Anna Louise Strong Reference Archive

When serfs stood up in Tibet


For the first few days we were asked to rest and get used to the altitude. Twenty-four hours after our arrival, they gave us a banquet, a reception and a dance; all went to the banquet and many to the dance. I omitted the dancing; I still gasped for breath at every third step. The younger people spent the day shopping in Lhasa, for which some paid with exhaustion.

They found a market place where fascinating bits of old hand-hammered silver could be dug from under old clothes. They found many Indian and Nepalese traders selling foreign wares, apparently brought in without duty and selling for whatever could be got. There were tempting bargains in Zeiss cameras while a can of Nescafe could be bought for one yuan. Within an hour after they reached the market the Nescafe rose to three yuan and other prices similarly skyrocketed. Our hosts asked us to stop individual shopping, which was upsetting the market for everyone in Lhasa, and to locate what we wanted and let them do the buying. Prosaic daily necessities could be bought at a state trading store near our hostel. Thus I bought batteries for my flashlight and a new type-writer ribbon without going downtown. Both of these seemed incongruous in Lhasa.

Avoiding physical effort in the first two days, we substituted interviews with chiefs of government and army, who gave us a first briefing on Tibet, its history, economic and social condition, the achievements of the past eight years, the March rebellion and its quelling, and the new program for "democratic reform". Much of this I already knew for I had already interviewed in Peking the three chief figures of Tibet in 1959: the Panchen Erdeni, chief ecclesiastical figure and acting chairman of government; Ngapo Ngawang Jigme — known as Apei—secretary general and thus executive of the new government and Chang Ching-wu, Resident in Lhasa for the Central Government of China, all of whom had gone to Peking for a session of the National People's Congress. I condense here from all these interviews.

* * *

China is a multi-national country and Tibet is one of its largest sub-divisions. That Tibet has been an integral part of China for seven hundred years is held by all Chinese and recognized, at times with reservations, by all foreign powers. It is also the view of most Tibetans, though movements of secession have at times occurred, none of which rallied enough strength to succeed.

The historical relation of Tibet with China is usually taken as beginning in 641 A.D. when Tibet's firstunited under a strong central government, Tibet was again a part. The last time this happened was early in the present century when the Manchu Dynasty fell and China broke into spheres of warlords. In Tibet the Thirteenth Dalai Lama declared an "independence" that never became unanimous.[1] Tibetan warlords fought Szechuan warlords for possession of a province marked on the maps of Chiang Kai-shek as Sikang. Chiang's government never succeeded in unifying the outer areas of China, neither Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Sinkiang or Tibet. Yet even in this period, Tibetans sought the sanction of the Kuomin-tang government for the ordination of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and the Tenth Panchen Erdeni. By 1942 and 1946, Tibet's local government, the kashag, was sending its deputies to Chiang's "National Congress of China", in Chungking and then in Nanking.

This loose yet permanent relation of Tibet within China has been recognized in the diplomacy of foreign powers. No foreign power in seven centuries has sent an ambassador to Lhasa or recognized Tibet as a separate nation. Even when Britain seized Lhasa by armed force in 1904 and dictated a treaty in the Potala Palace, the bill for the £750,000 indemnity was sent to the Emperor in Peking and collected from him. The monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism also, though they spread through Mongolia into Buriat Mongolia, which is in the USSR today, sought sanction by China's central government for each new incarrnation of Dalai Lama or Panchen Erdeni. ''All incarnations have to have the approval of the central government of China", was said to me by Chao Pu-chu, head of the Buddhist Theological Research Institute in Peking.

The merging of priest with king, which became Tibet's form of government, also dates from Kublai Khan. When Pagspa, the learned prelate of Tibet, helped create an alphabet for the Mongols, the grateful emperor named him "Prince of Tibet and Tutor to the Emperor" and made him "King, of the Law in the Western Land of the Buddha" as far as Kokonor. Some authors today, seeking to advance Tibet at the expense of China, hold that Kublai Khan did not "make" Pagspa king but "reverenced him as pope". The concepts are not wholly contradictory; one doubts whether Kublai Khan "reverenced" anyone, but "tutor to the emperor" is a term of very high respect, and indicated Pagspa's special role.

There were no national states or sharp boundaries in those days on the great plains and deserts of Asia. There were nomad tribes fighting each other for grass and settlers advancing with farms, protected by walled towns. Monasteries were concerned with more than religion. They assumed control of vast lands, leased these to tribal chiefs and thus brought a kind of feudal order. Far into Mongolia and into lands that today are part of India, tribes became knit by the common scriptures in the Tibetan tongue. The Chinese emperors were overlords whose empire advanced not only by conquest, but by mutual appreciation. Kublai and Pagspa were both in the business of unifying and pacifying tribes. The emperors promoted the advance of the monasteries in order to pacify the tribes, but limited their temporal rule, especially where the settlements advanced. The control of lands and tribes by monasteries continued in all Mongolian and Tibetan areas of China down to the land reform of the present day.

* * *

All basic changes in Tibet from the time of Kublai Khan, were made or sanctioned by the Chinese Emperors, even the institution of the Dalai Lama itself.

In the theology of Tibetan Buddhism, which absorbed many beliefs of primitive tribes, beings existed who were so holy and wise that they could reincarnate themselves down the ages. They were called "chu-gu" in Tibetan, (''guru" in Sanskrit) and the Chinese called them "living Buddhas". Their number was unknown but there were said to be about a thousand persons who claimed the title; they were prominent among heads of monasteries. The two highest of these "chu-gu" were the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Erdeni, who presumably reincarnated the two chief disciples of Tsong Khapa, the religious reformer of the fourteenth century who founded the Yellow Sect, which Was dominant in Tibet. These two were "spiritual brothers"; in any incarnation in which their ages were widely different, they were the "Father-and-Son", a word implying a unified being. They differed from other "chu-gu" chiefly in their possession of temporal power. This power, together with their titles, was given them by the Chinese emperors.

Almost four centuries after Kublai Khan, the first Ching (Manchu) emperor appointed the Fifth Dalai Lama to "unify the tribes". [2] The Fifth Dalai Lama thus became the first who had temporal power. His full title, as formalized by the emperor, was "the Dalai Lama, King of the Law in the Western Land of the Buddha, Spiritual Lord on Earth, All-Knowing, Holder of the Thunderbolt by Order of the Emperor". In many parts of Tibet today, and even in places which India now claims [3] in her border conflict with China, the land titles date from the Fifth Dalai Lama, and convey land from the Chinese Emperor to the Fifth Dalai Lama and from him to the local tribal chief. This Fifth Dalai Lama, possibly feeling the need of some local sanction in dealing with superstitious tribes, had a "revelation" that he was also the reincarnation of Chenrezi, a pre-Buddhist nature-god of Tibet. He had another "revelation" that the Panchen Erdeni reincarnated another aspect of Chen rezi, as the Dalai Lama's "teacher". The mystical unity of the two high incarnations was thus preserved. The Panchen Erdeni was given his titles and tem-poral powers by the second Ching emperor. His title combined three languages, "Pan" being Sanskrit for "wise" [4], "chen" being Tibetan for "great", and "Erdeni" being Mongolian for "jewel"; he was thus the "great jewel of wisdom". The present Panchen Erdeni told me that his powers were "parallel" with those of the Dalai Lama and not "subordinate", and that this was decreed by several Chinese emperors. In politcs however, "parallel" powers were hard to maintainand in practise through the centuries, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Erdeni were each at different times dominant in Tibet.

The relations of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Erdeni to each other and to the Chinese Emperors, were far too complex and changing to be briefly summarized. Emperor Chien Lung (1736-1795) favored the Pan-chen, and built him a palace in Jehol next to the emperor's own summer palace where each summer he received the tribute of the nomads, with the Pan-chen Erdeni's advice and help. Again in the mid-nineteenth century, the Panchen Erdeni was the strong man of Tibet, who sent to the emperor for an “investigator" when the regent in Lhasa was murdering successive Dalai Lamas before they reached the age to assume power. This Panchen had a fanciful plot for overthrowing the Chinese empire in hi "next incarnation" and founding a Buddhist empire on the style of Genghiz Khan.

In the present century, the Dalai Lama was long dominant, and the view grew in the West that he was overlord also of the territories of the Panchen Erdeni. This was because the Thirteenth Dalai Lama was a man of ability — the only Dalai Lama besides the Fifth who ever exerted real political power, — and because he had the support of the British in the years when China was weak. He declared "'independence" from China, and killed or exiled sundry nobles and Living Buddhas who refused to support this declaration. The Panchen Erdeni was forced to flee into exile in Chinghai in 1923; and died in exile. The present Panchen, born in Chinghai, did not regain the seat in Tibet until 1952. During the Panchen's exile, from 1923 to 1952, the Dalai Lama and the secular government under him; known as the kashag, encroached on the Panchen's lands. This is the source of the view prevalent in the West, especially among British writers, that the Dalai Lama, was overlord of the Panchen's territory. The Panchen Erdeni himself assured me in 1959 that any taking over of his lands by the Dalai Lama had been “temporary usurpation", not sanctioned by Tibetan custom or law.

The kashag was a small cabinet of nobles, known as kaloons, who formed the secular arm of government under the Dalai Lama; it was authorized by emperor Chien Lung. A similar body, known as the kampo lija, was authorized for the Panchen's territories. The intricate, changing relations among these feudal forces down the centuries are largely irrelevant now. I sum them up in the words of the Venerable Shirob Jaltso, Chairman of the All-China Buddhist Association, and himself a Tibetan, who studied theology thirty-two years in Lhasa, in his speech to the National Congress of China in April 1959:

Tibet has been one of China's administrative districts for seven hundred years. . . The Fifth Dalai Lama, the first to appear in the political arena, was appointed head of Tibet by the Central Government in the reign of the Emperor Kang Hsi (1662-1722). .. The kashag was authorized as local government of Tibet ... by the Central Government under Emperor Chien Lung (1736-1795). The ieading position of the Dalai Lama was thus bestowed by the overall Chinese Government . . . and the kashag was an administrative organ of the overall Chinese government.

Thus the Venerable Shirob sums up history.

No claim of Tibet's independence from China has rallied wide support from the Tibetan people or recognition by any foreign power, in the past seven hundred years.

Tibet's modern history dates from May 23, 1951, when the Dalai Lama signed with Peking the Agree-ment of Seventeen Articles, which affirmed Tibet's long existence "within the boundaries of China" and her present "return to the motherland". Whatever incertainties may have clouded China's title from the period of British penetration or the warlord conflicts between Tibetan and Szechuan warlords were auspelled by that agreement. The nature of Tibet's autonomy" was also made clear.

Whatever the Dalai Lama later said about it, he needed that agreement for his own status, as much s Peking needed it for the unification of China. Even in the days when China was weak, and Japan held most of her territory, Tibet had sought sanctions from the Kuomintang. And now that the Chinese People's republic proclaimed in October 1949, was showing the strength to unify the China that had fallen apart with the empire, Tibet must define its relations or face civil war. Britain had stated that Tibet was part of China. America, through Lowell Thomas, had promoted the idea of "independence" but would "give no guarantee"[5].

So, in February 1950, the Dalai Lama being fifteen and his regent pro-British, his ministers argued and split, and decided to send a mission to Peking to see what terms were offered. The mission went via India and was stalled in New Delhi for reasons we need not discuss. The young Dalai Lama was taken to Yatung near the Indian border, to be ready to slip into India at need. Meantime Apei, commander-in-chief of the Tibetan army, was sent eastward to Chamdo, a month's journey towards Szechuan, to meet the People's Liberation Army's expected advance.

Chamdo had been for years disputed territory. Tibetan in population and claimed by Lhasa, it was mapped by Chiang Kai-shek as part of a new province called Sikang, between Tibet and Szechuan. Chiang had never subdued it; Tibetan warlords had taken it from Szechuan warlords but were themselves in conflict with Chamdo's local nobles. In Chamdo in October 1950, the People's Liberation Army, moving out to unify the ends of China, met the Tibetan Army under Apei and roundly defeated it in a two-day battle, part of the Tibetans going over to the PLA. Smaller Tibetan detachments, in areas around Chamdo, fraternized with the PLA on sight without combat. The PLA did not pursue its victory into Tibet proper but encamped near Chamdo for eight months to await the conference which would come.

Apei, commander-in-chief, expected death as the result of his defeat. The PLA treated him well and gave him long lectures on the New China's policy towards national minorities. Apei liked what he heard and thought it worth reporting by messenger to the Dulai Lama in Yatung at the other end of Tibet.

In Yatung the Dalai Lama and his ministers, still discussing future action, were in contact with agents of foreign powers, especially British and American. Later in Peking the Dalai Lama told people that the Americans wanted him to take refuge in India and declare holy war against the Chinese Communists, which America would then finance. The British ad-vised him to return to Lhasa, as the only place where he had power. They gave as reason: "The Dalai Lama is like a snow man, that melts when the snow goes; "in Lhasa he has power but outside Tibet he will melt". I have this at second-hand but it sounds plausible. The battle of Chamdo ended these discussions. Hearing that the battle was lost but that Peking seemed to offer good terms to national minorities, the Dalai Lama ordered Apei to proceed at once to Peking and negotiate an agreement. Two others went with Apei from Chamdo, two more came to Peking from the delegation stalled so long in India. Apei was chief of the mission.

"I reached Peking in April 1951," Apei told me later. "It was my first trip to Peking but I already knew something of the new policies. Negotiations went fast in a friendly atmosphere. We signed the agreement May 23, 1951. Early in June I started back to Lhasa which I reached in late August by horse. I reported at once to the Dalai Lama who had returned from Yatung. Then I reported to all officials of the local government, both clerical and lay. The agreement was accepted unanimously."

The Dalai Lama had returned to Lhasa because the news of the agreement had reached him in Yatung. After receiving Apei's full report and after nearly two months' discussion with all Tibet's top officials, he wired to Mao Tse-tung his ratification which contained the following words :

The delegates of both parties on a friendly basis signed an agreement for the peaceful liberation of Tibet. The Tibetan local government and the monks and people of Tibetan nationality are giving the agreement unanimous support. They are actively helping the People's Liberation Army units marching into Tibet to strengthen the national defense . . . and safeguard the unification and territorial sovereignty of the motherland.

It is clear from this brief survey that the arrival in Tibet of the People's Liberation Army in 1951 was not an "invasion", as commonly held abroad. Chinese would not in any case consider it an invasion, since they hold Tibet to be an integral part of China. But, even within China, the PLA waited in Chamdo, then part of Sikang Province, until the agreement was signed with Tibet's local government, which recognized the PLA as the "national army". Eight years later, the Dalai Lama, after he fled to India, said the agreement had been "imposed at the point of a bayonet". That it followed the-defeat of the Tibetan Army in Chamdo was true. But after that defeat, the victorious PL A had waited eight months to secure the unanimous consent of the Dalai Lama and the kashag and the "monks and people", and the Dalai Lama had wired the "active help" of all Tibetans to the PLA. To call such an agreement ' 'imposed by the bayonet" is not the common use of words.

A reading of the agreement settles certain ques-tions about "sovereignty" and "autonomy". Tibet recognized its inclusion "in the motherland" of China and accepted the new Peking government as its central government. Peking recognized and defined Tibet's "autonomy". This is important because "autonomy" has many shades of meaning. Britain, allowed in this by India, sought to define "autonomy" as a type of "independence" which might permit privileges to foreign powers. The 1951 agreement defined it as "regional national autonomy . . . under the leadership of the central government and in accordance with the policy laid down in the Common Program". As already carried out in other autonomous regions in China — Inner Mongolia, Sinkiang and Kwangsi — an "autonomous region" has its own language, customs, religion, and elects its local gov-ernment for local affairs, and its deputies to the Na-tional People's Congress of China to handle national affairs. The "Common Program" was a program for socialism. Such autonomy is not "independence", nor a condition that permits the intervention of foreign powers.

Some local rights were defined in the agreement. Peking agreed "not to abolish the existing political structure" nor "the powers of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Erdeni" nor "the income of the monasteries", and not "to use compulsion for reform". Tibet's local government, through the Dalai Lama and the kashag, agreed to move towards the reform of serfdom, the popular demand for which was anticipated, of its own accord. They specifically agreed to incorporate the Tibetan Army into the People's Liberation Army, but this was never done.

Did Peking keep the agreement? Did the local government of Tibet keep it?

The Dalai Lama, speaking in 1959 from India, told the world that the 1951 agreement had been "imposed on an unwilling Tibet" and violated at once by Peking. He listed no concrete violations, and a thorough documentation would seem needed to overcome the extravagant compliments which the same Dalai Lama had showered upon that agreement and Peking's actions for the previous eight years. Again and again on national days and other anniversaries he hailed "the fairness and friendliness" of the agreement. He told the People's Liberation Army[6] that its units "had respected religious practise, customs and habits with total fidelity" and that the Tibetan people "ardently love the armed forces". He wrote in the press: "The Tibetan people have enjoyed ample rights of freedom and equality."[7] In 1954, on his visit to Peking, he had composed a "Hymn to Mao Tse-tung" in his own handwriting and presented it to the Temple of Broad Charity where it still hangs framed in the holiest room, opposite the sacred "Buddha Tooth". In it he compared Mao's "brilliance and deeds" to those of "Brahma, creator of the world" with two score equally extravagant lines. So, either the Dalai Lama was telling lies for eight years for reasons of policy, or, as I think more likely, was conditioned from babyhood to echo the thoughts of his "advisers" and has now changed "advisers". (Further account will be given in the next chapter, in connection with the Dalai Lama's flight.)

The Panchen Erdeni and Apei and all others I met in Tibet, said that Peking scrupulously kept the agreement but the kashag did not.

"The power of the local government remained as before," Apei told me. "Officials at all levels kept their posts. No damage was done to any monastery in the Tibet region." [8]

In 1955, in response to Tibetan requests, the National Congress of China abolished the province of Sikang — that disputed area where the battle of Chamdo had taken place — and agreed to include Chamdo in Tibet. It was not transferred to the rule of the kashag, — for to this the nobles and people of Chamdo would have objected — but preparations were begun for the organizing of a larger, more unified Tibet than had existed at any previous time in the century. In 1956 there was set up the "Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region", with the Dalai Lama as chairman, the Panchen Erdeni as first vice-chairman, a Living Buddha from Chamdo as second vice-chairman, and with fifty-five members, representing all areas in Tibet. A fine building was erected in Lhasa for the Preparatory Committee's work. While this Committee had in it the potential of a larger and more unified Tibet, yet, due to the sabotage of the kashag, which would naturally be superseded in the enlarged Tibet, the work of the Committee did not advance.

The Panchen Erdeni listed for me the many improvements which Peking had brought in the life of Tibet. He noted, as did others, the three great highways built between 1954 and 1957 which united Tibet with other provinces of China, with Szechuan, Ching-hai and Sinkiang. These advantaged all China by better connections, but especially advantaged Tibet because the better transport cut in half the cost of consumer goods like textiles and tea. Apei told me that Peking "paid high" for the privately owned land needed for roads, "which was never clone in Tibet before". Peasants told me that the PLA "paid good wages" for road-building, whereas such work formerly was done by unpaid forced labor of serfs. Ex-serfs told me they had been able to buy a sheep or even a draft animal from the wages on the roads.

All reform was held back by the kashag, everyone agreed, and yet there was considerable change. One noted the power-plants that gave electricity to Lhasa and Shigatse, the new hospitals, schools, experimental farms, the seed loans to peasants without interest, the gift by the government of thousands of improved farm tools. These changes were hampered by the kashag's unwillingness to sell land for experimental farms, by its spreading of slanders against Han hospitals and schools. Seed grain, handled through the nobles, often failed to reach the peasants, who received old grain from the sweepings of the nobles' storage instead. New farm tools were often set aside in warehouses on the oretext that "iron poisons the soil".

The economic and social system did not change; serfdom continued. All reforms were therefore delayed or corrupted by the serf-owners, acting through the local government of Tibet.

* * *

The system of serfdom that existed in Tibet for centuries will be seen in greater detail in following chapters. But to understand the forces in conflict during the eight years after the 1951 agreement, which finally produced in 1959 the March rebellion, the economic and social base of Tibet must be briefly sketched.

Tibet, when Chamdo was added, had an area of some 1,200,000 square kilometers and a population of 120,000, [9] one person to a square kilometer. Three fourths of the population lived in the southern one fourth of the area; their basic occupation was agriculture. The remaining one quarter of the people lived in the pasture areas which are mainly in the northern areas; their occupation was livestock. Monks and nuns numbered some 120,000/ one tenth of the population, but since monks were far more numerous than nuns, they formed not far from one fifth of the males.

For centuries the population has consisted of two basic classes: the nobles and the serfs. In Lhasa they estimated that some two percent of the people were in the upper strata, and an additional three percent were their immediate agents, overseers, stewards, managers of estates and private armies. Ninety percent of the people were serfs, tied to the land, while five percent were slaves, persons handled as chattels.

The middle class was practically non-existent. Small merchants and handicraftsmen were serfs, who worked for their lords or paid a tax to their lords for permission to engage in trade or handicraft. Big merchants, those who monopolized foreign trade, came from noble families and from upper lamas in the monasteries. Even in the monasteries the division between nobles and serfs continued. Sons of the upper class who entered the monasteries had houses of their own which their. families owned inside the monasteries; they became monastery chiefs. Sons of serfs remained, as was stated in the debates on reform, "slaves in a monk's robe".

All land in Tibet and most of the livestock belonged to the nobility. Some 24.3 percent of the land was owned directly by noble families, 36.8 percent by the monasteries which the nobles ruled, and the remaining 38.9 percent by the feudal government, which gave it over to exploitation by government officials or nobles, as perquisite for holding posts in government.

All power was in the hands of the nobles, and particularly, in the hands of the biggest serf-owners. These furnished the six kaloons who made up the kashag, the secular council of ministers; they also furnished abbots and high dignitaries for the monasteries. Government was highly complicated, a mixture of clerical and lay rule. Decrees of the kashag became valid only when stamped by the seal of the Dalai Lama's secretariat, a clerical body. Every government post was filled by two persons, a clerical and a lay, and of these the clerical had precedence.

The Dalai Lama, set up as god and king, was a symbol around whom and through whom the biggest serf-owners struggled for power. From babyhood he was conditioned to worship by the people, but the upper class directed all his acts through the hierarchy, which imposed the routine of prayers and scripture readings and public appearances which filled his days, and even did him to death on many occasions down the centuries for the sake of some regent's power.

This complicated mechanism of government handled only the affairs of the upper class. Commoners were ruled directly by their masters. Every manor house and monastery had its jail, usually a rough stone cell in a cellar with little light or air and no toilet facilities except the floor. Manors and monasteries had their own whips for flogging, their own torture implements. A master had the right to cut off the hand or foot or gouge out the eyes of a disobedient or runaway serf. There were special instruments for these punishments, and also for ham-stringing or slicing off the heel or otherwise crippling a serf. For a serf even to appeal from his master to any other authority like the kashag was itself a punishable crime. Serf-owners were not supposed to kill serfs but if they did, there was nobody to call them to account. "That owners killed serfs was not uncommon," I was told by Nachi, a serf who had run away and who had come eventually to study in Peking.

The class of serfs was complex and disintegrating under changing conditions. One type of serf, the tsaibas, were listed in title-deeds of land from the days of the Fifth Dalai Lama; they were tied to the land and had by custom the right to a piece of it, for which they paid by a fixed amount of labor for the master. Another type of serf, the duichuns, rented land from the master, paying for it by a portion of the crop. A third type, the nantsams, had no land at all, but slept in the stables and outhouses of the master, as field hands or house servants, indistinguishable from slaves. Some serfs became relatively well off, for serfs might own livestock and 40 percent of the livestock in Tibet was thus owned by commoners. Serfs even owned other serfs and transferred to them some of the labor-duties they owed their masters.

Whatever their type or prosperity, all serfs were subject at all times to the will of their masters. They must get their lord's permission to marry or to leave his estate for even brief absence. Their marriage might be broken by arbitrary transfer of one partner to another estate. Serfs with land "rights" might be degraded to slaves, or the reverse might happen, according to the owner's wish. Custom demanded that such changes be grounded in some reason, but no law compelled the owner's acts. A serf who showed diligence and special ability might be raised to become a steward or overseer, but was equally likely to find his newly acquired wealth in livestock seized by his master on some pretext and his family beggared. It was not safe for a serf to appear prosperous.

Serfs ran away with some frequency. They were often caught and returned to their masters by the armed retainers. Anything then might happen to them, up to torture, maiming or death. If they escaped to a distant part of Tibet they found it necessary to seek a new master in order to survive. Many duichuns were of this type; often they regularized their position and acquired safety by paying a tax to their original owner for the right to live and be exploited in the new place.

"You could not live in Tibet without a master," many of the former serfs told me. "Anyone might pick you up as an outlaw unless you had a legal owner."

Such was the kind of society that in March 1951 "unanimously agreed" to move towards socialism, under the leadership of Peking!

Notes :

1.The 9th Panchen Erdeni remained loyal to China and fled for his life to Chinghai; Chamdo nobles also fought the kashag's rule.

2.Strictly speaking the emperor appointed the "fifth incarnation" and gave him the title of "Dalai Lama", which previous incarnations had not possessed. "Dalai" is a Mongolian word meaning "ocean", and implies "Ocean of wisdom".

3.Areas which the McMahon Line claims for India were "unified" by the Fifth Dalai Lama and paid tribute to Lhasa until Indian troops seized them in 1951.

4.See Indian "Pandit".

5.Stated in Thomas' book on his 1949 trip to Tibet, and more openly in his letter to the kashag May 1950, in which he reported that President Truman would not commit himself to send arms and military aid. Letter on exhibit in Peking seen by author.

6.Army Day message.

7.Oct. 1, 1958.

8.This referred to the time before the March rebellion. Some monasteries were damaged during battle but later repaired by Peking

9.Figure given in Lhasa. Previous estimates were higher.