Popular History: The Suppression of a Rebellion in Tibet

With appetite growing on the Chinese Internet for more information about the history of China’s dealings with Tibet, one elderly blogger has stepped up to feed it. The blogger, 72-year-old Jiang Dasan (江达三), is a retired pilot who was stationed in western China with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force in the 1950s. The following is the first of eight posts on his experiences with the PLA in Tibetan regions that have been circulating widely since the eruption of the Lhasa riots. Translated by CDT: In the summer of 1958, Western China experienced instability. In May of 1951, the Chinese central government and the Dalai Lama, acting as representative of the Tibetan government, signed the “Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet” and Tibet declared it had been peacefully liberated. After the agreement had been signed, however, top Tibetan leaders and businessmen unwilling to part with their privileges began organizing troops and preparing for violent resistance against the central government. These troops were the beginnings of what would later become the formidable so-called “Four Rivers and Six Mountains Defenders of the Teachings,” (四水六岗卫教军; Tibetan: Chushi Gandrug). The United States has a strong interest in supporting Tibetan independence. On several occasions, the CIA air-dropped weapons and espionage equipment to the “Defenders of the Teachings.” With American support, this self-proclaimed protectors of religious faith mobilized local reactionaries, launched surprise assaults on People’s Liberation Army bases and convoys, stole supplies, inflicted serious damage on PLA units stationed in Tibet and brought disaster on the Tibetan people. From the beginning we tried to implement the party’s minorities policy, carrying out thought work to the best of our ability in order to impel them. But repeated efforts had little effect. They began to assassinate local officials. On one occasion, an official of ours ...
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9 Responses to Popular History: The Suppression of a Rebellion in Tibet

  1. […] a 72 year old former PLA flyer who spent time in Tibet and is now blogging about the events there. China Digital Times translated one of his posts on the time in the 50’s when they rounded up a bunch for Tibetan […]

  2. Tenzin says:

    This is really funny. Most of the information about Tibet is wrong. Chushi Gangdurk is not called defender of the teaching is totally wrong. This article is typical of somebody of chauvinist mentality. sort of fairy tale.

  3. Rajib Bhuyan says:

    Whatever the Chinese may say about the situation in Tibet…the fact of the matter is that they have invaded an independent sovereign country and will have to enter at the altar of history.

  4. John_Ooi says:

    Whatever the Chinese may say about the situation in Tibet…the fact of the matter is that they have invaded an independent sovereign country and will have to answer at the altar of history

    Yet not A SINGLE COUNTRY recoqnized Tibet as an independent country Maybe tibet is considered independent by Martian hehe 🙂

  5. Tsering says:

    An interesting blog,
    Shows how brainwashed the old pilot was at the time he was carrying his mission.

    Tibetans remained a de-facto independent nation from 1912 to 1951.Tibet as a land was inhabitated by people who are called Tibetans. There were no Chinese hans in that region before 1959. The lhasa administration was the legitimate government then. But in 1951 Beijing forced the Tibetans to sign the 17 point agreement. That was not done with politics, but with 50,000 PLA troops as a threat waiting at the border.

    When Tibetans didnot easily surrendered, the Chinese leader Chou En Lai went extra mile by including in The 17 point agreement gaurantees to maintain most of Tibet’s administrative and religious structure intact and promising the high ranking lamas and aristrocrats to keep their position (Which i find ironic, because the communist party was established to free the serfs. But China needed the Tibetans to sign the 17 point agreement, so it can be used as a legal document for peaceful liberation). Tibet was supposed to get a high degree of autonomy.But between 1952 and 1959, most of the promises were turned on its head and PLA began the process of destroying religious centers and destroying the Tibetans traditional lifestyles. When it became unbearable for the locales to stand such harsh treatment, Chushi Gang Druk(which the blogger mentions)emerged It initially comprised mostly of people from eastern Tibet. During that period,Hundreds of Tibetans from eastern Tibet fled to Central Tibet to escape the hardship.
    By 1959, even the little trust that the Dalai lama has tried to build between his people and the Han Chinese was lost. And the rest was history.

    Its unfortunate that Chinese still maintain the same attitude towards Tibetans and continue to treat Tibetans with han chauvanism. Most Han Chinese never really try to understand Tibetan way of life and culture. They just think, Tibet being a part of China has to be like other Chinese. I would like to ask this blogger if he tried to spend time with a Tibetan family and tried to learn Tibetan language and culture. I would like to ask if he ever cared to take a pilgrimage around the sacred mountains and monasteries. If he was among the first han chinese to have been to Tibet, did he make friends with any Tibetans and talked with the Tibetan about his identity and culture.

    The reason I raise these questions is that, most Chinese I met are passionate about China’s claim over Tibet and would get fervent while defending its right over ownership of the land. But when asked what they know about Tibetan culture and identity. There were oceans away from having any knowledge about Tibet and Tibetans. Rather what I have seen in my experience is that Those Han chinese who express support for Tibetans rights to self rule and autonomy are those who have lived in Tibet and who have interacted with Tibetans on personal and human level.

    The blogger seems to have only followed orders from his superior and did what he was told and taught at his military school. Which as we see is a misinformed history.

  6. sr says:

    Chushi Gang Druk were defenders of the Tibetan fatherland, or in Tibetan, Phayul!
    It’s actually good that old members of the PLA are reaching out so their is record of their propoganda and evil deeds are made public for all to see.

  7. sr says:

    John, it’s sort of interesting you mention martians cause considering how much you and most other Chinese people, both past and present, actually know regarding Tibet and Tibetan people, Tibet might as well have been on Mars.

    With our ever increasing human population on our small planet we all better practice cultural relativism or there will be nothing but suffering and hardship in our futures.

  8. jh says:

    Nice allegory, sr!
    While John is “quite” right about the recognition of Tibet as an independent country by other nations, the issue is not as final as he would like to think. He might want to look up the findings of the International Commission of Jurists.
    Apart from that, there are still countries “born” to this day…
    The Han tend to have a real navel gaze when it comes to history…

  9. […] Dasan, a retired PLA pilot who was stationed in the Qinghai region of eastern Tibet in the 1950s, wrote a tale on his blog that illustrates this view. He was witness to an incident where Chinese army […]