'Lhasa Convention' not proof of Tibet independence

Updated: 2008-05-26 23:27

BEIJING - A Chinese expert in Tibetan studies has published a signed article to refute misunderstandings of some foreigners who have wrongly taken the "Lhasa Convention" as proof that Tibet is a sovereign country.

The author, Lian Xiangmin, points out the "Lhasa Convention", signed under compulsion of British invaders in 1904, could in fact only show the history of British aggressions in China's Tibet, instead of serving as proof that Tibet was a sovereign country.

The fact that Tibet is part of China's sovereign territory is not only the consensus of the international community nowadays, but also the shared view of countries before the 20th century, the article read.

Even in the late 19th century and the beginning of 20th century when China was suffering from incessant aggression by Western imperialists, all the countries in the world still dealt with affairs relating to Tibet via the central government of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

However, the imperialist forces took advantage of a weak Qing Dynasty and began plotting to carve up China.

In order to bring Tibet into its sphere of influence, British aggressors invaded Tibet in 1903. The Tibetan army and civilians rose to resist but were defeated, the author said.

During the invasion, the British army occupied Lhasa and the 13th Dalai Lama was forced to flee the city. The invaders compelled the Tibetan local government officials to sign the "Lhasa Convention" on September 7, 1904.

But because the Ministry of External Affairs of the Qing government believed the "Lhasa Convention" would do damage to national sovereignty, the high commissioner stationed in Tibet by the Qing government refused to sign it, leaving it ineffectual, according to the author.

At that time, the high commissioners supervised the handling of Tibetan affairs on behalf of the central government of the Qing Dynasty, enjoying equal standing with the Dalai and the Panchen.

We could see from history that China, even in the final years of the weak Qing Dynasty, did not let Tibet be split from the country, Lian said. The so-called "Tibet independence" is unlikely to succeed in Today's China.

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