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I. The Consistent Stand Taken by the Successive Chinese Central Governments towards the Sovereignty over Tibet after the Revolution of 1911
2003/10/27

The Republic of China was founded in 1911 when the rule of the Qing Dynasty was overthrown by the Revolution of 1911. Though the domestic political situation of China was not quite stable at that time, yet the successive central governments of China all persisted in the principled stand of exercising sovereign jurisdiction over Tibet. They conducted resolute struggles against the schemes of splitting China by the foreign aggressive forces and adopted various measures of exercising sovereign jurisdiction over Tibet.  

1 . Reiteration of Sovereignty over Tibet by the Government of the Republic of China

At the beginning of the founding of the Republic of China, it promptly declared that the Republic was the integration of the Han,Manchu, Mongolian, Hui and Tibetan nationalities Dr. Sun Yat-sen, Provisional President of the Republic, pointed out in his Declaration in January 1912: "The foundation of the state lies in the people's power to incorporate the areas inhabited by the Hans, Manchus, Mongolians, Huis and Tibetans into one country and to unite the Han, Manchu, Mongolian, Hui and Tibetan nationalities into one nation. That is called the national unification." He also made succinct explanations to the declaring of independence by more than ten provinces after Wuchang took the lead to revolt, saying that "This 'independence' meant exclusion of the Qing court through alliance with other provinces This also applies to Mongolia and Tibet. The unification of territory meant the concerted actions of all the nationalities and provinces , not going astray under the leadership of the center and extended its rule to the four boundaries." He stressed that the independence of various provious did not mean by independent kingdom, but meant by exclusion of the Qing court through alliance with other provinces. He made special statement regarding Tibet and Mongolia . The five-colour flag used then as the national flag symbolized the integral whole of the five nationalities.

On March 11 , 1912 the Provisional Constitution of the Republic of China issued by the Nanjing Interim Government stipulated that "The territory of the Republic of China consists of twenty-two provinces, Inner and Outer Mongolia, Tibet and Qinghai." Senators will be selected from every province, Inner and Outer Mongolia, and Tibet, each five persons; one from Qinghai. The method of selection will be decided by the various regions . When the Senate is in session, one-senator-one-vote will be carried out." The above-mentioned facts clearly pointed out that Tibet and other regions are part of the Chinese territory ; their status are equal to other provinces. They have the right to participate in the administration of state affairs.

On April 22, 1912 the Order of President Yuan Shikai emphasized that "The Republic is composed of five nationalities. All Mongolian, Tibetan and Huijiang areas are the territory of the Republic; the Mongolians, Tibetans and the Huis in Xinjiang are all the nationals of the Republic. The designations used in the period of the Empire should not be continued. Henceforth, overall planning should be carried out regarding Mongolian, Tibetan and Huijiang regions in order to achieve the domestic unification and realize the great harmony of all nationalities. The Government of the Republic will not set up special organ to handle national minodties affairs. The reason is that Mongolian, Tibetan and Huijiang regions are placed on equal footing with the interior provinces. All political affairs in those regions should fall within the limits of interior administration, We have now founded the unified government. The national minorities affairs will be merged into and taken over by the Ministry of Interior Affairs......"

The Constitution of the Republic of China was issued in May 1914. It reiterated once again that "The territory of the Republic of China will comply with all the territory of the former Empire." "The nationals of the Republic of China will be equal before the law regardless of their races classes or religions."

In 1928 the Nationalist Government was established in Nanjing.On September 23, 1929 Chiang Kai-shek sent letters to the Dalai Lama and the Kalons respectively and expressed attitude of the central government towards Tibet. It was pointed out in the letter to the Kalons that "On the behest of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the Government will treat equally without discrimination against Tibet. Though U-Tsang is located far away, its land belongs to the territory of the Republic of China and its people belong to the nationals of the Republic of China. The Government will spare no efforts to foster the basis of regional autonomy in order to struggle for survival in the world."

On June 1, 1931 the Nationalist Government issued the Provisional Constitution in the Political Tutelage Period of the Republic of China, in which it stipulated that "The territory of the Republic of China covers the various provinces, Mongolia and Tibet." "The local systems of Mongolia and Tibet shall be enacted separately in legal forms according to the local conditions." Afterwards, the Constitution of the Republic of China, made public in 1947 pointed out once again that "The territory of the Republic of China shall comply with its inherent domains. No changes of territory shall be made without the resolutions adopted by the National Assembly." The autonomous system of Tibet should be guaranteed." There was also clear statement concerning the National Assembly that "The number of delegates to be elected from Tibet shall be decided according to law." It was also stipulated that there should also include the number of delegates from the Tibet regien among the legislators and controllers of the country.

The above-mentioned facts show that after the Revolution of 1911 ,the successive central governments of China all solemnly pointed out: Tibet is part of Chinese territory and it was stipulated by law.

2. The Government of the Republic Resolutely opposed the Conspiracy of Separating Tibet from China by Foreign Aggressive Forces

In the early stage of the founding of the Republic, the political situation of China was turbulent. The political regimes alternated continuously. Taking advantage of this chaotic situation of China, the British imperialists plotted to grab Tibet and separate it from China. In 1914 Britain hatched single-handedly the Simla Conference, concocted "the Simla Convention", openly divided our Tibetan areas into " Inner Tibet" and "Outer Tibet" and tampered with China's sovereignty over Tibet into "suzerainty". This "convention" which gravely violated the sovereignty of China should naturally be opposed by the Chinese Government. On July 3, 1914 Ivan Chen, the chief delegate of the Chinese government, was instructed to refuse to affix his signature on the formal text of the "Simla Convention" and stated that "The Chinese Government would not recognize any agreement or similar documents between Britain and Tibet today or some other day." The British scheme hence failed.

After the Simla Conference, the British imperialists were not reconciled to their failure, and continued to play with conspiracies and provoked incidents so as to attain their designs.

In July 1942, the Kashag (Tibetan local government) declared all of a sudden the establishment of a "bureau of foreign affairs" and threatened to cut off supplies to the Office of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs at Lhasa and forced the Office to have contacts with the so-called "bureau of foreign affairs" in an attempt to find an excuse for independence of Tibet. Mr. Kong Qingzong, the then director of the Office, promptly sent an urgent report to the central government and pointed out in the telegram that "The bureau of foreign affairs is by nature an organ that takes up matters with foreign countries. Today the Kashag informed me that I should take up all matters with the bureau. That amounts to treating the central government as a foreign government and Tibet as an independent country. If we were to recognize so, that would mean the disappearance of articles in the previous international treaties which stipulate Tibet is part of the Chinese territory. That would also mean the invisible validity of the various treaties, open or secret, signed by Tibet with foreign countries without the recognition of the central government of China, As this is a matter of great importance, we suggest that the central government should openly cable the Kashag that we do not recognize the bureau. The officials of the central government in Tibet should deal with all matters with the Kashag as usual." On August 5, 1942 the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs conveyed the instruction of the Executive Yuan to the Kashag, saying that" The Tibetan side found it necessary to set up an organ to handle local foreign affairs but they must observe the following rules:a) Problems involving the interests of the state, that is, political problems, must be handled in accordance with the will of the central government;b) All contacts and communication between the central authorities and Tibet should follow the usual practice and must not go through the above-mentioned bureau of foreign affairs." The Office of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs at Lhasa received a telegram, ordering that "The Office should take up all matters with the Kashag as usual, not have any connection with the "bureau of foreign affairs" . In 1943 the Tibetan Tsongdu (National Assembly) was held at Lhasa. The Tsongdu accepted the opinion of the Central Government concerning the matter of the 'bureau of foreign affairs' and withdrew the former decision, expressing that "Tibet should keep good feeling with the Central Government and should not sever relations with the Office of the central authorities in Tibet." Ngawang Gyaltsen, general representative of the Tibet Office in Nanjing (then moved to Chongqing), was instructed to convey this views to the President of the Nationalist Government personally. Owing to the solemn and just stand taken by the Chinese Central Government, the British imperialists' scheme for the independence of Tibet by taking advantage of establishing the "bureau of foreign affairs" went bankrupt.

The incidents of "Pan-Asian Conference" and "Trade Mission"were cooked up by the Kashag under the British instigation in 1947. The Central Government expressed its stern stand through various channels and resolutely opposed to them.








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