Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chinese colonization of Tibet

China's grip on Tibet
By H.D.S. Greenway | October 23, 2007 (Boston Globe)

LHASA, Tibet

THE CHINESE have never really understood why the West makes such a fuss about Tibet. China has crushed Tibet, and brought in settlers to swamp its culture. But by their lights they have brought modernity and a better life to a feudal society groaning under the rule of lamas.

They call the exiled Dalai Lama a "splittist," which sounds comic to Western ears, but carries all the deep Chinese fears that forces are conspiring to split up the ancient domain of China which, through the ages, has often disintegrated into warring factions, only to be reunited again when China was strong.

Tibet has for centuries been considered a satrapy of China, although it had virtual independence when China was weak. Tibet is not internationally recognized as an independent country. Not even the Dalai Lama himself insists on independence. Yet China trembles.

For although the Chinese physical grip on Tibet is unyielding, in the battle of imagination they haven't a chance. Westerners, for hundreds of years, have been intrigued by Tibet as the most remote place on earth, "the roof of the world," a hidden and holy land where an esoteric form of Buddhism was practiced, producing miracles such as flying monks and the ability to sit naked in the snow and raise your body temperature by powers of concentration.

"Through all ages Tibet has held a paramount position among those regions of the world which have been popularly invested with a veil of mystery because they are inaccessible and unknown," wrote Sir Thomas Holdrich in 1906.

But the Chinese don't get it. Jiang Zemin, when he was in command of China, complained that he could not understand why the West, where "education in science and technology has developed to a very high level . . . enjoying modern civilization," could have any truck with backward and superstitious Tibet.

In the old days adventurers would do anything to try to sneak into Tibet, primarily because it was forbidden. In 1904, the British forced an army through to Lhasa. Resistance was crushed "like a man fighting with a child," wrote a witness, Perceval Landon of the Times of London. Tibetan resistance never had a chance "under the appalling punishment of lead."

That imbalance of firepower was repeated in the 1950s when the Chinese came to stamp out whatever was left of Tibetan de facto independence and isolation. Except for the stunning Potala Palace, religious buildings, and devoted pilgrims, Lhasa is unexceptional now. Airplanes render it accessible. I have arrived on the new train - an engineering marvel to be sure - but nonetheless a train. If Tibet is to be remote you shouldn't be able to take the 5:15 to Lhasa.

Yet, the power of Tibet in the imagination lives on. As Orville Schell wrote, it was the dream of Shangri-La itself that was at stake: "For many Westerners who had allowed themselves to dream the dream of Tibet, Chinese rule represented a paradise lost." Schell's book, "Virtual Tibet," traces the power of the Tibetan myth, the books, the movies, the Hollywood stars that have taken up the Tibetan cause.

Since Shangri-La was invented by novelist James Hilton in "Lost Horizon" 70 years ago, the name has graced an American aircraft carrier, a hotel chain, Franklin Roosevelt's presidential retreat, but, above all, it is a generic term for a heaven on earth.

The Tibet mystique lies at the confluence of two powerful rivers of Western emotion - a search for spirituality that modern society seems unable to fulfill, and the human rights movement stimulated by Chinese brutality and cultural imperialism. A tributary is the assumed spirituality of mountains: Mount Olympus to the ancients, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills" for the biblically inclined. Tibet wouldn't have been Tibet had it existed in the lowlands.

Although things are better now, one senses here some of the same feeling of an occupied people that one feels on the West Bank.

The Dalai Lama, now in his 14th reincarnation, perpetuates the image of Tibet by a careful combination of essential sweetness, spirituality, and political acumen. He keeps the dream alive. And the more the Chinese denounce him, the more it chastises countries, such as Germany and America, for honoring him the more they empower him.
When he dies it is highly unlikely Beijing will allow monks to freely find a 15th incarnation in some humble household on the Tibetan plateau with a young boy who fits the mysteries. China will want to pick the next one.

H.D.S. Greenway's column appears regularly in the Globe

Colonization of Tibet, June 4, 1957

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TITLE: Colonization Of Tibet
BY: r.r.g.
DATE: 1957-6-4
ORIGINAL SUBJECT: Background Information USSR
THEMATIC SUBJECTS: China--1956-1965, China--Foreign Relations--Tibet

--- Begin ---

Radio Free Europe/Munich

Office of the Political Advisor

Background Information USSR

June 4, 1957


On May 24th, 1957, the British Ambassador to Washington, Sir Harold
Caccia, pointed out in Boston that it is a fallacy to assume that expansion
overseas is necessarily more imperialistic than expansion overland. He
reminded his audience that "your forefathers carried out an expansion
overland to the Pacific which has brought forth the most powerful nation
in the world today,11 (London Times, May 25th, 1957). But he spoke in
the past tense. The middle of the 20th century is witnessing a number
of imitations of this technique, including the absorption of the Baltic
republics by the USSR, the swallowing of Tibet by China, the annexation
of part of Kashmir by India, and - in the project stage - Nasser's efforts
to establish a "union" of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

This modern expansionism is important because it is contributing
to the reinforcement of tremendously powerful nations - the USSR and
China -- which, in the not so distant future, may feel inclined to continue
their march to the sea. The danger that such expansion will become a habit
if it continues to go unpunished should not be overlooked. The most recent
exponent of the technique among the great powers is China, whose annexation
of Tibet in 1950 contains a number of warnings for the free world.

First it is essential to realize that the colonization of Tibet has
relatively little do with Communism - it was far more a manifestation
of ordinary imperialism. Linguistically, ethnically and geographically
Tibet has almost nothing in common with China (see Neue Zurcher Zeitung.
1st June 1956), though Tibet has been conquered by Chinese several times
in past centuries and Chinese "suzerainty" over Tibet was recognized by
most of the Great Powers by the beginning of the 20th century. The
libations are descended from a Tartar race, and are mongoloid in appearance.
They are closer to the Mongolians, Burmese and Ghurkas in most respects
than to the Chinese. Even the Large Soviet Encyclopedia (Second Edition,
Vol. 42, 1956, p. 4O6-411), which cannot be suspected of sympathy for
Tibet, agrees that "racially the composition of the country is fairly
homogeneous. Its main body (98%) consists of Tibetans...In addition, small
numbers of Chinese live in Tibet" (emphasis added - r.r.g.).

Throughout history the Chinese have regarded Tibet as a troublesome
tributary region. Lhasa was first taken and sacked by a Ghinese army in
the seventh century A.D. But the occupation did not long survive, and
in the 9th century the Koko-Nor Lake was agreed to as the Northeast
boundary of Tibet. In 1700 the Chinese annexed E. Tibet, and in 1720 they
reoccupied Lhasa by force. The second occupation was no more durable than
the firsts in 1750 the Chinese murdered the regent, a Tibetan religious
leader appointed as the nation's ruler during the minority of the Dalai
Lama[*], with the result that the Tibetans massacred the Chinese garrison.


* The spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet.

[page ii]

The Chinese Ch'ien Lung Emperor then, dispatched an army which took Lhasa,
again without occupying it for long. In 1910 another Chinese array plundered
and burned Lhasa, in the fourth occupation of the city. However Tibet is
far from being a fertile country, and it is situated about three miles
above sea level) consequently the Chinese in the 19th and early 20th
centuries could not avoid permitting it a large degree of political autonomy.

In 1914 representatives of China, Tibet, and British India (whose interest w[?]
stable trade relationships and exclusion of Russian influence from Tibet)
met at Simla and agreed on the division of the country into two parts: -

1. Outer Tibet, i.e. the areas adjoining India, including Lhasa.
Shigatse and Chamdo

2. Inner Tibet, i.e., the provinces near China and Eastern Tibet's
(Foreign Affairs, April, 1953, pp. 495-500).

The conference agreed on the internal jurisdiction of the Dalai Lama's
government, recognized Chinese suzerainty (which granted China the right
to conduct Tibet's foreign affairs), and obtained a statement from Great
Britain renouncing any territorial ambitions in Tibet. China was
authorized to maintain a representative in Lhasa, and was given responsibility
for the maintenance of order in Inner Tibet. After the agreement had been
initialled, the Chinese Government immediately refused to ratify it, but
in essentials it remained in force de facto until the conquest of 1950.

The occupation of Tibet in 1950 by the Chinese Communist Government
had its historical parallel in the expansion into the Caucasian republics
and Central Asia by the Bolsheviks in the early twenties. In both cases
the central government was motivated partly by a nationalist desire for
aggrandizement but also partly by the fear that any area not under its
direct control might become a threat to its future existence. In October
1950, without even the formality of a Kadar-type "invitation",
Mao launched six columns of troops across the Tibetan frontier (Heinrich
Harrer, Seven Years in Tibet. E.P. Dutton & Co., N.Y. 1953, p. 297). The
small Tibetan Army, which is estimated to have numbered about 10,000 men
(Chambers Encyclopedia, Vol. XVIIIs George Newnes, London, 1950), was
unable to offer any serious resistance, and the Dalai Lama decided to
leave Lhasa to avoid capture.

After the Chinese invasion forces had advanced hundreds of miles
across the border, capturing the Governor of E. Tibet, the National Assembly
sent an urgent appeal to the UN for help against the aggressors. The
Assembly observed that Peking's excuse for the invasion was the need to
eliminate the influence of "imperialistic powers" in Tibet, and noted
that in fact Tibet was entirely free of all foreign influence. As Burma,
India and Pakistan had all been granted independence by Britain some years
previously.!) it is by no means clear how any Western power could have
"influenced" Tibet, even supposing that, after the British withdrawal, there
had been any further need to do so.

To assist the process of colonization in Tibet, the Chinese had for
generations followed a policy of "divide and rule" by building up the
Panchen Lama, the head of the monastery at Shigatse, Tibet's second largest
town, as a rival to the Dalai Lama, The present Panchen Lama was educated
in China, and Peking went so far as to proclaim him the legitimate ruler
of the country. In point of fact, Heinrich Harrer asserts that in Tibetan
eyes, the Panchen Lama's authority extends to his monastery and its lands,
but no further.

The sequel to the Chinese military occupation of E. Tibet was

[page iii]

reminiscent of Hitler's technique for dealing with Czechoslovakia.
Representatives of the "local government of Tibet" as the Chinese called
it, were taken to Peking, where they were induced to sign an agreement
on May 23, 1951. This declared that:

a. Tibetans were "one of the nationalities with a long history inside
the boundaries of China."

b. Tibetan leaders had "shown an unpatriotic attitude towards the
great Motherland" by opposing neither the "deception and provocations of
the imperialists", nor the "Kuomintang reactionary government's...policy
of oppressing...the nationalities."

c. The internal administration of the country would remain in the
hands of the Dalai Lama, who must return to Lhasa.

d. Religion would be respected.

e. China would have the right to establish garrisons of unlimited
strength anywhere in Tibet, including Lhasa.

As in the case of most agreements dictated by a victorious power, the
pressure exerted by the Chinese garrison made it possible for Peking to
nullify the Dalai Lama's right to internal administration whenever this
seemed desirable.

In the summer of 1951 the Dalai Lama returned to Lhasa; by the autumn
the whole of Tibet was occupied by the Chinese Army, and the bamboo curtain
finally descended. The first result of "liberation" was a major famine
combined with inflation, due to the inability of the Tibetans to provide
food for themselves as well as a large occupation army. The Panchen Lama
was transferred from Shigatse to Lhasa with a suitable armed Chinese
escort, but the pragmatic Mao shifted his former ground to a recognition
of the Dalai Lama as official head of the government, as a concession to
popular feeling.

1952, 1953 and 1954 were occupied by the Chinese largely in strategic
road-building, a practice used by colonial powers ever since the heyday of
the Roman Caesars. At first two main arteries from China were constructed,
one from Kangting to Lhasa, and one from Chinghai to Lhasa, ensuring that
reinforcements could reach the heart of Tibet in three weeks, compared
with almost as many months before the roads were built. Then the provision
of a highway to the Indian frontier from Lhasa to Yatung was undertaken.
Refugees who subsequently reached India have given illuminating accounts
of how the labor force was found. (See also Appendix 1, p. 4. below for a
similar description from another area.)

Prices had risen five or six times after the invasion (London Times.
Jan. 17, 1957), and the Chinese pointed out that when the roads were finished,
prices would fall due to the improved transport facilities. "Voluntary"
labor was therefore unnecessary, but the road gangs received no wages, and
were expected to find their own rations, When the first convoys began
to pass in 1953, they brought not food, but Chinese reinforcements, and
the inflation of prices continued.

In 195-4 the program for "brain-washing the future leaders of the Tibetan
nation began to be clearly outlined. On the third anniversary of the
Sino-Tibetan agreement, the People's Daily announced that primary schools for
1000 children had been opened, and that "many" Tibetans had been sent to
Peking and Chengtu to study. Yet as recently as April 24, 1956, the NCMA
reported the Dalai Lama as saying that "seven hundred young men and women

[page iv]

had gone to China" as students of social welfare and education.[*]Seven hundred
seems a small number even when compared with the low population

The Dalai Lama must have been speaking for internal consumption only,
because a month later Tass (May 22, 1956) announced that "since 1951 more
than a thousand Tibetans have been enrolled in the central and southwestern
national minorities institutes (in China), 1600 young Tibetans have
already graduated as doctors, veterinary surgeons, agronomists and other
specialists," Though this total of 2,600 students indoctrinated or
undergoing indoctrination in a period of five years does not seem impressive,
it is large compared to the complete absence of such training for Tibetans
in the past.

Apart from the recognition of the Dalai Lama's supremacy vis-a-vis
the Panchen Lama a second major tactical retreat by Peking was the
abandoning of the plan for a "Military and Administrative Committee" which was to
have been established, under Article 15 of the 1951 agreement, to control
the country. It had been proposed to employ "as many local Tibetan
personnel as possible" on the Committee, but so few Tibetans were found
willing to take part that the idea had to be dropped.

During 1954 the Chinese leaders apparently became alarmed at the slow
progress made in winning popularity in Tibete. Symptoms of Tibetan
nationalism - such as the reported refusal of the Dalai Lama to fly the Chinese
flag (Economists, February 6, 195-4)-persuaded Peking that a serious attempt
must be made to "reeducate" the Tibetan ruler himself. Accordingly he was
"invited" to Peking in September 1954, where he underwent brain-washing
for seven months. Daring this period Mao put forth the idea of eventually
transforming Tibet into an "autonomous region" of China, and a joint
preparatory committee for the establishment of the region was finally set up
in April 1956, with General Chang Kuo-hua, the Chinese Commander-in-Chief
and representative in Tibet, as its driving force.

Thus no apparent progress had been made since the agreement of 1951
towards greater self-government for Tibet. But from the Chinese point of
view the measure of domination achieved over the mind of the Dalai Lama
represented a considerable advance.

Tibet Strikes Back

In the early days of the Chinese occupation, the invaders used to
"invite" the population to mass meetings for propaganda purposes. The
meetings frequently ended in a resolution urging the Chinese to go home,
and consequently the occupation authorities abandoned the practice.
(London Times. January 16th, 1957). But by this time it had become a
habit with the Tibetans, who continued to meet in the name of the
Mimang Tsokpa ("the assembled people"). Such unauthorized gatherings
had a strong anti-Chinese flabor, and in 1952 the first arrests of Mimang
spokesmen began.

The first Mimang political action was to send emissaries to India


* "More than l,000,000" - Large Soviet Encyclopedias Second edition,
Vol. 42, p. 406, 1956.

A Chinese census in 1936 estimated Tibet's population at 3,700,000; it
therefore seems probable that the Soviet figure refers to Outer Tibet alone,
Moscow presumably considering Inner Tibet an integral part of China. The
Chinese Communist census of 1953 shows 2,775,662 Tibetans.

[page v]

appealing for a restoration of Tibetan liberties. The messengers were
intercepted, and spent 19 months in prison. In 1955 Mimang sent a
petition to the Chinese with the following points: -

a. The Chinese were accused of undermining the Dalai Lama's authority.

b. Attention was drawn to the prevailing economic distress.

c. Objection was raised to attempts to disband the Tibetan army and
recall Tibetan currency.

d. The Mimang was to be recognized as the people's spokesman.

The Chinese response was to renew the ban on political meetings.
But it was more difficult for the Chinese to enforce their wishes.

In the winter of 1955-56 pamphlets were being circulated in Lhasa
calling for Tibetan independence and opposition to the Chinese. Last
year the movement assumed explosive dimensions in Kham, the province
of Eastern Tibet astride the Sino-Tibetan border. In this area land had
been expropriated by the Chinese for "reform", but during the share-out
most of it was given to new settlers from China (Mao Tse-tung had announced
his Intention of Increasing the population of Tibet "first to six
million"-Royal Central Asian Journal, April, 1953.) Livestock had been confiscated,
and the people told to surrender their firearms. The strain became too
great, and the Khambas finally took to guerilla warfare. Sporadic attacks
on Chinese garrisons occurred, and gradually the Chinese Army lost control
of much of the area outside the well-defended bases of Chan do, Kandze,
Kanting, etc. (Economist, December 1, 1956), The Kanting-Lhasa road, one
of the two main achievements of the Chinese occupation, was repeatedly
cut, and bridges were destroyed by the insurgents (it should be noted that
as long ago as 1953 many Chinese missions were entering Tibet via Calcutta
and Kalimpong, not direct from Peking to Lhasa - Foreign Affairs, April,
1953). The insurgents seized a quantity of arms and munitions and in reply
the Chinese were compelled to resort to the use of air power. Litang was
among the towns and monasteries bombed (London Times, July 18, 1956). By
the middle of 1956 the situation of the Chinese in Kham was reminiscent
of that of the Germans in the Balkans in 1944, with, once more, the
all-important difference that for the Khambas there were no nocturnal
aircraft bringing weapons, ammunition or radio sets from the outside world.

The flames of revolution spread rapidly. In the Kham area an attempt
was made to assassinate Mr. Chen Yi, the Chinese deputy Prime Minister,
who had to be hurriedly evacuated to Lhasa (London Times, July 24, 1956),
and subsequently flown to Peking from the Chinese-built aerodrome seven
hours drive from the capital. In distant western Tibet, which previously
had been quiescent, the occasion of the opening of a new road from Gartok
to Takiakot was seized on by the local monks to demand withdrawal of the
Chinese army, and Chinese reinforcements had to be sent to quell the

The third major political retreat by Peking then became known. Reports
from Lhasa stated that the "autonomous region" of Tibet would not be formed
for another three years (i.e., not until 1959), due to the demands for
independence put forward by some 30,000 monks of three major monasteries.

However, by the autumn there were already signs of an appreciably
milder attitude on the part of the Chinese. Nepalese traders from Lhasa
said that the revolt in Kham had resulted in the handing over of internal
administration to the Tibetans (London Times, 7 September, 1956) - i.e.,

[page vi]

that armed force had been required to achieve what the Chinese had
conceded to the Dalai Lama on paper by the 1951 agreements Simultaneously
the Chinese had renewed their propaganda offensive. Loudspeakers in
Lhasa were blaring out pro-Chinese propaganda, and aircraft from the
airfield at Dum were dropping leaflets, no longer high explosive, on the
rebel, monasteries. On the other hand, the Nepalese traders were much
impressed by the modern agricultural techniques introduced by the Chinese,
which were having a positive effect on Tibetans.

By February 1957 the Khain insurgents were still in possession of
almost all their own province, with the exception of the Chinese lines
of communication. Chinese policy had become one of conciliation. Whether
this was due to the lessons of Poznan and Hungary, or to a shrewd
appreciation of the military difficulties of maintaining a road through several
hundred miles of hostile territory, is not yet certain. But that it is
unwelcome to Peking is evident from Ghou En-lai's recent threat (Hew York
Times, January 20, 1957) "to adopt the policy China has endorsed in
Hungary" should further risings occur, However, there seems little
likelihood of such bloodthirsty behavior. The Chinese leaders, as Mao's
recent speeches have shown, do not themselves credit the existence of
"imperialist agents" and "counter-revolutionaries" at every turn.
Moreover they are not in a hurry. "Time is on our side" is an incantation
they firmly believe in. A railway to Lhasa, a formidable undertaking but
the natural concomitant of the strategic roads and air base, is due for
completion in 1960, Thousands of youngsters are to return from
China with secondary or higher education every year, and regardless of
their political ideas, the Tibetan administration, even if it were
genuinely independent, would have to use many of them because of their
superior knowledge. Similarly in the past, despite Tibetan xenophobia,
Harrer and Robert Ford were offered posts which no Tibetan had the
training to fill.

Tibet as Virgin Land

Refugee sources already estimate that there are some 3,000,000 Chinese
settlers in the empty spaces of Amdo, in N.E. Tibet. The figure may well
be exaggerated, but even if no more than a million Chinese have arrived,
the balance of population has already shifted dramatically. Mao's first
goal of 6,000,000 no longer appears visionary, but a practical target,
based on cool calculation. Tibetans fear that within 10 years the Chinese
may have established a numerical superiority though some Western sources
question the ability of the Chinese to adapt themselves to the altitude
and climate of central and Western Tibet. The colonization movement will
no doubt continue in Eastern Tibet. The Tibetans there may be
submerged in their own country - as effectively as the Kazakhs of Kazakhstan by
Slavs and the Mongols of Inner Mongolia by Chinese.

Unlike the Russian colonizers in Kazakhstan, however, the Chinese
continue to pay considerable attention to the dangers of ""great Han
chauvinism". "Ulanfu, Chairman of the Nationalities Affairs Commission
told the CCP Congress in September 1956 "that the class foundation for
great Han chauvinism and local nationalism is being gradually changed
and eliminated," though "these tendencies are still serious in some areas."
(NONA, 20 September 1956.) Although clearly far more effort is being
devoted to the uprooting of local nationalism than of great Han chauvinism,
nevertheless it is to the credit of the Chinese that they see and admit
the problem. It is partly on this somewhat insubstantial pillar that
their rapid increase of authority in Eastern Europe last autumn was based.

[page vii]

Recent Developments

During April 1957 the first reports began to arrive of a more
radical change towards moderation in Chinese policy in Kham Province. The
Chengtu-Lhasa road had remained blocked (London Times, May 1, 1957) for
normal traffic throughout 1956 and every convoy required an armed
escort. The formerly independent Tibetan kingdom of Derge, west of the
Upper Yangtse is reported in a state of turmoil. Revolts have taken
place in the south and even in the area of the Salween River. In view of
the tense situation, the Dalai Lama was said to have recommended the
suspension of "social reforms" in Tibet.

This suggestion is partly confirmed by a Peking Radio report (AP,
Hong Kong, March 18, 1957) of a speech by Bando Yande, a Tibetan, to
the Political Consultative Conference. Yande told his audience that Mao
had promised that "social reforms" would not be carried out during the
Second Five Year Piano Moreover Mao is alleged to have decided that
re-form in the Third Five Year Plan will depend on the Tibetans themselves.

But the Tibetans have already decided against the type of re-form
which Mao would like. During April 1957, the Tibetan cabinet submitted
to Chou En-lai in Delhi a list of four points, which had been approved
by the Tibetan National Assembly. They are as follows: (London Times.
May 9, 1957)

a. Evacuation of Chinese troops from Tibet.

b. Restoration of the status quo as under the 13th Dalai Lama
(predecessor of the present incumbent who combined real temporal and
spiritual power - r.r.g.).

c. Reinstatement of two Prime Ministers dismissed by the Chinese.

d. Abandonment - not postponement - of Communist "reforms".

It is a hard fact that numbers of Chinese officials have been withdrawn
from all parts of Tibet in recent months. It does not seem probable that
they can all have been replaced by indoctrinated Tibetan officials in view
?? the small numbers of the latter available, and the fact that such
indoctrination has sometimes not even penetrated skin deep. Mimang has given
signs of its continuing strength by a renewed pamphlet and poster campaign,
in Lhasa itself, pressing for the "four points". Finally the Tibetan
government has been given permission to resume the printing of its own currency
(London Times. May 26th, 1957) which the Chinese suspended in 1956 when
they introduced notes printed in Chinese, Mongolian and Tibetan.

The Tibetans, then, are winning back some of the effective autonomy
promised them (but never implemented) in the 1951 agreement. But a
proportion of the Chinese garrison remains, and it is said to number 13,000
troops in Lhasa alone. The Chinese are a patient race, and they are
prepared to play for time. According to Nehru, Chou En-lai told him on one
occasion that "in 50 or 100 years it might be possible to introduce
communism into Tibet". But the export of communism is not China's
fundamental interest. Her interest in Tibet is as a colony, and colonization
in the East at least is progressing much more rapidly. Like the Red Army
in the Soviet colonies, the Chinese Army will remain in sufficient strength
to ensure that the process is not reversed.


Developments in China
Vol. V., No. 22,
November 16- 30, 1956

The integration of the Minority Peoples within the Chinese People's
Republic continues to fee one of the major problems affecting the Chinese
Military Program. As most of the minority tribes inhabit the regions
adjoining the frontiers with the Mongolian People's Republic, the USSR, India,
Nepal, Burma and North Vietnam, the consolidation of China's border regions
depends to some considerable extent on the "strengthening of the unity"
between the Chinese (or Hans, as the majority nationality prefers to style
itself) and the tribes concerned.

In recent months there has been evidence to show that this hoped for
unity is taking a long time to achieve. The reasons are twofold: "Great
Han Chauvinism" manifest in the attitude of the Han cadres sent to the
minority areas to implement the Central People's Governments1 minority
policy, as these cadres have been over-bearing, negligent and
"chauvinistic" in their work; and the local peoples3 resentment of Chinese
domination or, to use the Communist's term "local nationalism."

According to Ulanfu, chairman of the Nationalities Affairs Commission
in his speech at the CCP Congress in September, 1956, "the class
foundation for great Han Chauvinism and local nationalism is being gradually
changed and eliminated" and through the "consistent educational program
of the Party and the Government the two tendencies are being overcome, "but
the tendencies are still "serious in some areas." He continued:

"The main manifestations of great Han chauvinism at present are:
inattention to the characteristics of minority nationalities,
disregard for their interest, underestimation of their role in the
Socialist construction of the Motherland, failure to see clearly
their development and progress, disrespect for their rights of
equality and autonomy, and unmodified application of the work
experience of the Han nationality area in minority nationality
areas, The main manifestations of local nationalism are:
overemphasis on the special conditions of the minority nationalities.
failure to see the entire interest of the State and the long-range
interest of the nationalities, failure to see the future of the
minority nationalities, and unwillingness to accept the beneficial
experiences and assistance of other nationalities," (NCNA 20.9.56)

Earlier, at the National People's Congress in June, 1956, Ulanfu outlined
a pattern to be followed in investigating the correct implementation of
the Governments nationality program. He said it was absolutely necessary
to conduct such inquiries regularly and he anticipated that following the
current investigations,

"there will be important good results in overcoming shortcomings and
errors in nationality work, overcoming and avoiding chauvinism arid
local nationalism, fostering unity among the different nationalities,
developing the socialist enthusiasm of the people of different
nationalities, and materializing various tasks of the Party and State on
the nationality question during the period of transition to socialism,
(NCNA 20.6,56)

Soon after Ulanfu made his speech, reports of investigations into work
in minority areas began to come in. In Yunnan NCNA reported on 8,7.56 it
had been necessary to undertake an overall examination of the execution of

[page 2]

the nationalities policy by Communist Party committees at all levels in
the province, (NCMA 8.7.56). Similar investigations are "being carried
out in Kweichow and Szechwan, {NCMA 20.6.56), A directive issued by the
Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region Communist Committee has instructed all
Party committees of county level in the region to carry out "an intensive
and overall inspection" of the implementation of the Party's policy towards
minorities in order that relations between the Hans and the minorities shall
be improved, (Peking Radio 5.9.56).

Han Chauvinism;

In his speech to the NPC Ulanfu stressed that "the tendency of
chauvinism in nationality work is the greatest danger to be warned against
and avoided11'. This has been confirmed by reports from minority regions all
over the country. At the First Congress of the Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous
Region in July, 1956, there were complaints that a considerable number of
Party members still had ideas of dominant national chauvinism, (NCNA 26.7.56).

In Yunnan also at a conference on youth work, held by the Yunnan
Committee of the Youth League, it was reported that the most usual
short-coming had "been the exercise of leadership without consideration for the
Particular circumstances and characgeristies of the different nationalities.
In some localities working experiences of the Han nationality had been
summarily adopted without finding out whether they were appropriate. There
had also "been a lack of effort in training cadres of different nationalities.
Such things said the report, "reflected the vestiges of chauvinism", (NCNA

Old Customs and Practices No Longer Respected:

Lack of respect for the customs and practices of the different
minority peoples was criticized likewise in the Sinkiang Uighur Autonomous Region
Communist Committee directive, (Peking Radio 3.9.56). Sheer neglect has
occurred in some districts. In the high mountainous areas of Yunnan much
hardship still confronted the economy and culture of the local people,
according to an NCNA report, (NCNA 8.7a56), Many cadres had neglected their
work in these areas and tended towards generalization in their leadership
work; they failed to pay special attention to the specific hardship of the
minority peoples living there.

Standards of Living Fall:

Despite the assurance given by Shirob Gaitso, Deputy Governor of
Chinghai, at the 4th Session of Chinghai People's Congress in August, that
all reforms in minority regions would be carried out in such a way as to
ensure increased income and improved living standards for the masses,
(Siniag Radio 28.8.56), it appears that this policy has not been strictly
applied so far. In Sinkiang, for example, supplies of goods were
frequently exhausted. This was due to incompetence in estimating the people's
purchasing power and demand for commodities, (NCNA 26.7.56), In Yunnan
conditions have been causing great concern to the local people. Special
nationalities conferences had to be held in Weihsin and Yiliang hsien to
explain the Party's nationality policy and problems in connection with
fee-operation, so as to allay the anxieties of some Miao and Yao people who
had demanded to withdraw from the co-operatives or to move their homes,
(NCNA 8.7.56).

At the 1st Peopled Congress of the Sinkiang autonomous region, the
Director of the Budget Committee announced that an additional 10% tax would
be imposed on the peasants and nomads in the region. No explanation is

[page 3]

given for hiss statement that this deduction of an extra l0% would not
affect the people's incomes, (Urumchi Radio 6.8.56).

Failure to Train, Minority Cadres:

The diffidence with which the local peoples are apparently regarded
by the Han cadres is demonstrated by the latter's reluctance to train
cadres of the minority nationalities. During the recent investigation in
Yunnan, it was noticed that some Party organizations "lacked enthusiasm"
in training nationality cadres. Plans for improving the training program,
drawn up by the Communist Committee of the province, pointed out that it
was essential to educate all Party members to overcome wrong thinking in
this respect and to give more vigorous assistance to nationality cadres,
(Peking Radio 18.7.56). However at the CCP Congress, Ulanfu complained that:

"In certain autonomous chou and autonomous hsien, the number of
members of the national minorities in the Party committee did not
increase over a number of years. In certain autonomous areas, rights
to manage finance and other undertakings sometimes were restricted.
Construction did not begin on many local industries, schools, and
other undertakings, even though these are needed and have been
proposed repeatedly. The creation and promotion of written languages
for national minorities did not receive effective and practical
support," (UCHA 20.9.56).

Even when a member of a minority people has obtained an official
position, his troubles are not at an end. This was proved by the
experience of Ahoulumutzu, a Yi deputy who spoke at the 5th plenary session of
the Nationalities Committee of the MPC in July, and who criticized his
colleagues of Han nationality for failing to keep sufficient contact with
him in official affairs, (IOTA 6.7.56).

Co-ercion by Han Cadres:

Chen Szu-teh, who spoke on behalf of the minority nationalities of
the Li and Miao Autonomous Chou on Hainan Island at the NPC in June claimed
that there had been some notable achievements since liberation, but devoted
the greatest part of his speech to the defects and problems which had

He described how the local people were mobilized for co-operation.

"In order to establish big higher co-operatives, Party and
government leaders and cadres had, at the beginning, ordered the
amalgamation of a number of villages requiring the moving of peasant families.
This way of doing things not only runs contrary to the custom of the
peasants, but also overtaxes the people and their financial resources,
constituting a disadvantage to production. Later, this mistake was
corrected, but had already produced a bad influence upon the masses.
The Maos in our Chou had hitherto lived on the mountains, depending
on the felling and planting of trees to earn a living. In order to
fit into the development of agricultural co-operatives and into the
Scheme of closing the mountains for afforestation, the leaders
decided that all Miaos should move onto the lowland and organize
themselves into co-operatives in May this year, Just as they were
building some huts to move into, drought unexpectedly occurred.
The leaders were resolved to fight the drought in an overall manner,
and the migration of the Miaos was unconditionally stopped.
Consequently they had to stay on the mountains, but at the same time
they were not allowed to fell the trees, nor to till the soil, with

[page 4]

the result that the Miaos living on the mountains had no output of
early crops and were confronted with a dilemma, having extreme
difficulties in making ends meet."

The Miaos were not the only ones who suffered, said Chen. There was
also the case of the Hui peasants in a village-group in Tai country.

"Fishing had always been their side occupation but sine
agricultural co-operation, the cadres ordered them to concentrate their
strength on farming, forbidding them to fish. As a result, while
the fishing-boats and the nets were left to rot, the income of the
Huis decreased, by the fact that not enough attention had been
paid to the concrete conditions and characteristics of minority
nationalities areas."

After the formation of the co-operatives, the peasants were faced with
many new difficulties. At the end of their long working day they were
expected to attend meetings for the allocation of new assignments and
recording or workpoints, which often lasted till 3 o'clock in the morning.
[?] Chen said:

"Therefore the peasants not only do not have enough sleep, they
also cannot find time to have their hair cut, or to dam their
clothes. Even more serious is the cash shortage due to their lack
of time to attend to side occupations, and they have no money to
buy salt. So some peasants of minority nationalities say,
'Socialism is good, but it makes us too busy and our life too difficult.'"

Corvee Not Compensated:

This remark gains even greater significance, when it is further revealed

"In May this year, when the provincial roads were built in our Chou,
the peasants were required to perform free labour and to bring their
own rice with them, while those peasants who had joined co-operatives
were not given any work-points in the co-operatives. Some peasants
ran away because they thought that this constituted too great a
loss to them."

It is hardly surprising that "as soon as they saw that some defects
appeared in the work of establishing co-operatives, that their present
individual interests were affected, that co-operative management was in a state of
confusion and. that co-operative production was poor," some peasants wanted
to withdraw. Nor is it surprising that Chen's speech is punctuated by the
comment that the defects he lists "caused discontent among the peasants."
This phrase seems scarcely strong enough, (People's Daily 30.6.56),

Risings paused by Discontent:

Minority peoples in other areas have gone so far as to show their
discontent in open disturbances. At the NPC a Deputy from the Ahpa Tibetan
Autonomous Chou in Szechwan disclosed that there had been some difficulties
due, he said, to remnant Kuomintang gangs inciting rioting by a few feudal
lords, (NCNA 25.6.56). Disturbances created by some former slave-owners
who were linked up with the Kuomintang remnants in some districts were also
mentioned by Wang Hai-min, Deputy Head of the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Chou
in Szechwan, (NCNA 29.6.56). More recent is the statement made by Liu Ke-ping,
Chairman of the Nationalities Affairs Committee of the NPC, that there has
been a rebellion in Western Szechwan, in the Kanze Autonomous Chou which
borders on Tibet, (NCNA 7.8.56).

[page 5]

Liu claims that the rebellion "which was instigated by remnant
Kuomintang agents, was launched by ft few feudal landlords hostile to the
introduction of even the most elementary reforms in the backward social structure
of that region." Yet one cannot help but feel that it may have had some
closer connection with shortcomings in minorities work mentioned by Shirob
Gaitsc, Chairman of the Chinese Buddhist Association, in his speech to the

"In certain Tibetan areas of Szechwan there were recently some
improper measures in regard to land reform, commercial tax on
lamaseries, the monetary system, farmland and cattle, and others. While
collecting weapons from the people, sometimes they even took away
the weapons which had been placed as religious offerings. As a
result some Buddhists erroneously doubted the sincerity of religious
freedom. Even though these were merely individual cases in certain
areas, their influences are not to be ignored," (NCNA 27.6.56).

Kao Feng, First Secretary of the Chinghai C.P. Committee related in
his C.C.P. Congress speech how one tribal Chieftan in Chinghai had revolted
17 times but the People's Government had "patiently worked to win him over,
taking necessary military action only as a secondary measure," (UCHA 22.[???]6.

PLA "Occupation Troops" Firmly Established:

The activities of men of the People's Liberation Army are reported from
almost all the border areas of China. Army units, aided by the local
population were active in suppressing the rebellion in Szechwan, according to
Liu-Ke-ping. In Yunnan, which forms the frontier with Burma and North Vietnam,
PLA units are reported to have established "firm and friendly contacts with
the local agricultural cooperatives," (People's Daily 3O.6.56). Units are
also well established in Tibet itself where they have replaced the Tibetan
army and police force, although small units of Tibetans have been formed
within the PLA. The role of the PLA in Tibet is two-fold: to act a, a an
army of occupation and to implement one of the major policies, repeatedly
reiterated during the inaugural meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the
Autonomous legion of Tibet in Lhasa early this year, the "safeguarding of
the South West national defences of the Fatherlad." Units stationed in
Sinkiang have been organized into large scale construction and production
groups whilst retaining their military formations,

Policy advocated at the CCP Congress:

Experiences of work in the minority areas has proved that the minority
peoples distrust "foreigners" and resent attempts to impose alien ways and
methods on them. In areas where the traditional leaders have been removed,
the Han cadres have found it difficult to exercise any control or influence
over the people. It has been realized therefore that the quickest way of
influencing the nationalities is to retain as many as possible of the less
antagonistic leaders and to transmit the policies of the CPG through them.
Liu Shao-chi said:

"We must persist in uniting with the individuals from the upper strata
of the national minorities capable of exercising influence of one
kind or another in society... in short our task is to mobilize all
positive factors so that they can contribute to the construction
of socialism."

However, both Liu Shao-chi and Chang Kuo-hua outlined ways in which
the Government's interests would be advanced, Liu made it clear that:

[page 6]

"In order that the national minorities may grow into modern
nationalities, the most fundamental thing, the key, besides the carrying
out of social reform, is to develop modern industries in the areas
they inhabit, The significance of this lies in the fact that in
order to set up these industries there will be a considerable influx
of experienced Han specialists and technicians, and the minority
populations will be diluted with Hans." (NCNA 16.9.56).

Chang Kuo-bua outlined a second method of infiltrating the national
minorities. He announced a plan "for the next four years to recruit up to
eight thousand students of Tibetan nationality" to be trained, as CPG

personnel, These Tibetans will emerge as the new leaders of the Tibetan people
and will be able to introduce the social reforms required by the CPG. This
long-term training of young people of the minority races has been going on
for some years in the other minority areas, (HCNA 20.9.56).

Although good relations between Han cadres, both civil and military,
at the minority peoples are of the utmost importance to the Chinese
government, the latest evidence of this concern, a People's Daily editorial of
8.9.56 shows that their aims are still far from being achieved. Instead
of dispelling old racial prejudices they are creating new ones. The paper
criticized cadres who are still clinging to "the ideology of big-nation
chauvinism" as this has resulted in some places in the development of racial
prejudices. The editorial went on to stress that the concept of unilateral
assistance by the Han people to the other nationalities was wrong, and must
give way to that of "patriotic, friendly, and mutual assistance." Without
the cooperation of the minorities the task of defending the frontiers, where,
with the exception of the North East, most of them live, would be very
difficult cult; thus no efforts must be spared to establish closer unity between
the Minorities and the Hans,

This, however, does not mean a relaxation of pressure on the more
stubborn minorities. It is merely a change in tactics to the policy of "slow
beginnings and quick results" advocated at the N.P.C. by Shirob Gaitso. The
ultimate aim remains unchanged as made clear in the following extract from
Ulanfu's speech to the CCP Congress:

"It is very apparent that in those minority areas where reform has
not yet been carried out, democratic reforms and socialist
transformation will inevitably materialize. It is naive to think that
Socialist, economic and cultural construction can be carried out
and socialism can be materialized without undergoing democratic
reforms and Socialist transformation," (NONA 20.9.56).

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