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)
Flag of Tibet (1956-1965).svg
Flag of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region
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 the Republic of China which consisted of Ü-Tsang (central Tibet) and Ngari (western Tibet) areas, but excluding the Amdo and Kham areas. [1] [2] [3] However, the Republic of China never exercised control over the territory, which was ruled by the Ganden Phodrang government in Lhasa. The People's Republic of China, which overthrew the ROC in 1949, invaded Chamdo (not part of Tibet Area until 1951) in 1950 and incorporated the Dalai Lama-controlled regions in 1951. [4] After the 1959 Tibetan rebellion, the State Council of the PRC ordered the replacement of the Tibetan Kashag government with the "Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region" (PCTAR). The current Tibet Autonomous Region was established as a province-level division of the People's Republic of China in 1965.



In the 18th century, the Qing dynasty established a protectorate over Tibet. After the 1904 Younghusband expedition, China attempted to exert more direct control over Tibet, including incursions and occupation of the Kham region. However, after the 1911 Xinhai Revolution which overthrew the Qing dynasty, Tibet disarmed and expelled all the Chinese officials from the Tibet Area. The newly established Republic of China unilaterally declared Tibet as being part of the "Five Races under One Union". However its policy was not consistent. While its constitution and communications with external powers maintained that Tibet was a "province" of the Republic of China, it recognized that Tibet was not part of China, inviting them to "join" China. The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan administration consistently refused the invitation. They maintained that under the priest–patron relationship that prevailed under the Qing dynasty, Tibet enjoyed wide independence and they wished to preserve it. [5]

Although there was no Chinese control over Tibet throughout the life of Republican China, the ROC asserted that "Tibet was placed under the sovereignty of China" when the Qing dynasty (1636–1912) ended the brief Nepalese invasion (1788–1792) of parts of Tibet in c. 1793. [6] In 1912 the ROC established a cabinet-level Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission (MTAC) led by the Executive Yuan in charge of the administration of Tibet and Outer Mongolia regions.

The People's Republic of China (PRC), after its establishment, fought and defeated the Tibetans at the 1950 Battle of Chamdo, and took control of Tibet. [7] The ROC government, led by Chiang Kai-shek, continued to claim Tibet as an integral part of its territory, contrary to the claims of the Dalai Lama's Central Tibetan Administration which claimed Tibetan independence.

After the 1959 Tibetan Rebellion, Chiang Kai-shek announced in his Letter to Tibetan Compatriots (Chinese :告西藏同胞書; pinyin :Gào Xīzàng Tóngbāo Shū) that the ROC's policy would be to help the Tibetan diaspora overthrow the People's Republic of China's rule in Tibet. The MTAC sent secret agents to India to disseminate pro-Kuomintang (KMT) and anti-Communist propaganda among Tibetan exiles. In the following years, the MTAC recruited Tibetans to Taiwan to study and work, roughly 400 in number. [8] [9] [10]

After democratization in mid 1990s, the position of the Republic of China with regard to Tibet shifted. In the opening speech to the International Symposium on Human Rights in Tibet on 8 September 2007, ROC President Chen Shui-bian of the Democratic Progressive Party stated that his offices no longer treated exiled Tibetans as Chinese mainlanders. [11] The MTAC was dissolved in 2017 by the Tsai Ing-wen administration, with its remaining functions to be taken on by the Department of Hong Kong, Macao, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet Affairs of the Mainland Affairs Council as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. [12]

Administrative divisions


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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  1. Ma, Rong (2011), Population and Society in Contemporary Tibet, Hong Kong University Press, pp. 17–18, ISBN   978-962-209-202-0
  2. Tibet, worldpopulationreview.com, 2018: "Tibet is an autonomous region located in the People's Republic of China. Tibet was established in 1965 and replaced the administrative division known as the Tibet Area."
  3. Geoffrey Migiro, Is Tibet a Country?, worldatlas.com, September 14, 2018:"Tibet is an autonomous region of People's Republic of China which was established in 1965 to replace an administrative region known as Tibet Area which they inherited from Republic of China."
  4. Ling, Nai-min (1968), Tibet, 1950-1967, Union Research Institute, p. 743: "In 1951, the Chinese Communists had set up the Work Committee of the CCP for the Tibet Area. It became the supreme power organization in the Tibet area during the revolt."
  5. Yu & Kwan 2020, pp. 86–87.
  6. Sperling (2004) pp.6,7. Goldstein (1989) p.72. Both cite the ROC's position paper at the 1914 Simla Conference.
  7. Yu & Kwan 2020, p. 87.
  8. Okawa, Kensaku (2007). "Lessons from Tibetans in Taiwan: Their history, current situation, and relationship with Taiwanese nationalism" (PDF). The Memoirs of the Institute of Oriental Culture. University of Tokyo. 152: 588–589, 596, 599, 602–603, 607. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 April 2012.
  9. "The Issue of Tibet in China-US Relations During The Second World War".
  10. The last of the Tibetans Archived 2009-12-10 at the Wayback Machine By Ian Buruma
  11. 'President Chen Shui-bian's Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the 2007 International Symposium on Human Rights in Tibet' Sep 8, 2007 [ dead link ]
  12. "Taiwan calls time on Mongolia and Tibet affairs commission". South China Morning Post. 16 August 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2020.


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