Tibet Area (administrative division)

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Tibet Area
Area of the Republic of China (1912–1951)
Area of the People's Republic of China (1951–1965)
ROC Div Xizang.svg
Map of the de jure Tibet Area within the ROC
Capital Lhasa
1,221,600 km2 (471,700 sq mi)
 Tibet Area established
1 January 1912
23 May 1951
 Replacement of Kashag with the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region
after the 1959 Tibetan rebellion
20 October 1962
 Establishment of the
Tibet Autonomous Region
22 April 1965
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Tibet under Qing rule
Flag of Tibet.svg Tibet
Tibet Autonomous Region Blank.png
Arunachal Pradesh Blank.png
Jammu and Kashmir Blank.png
Today part ofPeople's Republic of China

The Tibet Area was a province-level administrative division of China from 1912 to 1965. It was created by the Republic of China (ROC) following the 1911 Revolution, and nominally included the Ü-Tsang (central Tibet) and Ngari (western Tibet) areas, but not the Amdo and Kham areas. [1] [2] [3] The territories were merely claimed by the ROC, but actually controlled by an independent Tibet with a government headed by the Dalai Lama in Lhasa.. The ROC was defeated during the Chinese Civil War; it retreated to Taiwan and lost control of mainland China to the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949; afterwards, the ROC continued to claim Tibet.


The PRC annexed Tibet in 1951 and continued to call it Tibet ARea. [4] It was transformed to Tibet Autonomous Region in 1965 after the 1959 Tibetan uprising. [5]


Early-Republican China

Tibet became a protectorate of Qing China in the 18th century; [6] imperial authority was symbolized by a Qing resident called amban in Lhasa. After the Chinese 1911 Revolution and the end of the Qing Empire, Tibet expelled the Chinese delegation and became independent. [7] The ROC claimed Tibet as a province. It considered Tibet be part of the "Five Races under One Union" [6] and held that "Tibet was placed under the sovereignty of China" following the Sino-Nepalese War (1788–1792). [8] The ROC's Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission (MTAC) was established in 1912 to nominally govern those regions.[ citation needed ] In 1934, diplomatic relations between Tibet and China resumed. ROC proposed that Tibet recognize Chinese sovereignty. Tibet rejected the proposal but agreed to host a Chinese mission in Lhasa; a MTAC mission was established in 1939. It was expelled in July 1949 to make it more difficult for the Chinese Communists to establish an official presence. [7]

Relations with the People's Republic of China

The PRC received early insight into the politics of Tibet by recruiting from MTAC members. [9] In 1949, Tibet opened negotiations with the Chinese Communists, who were expected to win the civil war, and through them, with the future PRC. As with the ROC, Tibet refused to accept Communist demands that Tibet recognize Chinese sovereignty. [10] Following some border skirmishes, the PRC invaded Tibet in October 1950; the Chinese defeated the Tibetans at the Battle of Chamdo, Chamdo being part of Xikang rather than Tibet Area from the Chinese point of view. They stopped to allow further negotiations. [11] Tibet was unable to secure international support, and military resistance was hopeless. In 1951, the PRC formally annexed Tibet through the Seventeen Point Agreement. [12] In the first few years, the Chinese focused on creating an administration independent of the Tibetan government; the latter was unable to cope with the work demanded by the Chinese and became increasingly redundant. [13] Social reform was not emphasized due to the difference in culture and the dependence of PRC institutions on local resources. Basic services, trade, and technology were introduced to win over the population and the ruling elite. Tibetan opposition built around the two prime ministers of the Tibetan government, and was strengthened by the Chinese criticism of those officers. [14]

The Preparatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet (PCART) was formed in 1955 as an interim governing body. It replaced the Chinese Tibet Military Commission, which frequently opposed the Tibetan government and was viewed with hostility by the Tibetans. The PRC hoped that Tibetan integration would be easier with the Chinese–Tibetan PCART. The relevance of the native Tibetan government continued to erode; the Kashag continued to meet but its influence was mainly symbolic. [15]

The Tibet Autonomous Region was created in 1965 after the 1959 Tibetan uprising. [16]

Relations with Taiwan after 1949

After Chinese Civil War, and the ROC retreated to Taiwan. It continued to claim Tibet.

Chiang Kai-shek responded to the 1959 uprising with a Letter to Tibetan Compatriots (Chinese :告西藏同胞書; pinyin :Gào Xīzàng Tóngbāo Shū), which set the ROC's policy of aiding Tibetan rebels against the PRC. ROC continued to operate MTAC, which undertook propaganda work among the Tibetan diaspora in India. In the following years, 400 Tibetans were recruited to work and study in Taiwan. [17] [18] [19]

The ROC's position on Tibet shifted after the former's democratization in mid-1990s. In 2007, ROC President Chen Shui-bian spoke at the International Symposium on Human Rights in Tibet and stated that his offices no longer treated exiled Tibetans as Chinese mainlanders. [20] In 2017, the Tsai Ing-wen administration announced that MTAC would be dissolved and its remaining functions transferred to the Department of Hong Kong, Macao, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet Affairs of the Mainland Affairs Council as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [21]

Administrative divisions


Flag of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region
(Zhong Yang Dai Biao Tuan  (Central (Government) Representative Team)) Flag of Tibet (1956-1965).svg
Flag of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region
(中央代表团 (Central (Government) Representative Team))
Division (专区)TibetanSimplified ChineseHanyu PinyinCounty ()
Lhasa Division Office拉萨办事处Lāsà Bànshìchù9 counties
Xigazê Division Office日喀则办事处Rìkāzé Bànshìchù12 counties
Heihe Division Office黑河办事处Hēihé Bànshìchù4 counties
Ngari Division Office阿里办事处Ālǐ Bànshìchù8 counties
Shannan Division Office山南办事处Shānnán Bànshìchù10 counties
Tagong Division Office塔工办事处Tǎgōng Bànshìchù6 counties
Gyangzê Division Office江孜办事处Jiāngzī Bànshìchù6 counties
Qamdo Division Office昌都办事处Chāngdū Bànshìchù18 counties

See also

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  10. Shakya 1999, pp. 26–32.
  11. Shakya 1999, pp. 38–45.
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