 1950s, when Tibet was incorporated into the People's Republic of China. Kashag became the governing council of the Ganden Phodrang regime during the early Qing rule.
Tibet under Qing rule refers to the Qing dynasty's rule over Tibet from 1720 to 1912. During the Qing rule of Tibet, the region was controlled by the Qing dynasty established by the Manchus in China. In the history of Tibet, Qing administrative rule was established after a Qing army defeated the Dzungars who occupied Tibet in 1720, and lasted until the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912, although the region retained a degree of political autonomy under the Dalai Lamas. The Qing emperors appointed imperial residents known as the Ambans to Tibet, who commanded over 2,000 troops stationed in Lhasa and reported to the Lifan Yuan, a Qing government body that oversaw the empire's frontier regions.